This is an excerpt from my latest book: Naked Man Running: 100 IDEAS that work in a small church. More excerpts coming! Get all 100 ideas here.
Catagory: Pastoral Skills, Chapter 8: How to make great decisions in five easy steps
Pastors are always making decisions. Some decisions are minor, “Should we offer donuts or bagels or both on Sunday mornings?” Some decisions are major, “Should I ask Bob to become a board member?” Whether the issue is big or small, minor or major, pastors are faced with decisions. Learning how to make great decisions is a skill. I’ve discovered five essentials for making great decisions.
- Great decisions are preceded by great thinking. Leadership guru John Maxwell believes that the hardest thing to get people to do is, “…to think, and to do things in order of importance.” My experience in working with leaders would cause me to agree. Thinking must precede decisions.
- Thinking needs to be thought of as a spiritual discipline. For me, thinking is not simply some mental exercise, but a spiritual exercise. When we sit down to think, we need to invite the Holy Spirit to come and help us think.
- Time must be set apart for thinking. Usually, we do our thinking on the run or in the midst of distraction. This is not an entirely useless way to think, but it will not result in the best thinking. We need to set apart specific time for the sole purpose of thinking. Think-time should be scheduled into our week and show up in our calendar like any other appointment.
- We must make sure we are thinking about what we should be thinking about. This is where the Holy Spirit comes in. We set apart thinking time, but we don’t rush into it. We pause, we wait, we pray, “Holy Spirit, I think I know what I need to think about, but I wait upon You. Show me what I need to be thinking about.” This cautious and reflective approach will often lead us into areas of thinking we might not have anticipated.
- When thinking, be begin by asking the right questions, rather than looking for the right answers. Questions always result in answers. Great questions get great answers. No questions get no answers. For example, if I am faced with the decision whether or not to ask Bob to become a board member. I need to think through questions such as:
1) What am I looking for in a board member?
2) How did I come up with these criteria?
3) Why do I feel Bob is a good fit?
These are great questions that will result in a great decision.
Let me challenge you to write into your calendar think-time. Find a place relatively free from distraction. Bring along a yellow-pad or whatever you use to jot down notes and ideas. Sit down and pray; invite the Holy Spirit to invade your thinking. Ask questions; write down the answers that come to you.
If you follow these five simple essentials, you’ll find yourself making great decisions.
99 more ideas are waiting for you here.