Making quicker and better decisions is essential to growing a healthy church. But, the process prior to reaching a decision can be complicated. Pastors oftentimes struggle with doubts and uncertainty. They are faced with several questions such as:
“Is this the most beneficial use of the church’s finances?”
“Do we have the manpower and are they willing to make this work?”
“Are we sure this is the direction that the Lord would have for us to pursue?”
It’s normal for doubts to impede progress in making decisions. Pastors often struggle with making decisions and promoting something that may or may not work. But, in seeking to avoid the price of a bad decision, many leaders are faced with a different set of issues that are the result of moving too slowly. Indecisiveness can be as equally damaging as making a bad decision.
- When pastors are hesitant to put the finances to work toward reaching the church’s mission. When this happens folks begin questioning if they are contributing to anything important.
- When the leadership constantly questions whether they are hearing from God clearly enough. They begin to overthink options that result in missing the clear opportunities God has placed right before them.
- When pastors are reluctant because they’re afraid that some may misunderstand the motivation behind the decision.
Some pastors and churches want a “No Risk” Christianity. They want everything proven before they ever launch out. While a church must use common sense, it must take risks, learn from mistakes and continue to move forward.
If you, as a church leader often find yourself paralyzed by doubt and uncertainty and need to begin making quicker decisions. Here’s some things that may help you start acting faster:
1. Admit you’re not omniscient and submit to being a visionary pioneer.
As pastors, we don’t want to make a bad call, but there’s never a perfect, air-tight and clear path to progress for any church. We must have an element of faith when trying to accomplish God’s work. Perhaps you should redefine “progress” to include that it is a learning process. It allows you to make wiser decisions in the future. Great pioneers begin by venturing out, exploring, adapting and learning. When they do they’re better able to face and adapt to new challenges. Doing this wisely sets an example for your folks about how to walk by faith when making decisions.
2. Ditch the noble perfectionist idealism and concentrate on making real progress.
I can say this, because I’ve been there. There are no “perfect” solutions or alternatives. Instead of evaluating a ministry opportunity on whether or not it’s perfect, ask the question, “Will this move the ball further down the field toward accomplishing the mission of the church?” If you’ve got an option that meets that mission, then don’t overthink it – make it happen. If you do come short of attaining what you anticipated, you will still wind up being closer to your goal than if you’d never tried. Leading churches through change is a process. We should be willing to take the risks so that we may learn from both our victories and mistakes. Sometimes our hesitancy can be based on pride, we just don’t want to feel embarrassed by a less than stellar decision. To your congregation this models the proper mindset in making decisions and how to defeat paralyzing pride that keeps them from making progress in their own lives.
3. Stop the religious busywork and start being fruitful.
Make the decision to reinvent, reduce or eliminate the ministries that are not productive. And, investigate why the productive ministries are working. Then use that information to help you make better decisions about the church’s ministries. Be honest, most of the things that occupy the majority of your time are really not genuinely productive. We’re busy but barren. Learning how to sort these out is imperative. Somehow, we instinctively learn how to occupy ourselves with busywork that makes us feel like we’re making progress, when in fact we’re just killing time. Try to reduce the activities that aren’t productive and concentrate on the most fruitful things. This sometimes axing a “pet” ministry that has outlived it’s effectiveness. If you do this you’ll start to see real progress. This is why you should regularly evaluate the church’s ministries. Find out what is working and what is not. From this you can make an informed decision. This also helps you show your church members how they should regularly reflect on their own lives and make logical decisions.
If you’ve been hindered by being too hesitant about making decisions that lead to real progress, perhaps it’s time to change your perspective.