One of the things a good coach does is help a person think. John Maxwell once said, “The hardest thing to get people to do is to think, and do things in order of importance.” I couldn’t agree more. Thinking seriously about serious things is serious business. We need to learn how to think seriously, how to take thinking serious. Certain things are necessary for serious thinking to occur, they are:
1. First you must distinguish between what needs serious thinking and what does not. Some issues are more complicated or important than other issues and therefore, require a more intelligent approach to the thinking process. It’s one thing to choose Crest over Colgate toothpaste and quite another thing to decide upon one’s preaching schedule for the next 6 months.
2. In order to think seriously one needs to find an environment conducive to serious thinking. Most of us think on the run, while driving in our car, taking a shower, while laying on our back trying to fall asleep, etc. A certain amount of thinking can be achieved in this way, but not the best type of thinking. We need to find a quiet place as free from distraction as possible to do our best thinking.
3. Next, we need to ask ourselves, is this the type of thinking that I need serious thinkers around me sharing in the process? In other words, can I, or should I, think about this on my own or with others? Pastors are notorious for sitting off by themselves, thinking things through, coming to their conclusions and developing a plan, and then presenting it to the team or the church expecting everyone to automatically get on board. Seldom is this a good approach. If an issue is serious enough to require serious thinking it is probably the type of issue that would benefit from multiple thinkers rather than just one.
4. Serious thinking can’t be rushed. If an issue is serious enough to require serious thinking, then we must also be willing to give the thinking process an adequate amount of time. Oftentimes answers or solutions come gradually. The general rule is: The more important the issue the more time you want to take in processing the issue and coming to a conclusion.
5. We need to have an attitude that regards serious thinking as a spiritual thing. There are plenty of secular self-help gurus out there who can share a mere cerebral way of making good decisions whether you be plumber, project manager, or pastor. And just because they are “secular” does not mean they don’t have anything helpful to say, it’s just that as Christians, we want to have a little more involvement from the Holy Spirit in our thinking, and decision-making process. Therefore, we want to think of thinking, serious thinking, as spiritual.
6. The final thing, and possibly the most important thing, after we have identified that which we need to think seriously about and have discovered a quiet place, is to begin by inviting the Holy Spirit to come and help us think.
The next time you need to do some serious thinking remember these 6 points. I think you’ll find your thinking more productive, and more spiritual.
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