If you’re a church leader, chances are pretty good that you’ve got some big decision ahead. Leaders face decisions all the time, but that doesn’t make the task any easier. Every decision brings its own set of complexities, challenges, and concerns. How are you going to make your next big decision?
The next few hundred words in this article aren’t going to radically alter your life, nor will they magically make your decision for you. What this article will do is remind you of some core principles that should guide your decision-making process.
Make the decision that is most in keeping with God’s word and God’s character.
When making a decision, your immediate recourse is to God’s Word. Admittedly, most of the decisions we make don’t have the proverbial chapter-and-verse that define the exact answer. It would be absurd to think that God would declare, “thou shalt begin VBS on July 18 rather than July 11.”
We have all, perhaps, yearned for tidy commands to perplexing conundrums. We want more “thou shalts” where God has instead provided more insight into His character. The Bible is not a decision-making manual as much as it is an explanation of God’s character and work. This is why decision-making requires the prayerful, thoughtful, intentional, and often time-consuming task of meditation upon God’s Word and character. These meditations allow us to think and act in accordance with God’s character. That is where every decision-making process must begin.
This may sound somewhat abstruse or mystic, like so much pie-in-the-sky theologizing, but it is really at the core of what every believer must do on a daily basis. Life is about walking with God — living, thinking, breathing, and carrying out his word. It only follows that every decision we make is in some way guided by God’s Word.
What does this look like, practically? Does this mean that you must pull out the accordance and start doing thorough biblical research whenever you’re confronted with any decision? Does it mean you should retreat to a mountain monastery for solitary reflection? Not exactly. What this means is that, as a leader, your whole life is guided by God’s Word. You should strive to become so familiar with the Bible and aware of God’s character that you reflexively think of biblical texts, principals, and guidelines that bear upon the decision you’re making.
Make the decision that is best for your people.
The second major principle of decision-making has to do with your people. Make whatever decision is best for your people. So, what does “best for your people” mean? Let’s take a clue from that familiar phrase in Romans 8, in which we read reassurance: “all things work together for good.”
And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose. For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son. (Romans 8:28-29 ESV)
In this passage, Paul is discussing the believer’s future glory, and the Spirit’s role in their present day-to-day life. As he comes to the end of the discussion, Paul writes that God will direct our life in such a way that everything works together “for good.” But what is the good? The next verse gives us the answer: “to be conformed to the image of his Son.” This process, often known as “sanctification,” happens in the here-and-now and is finalized in our ultimate glorification.
Here are four sanctification-directed questions by which you can consider your decision-making:
- What will allow these people to grow, not just feel good?
- What will allow these people to change, not just coast?
- What will allow these people to reach others, not retreat from them?
- What will allow these people to love better, not live easier?
Major decision-making, then, should be made in the ultimate light of God’s Word and God’s character, and should have the goal of God’s glory. God is glorified when Christians are conformed to the image of his son. Let’s make decisions to that end.