How to Make Wise Decisions

As a pastor, you must make many decisions. Much of the pastor’s time and energy are consumed by the decision-making process. Some decisions can be made easily and cause little difficulty. Others are crucial and have significant consequences. Here are some factors to keep in mind as you approach the many decisions you must make.

The Responsibility Factor
Some decisions a pastor must make are exclusively in his domain. Others require him to involve other people in the decision-making process. Confusion can result when a decision is made by the wrong person or group. In general, people who are to share in the consequences of a decision should be involved in making that decision. Also people are more likely to feel responsible for the results of a decision if they have had a part in making it.

The Urgency Factor
Decisions that are not crucial should not require more time or energy than necessary. Ask, “What would happen if nothing were done?” On the other hand, crucial decisions should not be neglected.

The Time Factor
This refers to the amount of time allowed before the decision must be made. Decisions that have far-reaching impact should not be made impulsively. On the other hand, never neglect a decision that must be made in a timely fashion. Be careful that procrastination does not become a factor.

A Model for Decision-Making

Clarify the Issue
This is essential. Your judgment can be distorted if you do not clearly see the issues.

Gather Information
Take enough time to gather needed information. Consult with experts or caring friends. Do your homework.

Explore Alternatives and Consequences
Several actions could be taken. What would be the probable result of each? Consider all the possibilities.

Pray for Guidance
To emphasize the necessity of prayer is more than a pious reminder. Decision-making calls for wisdom. Only God can give true wisdom. God is more concerned about you and your church than you can imagine. Consult Him.

Adapted from Brooks Faulkner, Getting on Top of Your Work, A Manual for the 21st-century Minister, (Nashville: Convention Press, 1999).