How Do Pastors Make Decisions?
If you’ve ever wondered how do pastors make decisions and how did they arrive at the conclusions they did, there’s an important article for you to read. This article is from Pastor John MacArthur, who outlines the basic premises necessary for any Christian to make God-honoring decisions. You can find it here. After you’ve read that excellent article, come back here and put your church leadership lenses on. Then join this campfire to read on.
In this series on Establishing Our Leadership, this is now part 4. If you want to see the previous posts in this series, you can click on the following: 1, 2, and 3. This post on how do pastors make decisions is where we need to be clear. As for me, I learned decision making early in life. Usually it went like this:
EVENT + MY REACTION = MY DECISION
Seems a bit lacking, doesn’t it? That form of decision making is like shooting arrows at a wooden fence and then drawing the targets around wherever they’ve landed. Bullseye! Whatever you hit, THAT’s what you’ve aimed for! Oops. Not every hit was targeted. Amen?
Pastors are church leaders. Whether you are in a situation that is elder-led (and you are one of several), pastor-led (where you are leading the team) or congregation-led (where most big decisions need to pass a vote), there are opportunities to establish our leadership by being clear on how we make decisions.
So, how DO pastors make decisions?
Step 1 – Seek Jesus
Since I’m coming from a Christian context, pastors make decisions by submitting to our Lord Jesus Christ first. This happens as we fervently pray, seek God’s will in Scripture, and consider additional wisdom, such as the following: the Pros and Cons. Weighing Risks vs. Gains. What about having a Backup Plan? What about Listing Options? What about Weighing Possible Outcomes? These important activities cannot be side-stepped. He wants you to use your mind, as it has been sanctified by His Spirit.
Step 2 – Seek Your Spouse
If you are married (and you’re male), then your wife becomes the next most significant decision-making support you can receive. Bounce ideas off her. Ask her wisdom and counsel. Get her feedback. Obtain her buy-in. Have the humility to allow her fingerprints to be on a decision you’re trying to make. Do this first before bringing ideas into the open by including your leadership team.
Step 3 – Seek Your Leadership Team
Once it passes the spouse test, and you take it to your leadership team. May I suggest you don’t allow votes within the leadership team? It creates disunity (potentially polarizes teammates). Whether the issue is establishing budget, salaries, staffing, direction, whatever the decision, allow time for the wisdom in the room to ruminate to the surface. If you have chosen your leaders wisely (or inherited godly leaders), their wisdom and walking in the Spirit will either affirm a direction or cause the team to need another revisit on the issue. It’s better to move forward together all in unity or not at all.
Although this is the ideal, I realize sometimes there are exceptions where there may be one or two objectors on the team. If we honor them, and not cause or push for a vote, then we may need to table the subject and ask to revisit at another time. This would certainly honor the Lord and give the team time to “Wait for the Lord; be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord.” (Psalm 27:14 NIV).
Step 4 – Seek Your Congregation
Coming from an Evangelical Free Church background, which is congregational in its government, I believe in the importance of including the saints in bigger decisions. Admittedly, I am only growing in my understanding of the benefits and protection of bringing the whole congregation into decisions.
Establishing our leadership requires an understanding of how DO pastors make decisions. As pastors, we must be clear as to how we make decisions.
How Do YOU Make Decisions?