Why Decision-Making Is Important to Your Ministry and How to Make Better Ones
Worship leaders are consistently faced with decisions about everything from service structure to planning processes to whether someone needs to leave the team to whether a newbie is a good fit on the team to the best rehearsal plans…each can serve to help or hinder our ministries. I recently heard a couple of Dave Ramsey leadership podcast episodes including Jim Collins. The podcast, itself, was speaking mostly to a business context but my brain wandered to ways good or bad decision-making affects our blue collar leadership contexts.
Decisions, after all, are step one of everything we do: Step 1: Make the decision; Step 2: Execute the decision; and, hopefully, Step 3: Evaluate the decision. If we put off making decisions, we can paralyze a ministry or the entire church. If we make the wrong decisions, we’ll go the wrong way. But when we make the right decisions and execute them well, awesome things are coming down the road by the grace of God!
As we look at some decision-making pointers, you’ll notice they have something in common: TEAM. A lot of leaders in small-to-mid-sized churches have a tendency to be loners. Don’t be a leadership hog! Gather a team of trustworthy volunteers from within your ministry to help you. You’ll do a better job and they’ll help protect you, in the process. Ok, here are four decision-making pointers:
- The key to making a good decision is information. Don’t know what to do? Gather more information. Still not clear? Gather more information. Get facts, not opinions. Factual, non-subjective information can be hard to come by in the ministry world since many of our goals are spiritually-based and, therefore, hard to quantify. So it might help to use surveys or interviews strategically to gather the data needed to inform your decisions.
- Questions, questions, questions are the road to quality discussions. Beware of your statement-to-question ratio. Man, I want to get better at this!! Good leadership asks a LOT of questions because they want to make more informed decisions. If you’re spouting off all you know, what have you gained? You already knew that! For those of us (like me!) that seem to get an opinion about EVERYthing, that’s a toughie.
- Good decisions are born out of healthy disagreement. In the church, we tend to shy away from disagreement because “it just wouldn’t be fit to get in an argument at church” or something. But if we’re truly passionate about what we’re doing, shouldn’t passionate discussion ensue??? We need to hear from different perspectives before we can make a quality decision. This doesn’t mean we have to throw iPads across the room…there’s a way to disagree strongly without resorting to UNrighteous anger!
- To disagree is fine. To undermine is not. Again, in the church, we often believe everyone has to be in total agreement before we can move forward on something. Maybe that will occasionally need to be true. But there are also times when we must each be humble enough to get on board with a decision—once it’s been made—that we don’t agree with 100%. Jim Collins said, “Once the decision has been made…to walk out of that room and undermine that decision is leadership irresponsibility.”
What kinds of decisions do you dread? How do you handle decision-making in your ministry?