It’s a helpful filter as you’re looking at the different aspects of your life.
Some things are going well, and you need to keep doing it, but you don’t need to improve it. Just keep doing it.
Some things are fun and people want you to do them, but they’re not core and they’re stopping you from getting to other things you need to keep doing. You need to stop doing these things. Your only other option is…
Get better at it. If you get better at doing some of your things you might then be able to keep doing something you should probably stop doing.
But notice how, “Hope it all pans out” isn’t an option?
It’s about making sure good decisions get made.
If you’re the leader, you’re probably making loads of decisions. But if you were to grow, you couldn’t sustain being the decision maker for all those things. There would be even more things.
So it’s not just about making good decisions – it’s about making sure good decisions get made when you’re not in the room.
So start now with the decisions you are making, and ask yourself what are the principles and guidelines that shape HOW you’re going to make that decision. Then, get someone else, tell the the principles and the issue and see if they would make a good decision or not.
Start deliberately delegating decisions and the principles to guide them.
It seems like a sound argument… If 100% of Christians tried to do paid-ministry, there’d be no-one to pay them. Therefore the church needs people who will faithfully decide to not do paid-ministry. Right?
Even though the statement is “true” it fails on three counts.
- It’s putting the cart before the horse. You don’t make a decision about entering paid-ministry on the basis of whether other people are doing it. You offer your life to God, you work it out with him – regardless of what other people are doing. What if God actually wants lots of people going into paid ministry!?!?
- No-where near 100% of people are going into full-time ministry. In fact, only about 50% of people who start on the road to paid-ministry end up in paid-ministry. Our church has a congregation of uni-students & grads, and only about %4 of them start on the road to full-time paid ministry!
But think about all the other churches around Australia where students and grads are NOT being challenged to consider paid-ministry!!! That 4% ends up closer to 1%.
Your church may not need more paid-ministers, but Jesus’ church does. So train at your church and take it to other churches.
- The argument implies that people who choose to “stay in the workforce” will be just as helpful to the gospel by being able to pay for others DOING paid-ministry (as compared to going into paid-ministry themselves).
Anecdotally, this is false. If it were true, wouldn’t these people be making the same financial sacrifices those entering FT ministry make? The average MTS Scholarship is about $25-$30k. If you really believe the argument above, doesn’t that mean you should invest every cent you earn above $25k into gospel workers – people who are doing MTS?
Do you notice how God the Father responds to the Son’s prayer in the garden of Gethsemane? Jesus makes clear that he intends to drink the cup of God’s wrath. He agrees to do it. The decision is made in his mind. Its a huge moment in salvation history as the Father and the Son have a different “will” – while still having the same “will”. It is not inappropriate to say that the entire plan of the universe stood on a knife edge in that garden on that night. But Jesus decided he would do it.
Did you notice God’s response?
As important as Jesus’ intention was, it wasn’t enough. Jesus’ decision to bare the Father’s wrath was not enough to atone for sin. Jesus’ intention to suffer in my place was not enough to free me from punishment. Good intentions and hard decisions are really important, but they’re not enough. They don’t actually do anything. They’re just the first step of doing anything really important.
I wonder whether we live in a world that tends to consider intentions as more important than actually following through on them?
If you’re a leader, do you let people make decisions that they’re not going to follow-through on? Do you value their good intentions over their actions?
If you’re part of a team or a volunteer, do you make decisions and think that’s the hard part done? Do you think your good intentions should be appreciated, regardless of whether you followed-through on them or not?
Many decisions in Christian leadership are tricky. This is especially so when the information you have to make those decisions includes sin and maturity issues.
Why? Because for people to understand the leadership’s decision, they would have to be given access to information they don’t need to know, information that is inappropriate they know. You’d have to gossip to them. Then they’d understand. They wouldn’t be angry about your decision then.
But if you’re not going to gossip (and you shouldn’t!!) then the only other option is to be content that people a) won’t understand, and b) might not be happy with your decision.
All you can do is ask them to trust you (and the team of people you have entrusted that info to) that you’ve made the best decision with the information you have – not the information they have.
When someone comes to you asking for feedback or suggestions about their idea, you need to know something before you offer your thoughts… How far down the decision making process are they? How personally committed are they to this idea?
If they are 90% decided and you start quibbling about details! you’re only going to annoy them. Especially if this is your boss.
Knowing how much they’ve already “made” their decision greatly affects how your shape your response to them. It opens the door for a win-win as you give them the type of feedback they’re looking for, and you from there you can start to question deeper things about their idea.
If leadership means making decisions, raising up new leaders means… delegating decisions.
If you want more people involved, you need more teams/groups for them to join. If you want more teams/groups, you need new team/group leaders. If you want to see and develop more leaders, you need to give them things to choose. You need to give them the opportunity to make some decisions. Slowly give them more and more authority and responsibility… until you have a leader.
This isn’t hard, it’s just risky. Say, “Hey, we need to work out a growth group social event, and I’d like you to decide what we do! The decisions up to you. I can give you some suggestions, and I can give you feedback on any ideas you have, but I want you too choose. Ok?”
Tip: make sure you give more than 2/3 suggestions and include things you WOULDN’T do.
If you’re a leader of a ministry, an group, a church, whatever, your core activity is making decisions.
In the end, it was your decision to accept this post, it was your decision to get people on board with you, it was your decision that you’d all focus on X and not Y. You decided to take that person’s suggestion, and say no to that person’s suggestion.
You’re constantly re-stating the decisions you’ve already made. (If you think these are assumptions… You’re wrong).
If there’s a question your team can’t answer, you’re the one they turn to for a decision.