5 Ways to Make Better Decisions

Immediately Improve Your Decision Making

Solomon told us that “Getting wisdom is the wisest thing you can do!” He went on to say that if you’re going to do anything else, “develop good judgment.”. Sounds easy enough, but you and I are smart enough to know, and have lived enough life to have learned that wisdom isn’t a given, and good judgement is often hard to find.

But you and I have decisions to make. We’re choosing things for our own lives that matter, and we’re making decisions as leaders that affect other people. So when we need wisdom to make a decision where do we find it?

The problem usually isn’t the things that we know we are supposed to do. Though we will fight it if we REEEEAALLLY want the other thing, if it’s a black and white issue, most people I know will eventually make the right decision. It’s the grey areas that we struggle with. Those decisions that don’t seem to be on the map. You know the map, right? “Turn right here.” “In 2 minutes get off this road.” Those amazing GPS apps on our phones have made it nearly impossible for me to drive anywhere without assistance. I just wish I had the same assistance when it came time to make decisions in my life and leadership.

So I want to give you 5 questions that I believe will help you make better decisions every time.

1. What does the Bible say about this issue?

If you don’t allow the Bible to speak into your life you’ve probably already skipped past this one. However, I believe the Bible to be an incredible source of wisdom. It even calls itself “a lamp” for our feet and a “light for our path.” There are a number of places in Scripture that you can find specific instructions to help guide the decisions that you are making. If you don’t know where to look don’t be afraid to look at the keywords in the back of your Bible or Google “What does the Bible say about ______?” Check several resources to insure that it’s valid. It’s not cheating. If you are a follower of Jesus Christ, and the Bible says “yes” or “no” then your next step is pretty simple. Just do what it says.

2. What is God saying to me about this issue?

I’ll start the same way this time that I started last time. If you don’t believe that God speaks to you then this may seem irrelevant. When I say “speak” or what is God “saying”, don’t get hung up on thinking about the audible voice of God. Perhaps you have heard God speak audibly. I never have. And yet God has spoken to me in many ways. Obviously I believe God speaks to me through His Word, which I talked about already. But He also speaks through worship, prayer, nature, circumstances, and more. You might call it an impression or a feeling. God promises that if we need wisdom, all we have to do is ask for it, and He will give it to us “generously.” 

It’s important that this comes after searching the Bible because the Bible is a timeless revelation of God’s Word to His people. It has stood the test of time, and God will not contradict Himself by telling you something that doesn’t line up with His Word. So check the Bible, then check yourself.

3. What are the wise people in my life telling me?

If you are the wisest person you know, you need some new friends. Proverbs tells us to “walk with the wise to be wise.” I want to surround myself with people who have wisdom in a variety of areas of life so that I can lean into their wisdom when I’m attempting to make decisions. I have wise people in my life in the areas of finance, real estate, parenting, marriage, leadership, pastoring, and more. I lean on them regularly.

One of the greatest ways wise people can help me is to determine if what I’m hearing from God (#2) lines up with what the Bible says (#1). Don’t be afraid to ask for help.

4. What are the possible consequences (both good and bad)?

If you still don’t know what to do, make a pros and cons sheet. Put all the possible good results that could come from this decision, then list the possible bad outcomes. Look them over. Does either column make your decision easier or clearer? Count the cost, even if money isn’t involved. You won’t regret it.

Finally, if you still aren’t sure. You’ve looked in the Bible, listened for God personally, talked to wise people, and counted the cost, here’s the tie-breaker.

5. What would the wisest, Godliest person I know do, if they were me?

Try to remove yourself from the situation. To the best of your ability, take the emotions off the table. Zoom out and view the situation from the outside looking in. Now picture the person you believe to be the wisest, Godliest person you know. Maybe you don’t even know them well. Maybe you just see them from a distance, but you admire them and their ability to make decisions. If they were in your shoes, what do you think they would do? If you have a relationship, or access to them, perhaps even ask them that question: “If you were me, what would you do?”

Two closing thoughts:

First, don’t allow the fear of making a wrong decision cause you not to make a decision. I’m not talking about taking your time or waiting for more information. I’m talking about the “paralysis by analysis” that so many of us are guilty of. We don’t want to get it wrong, so we do nothing at all.

It’s like a friend of mine. When they are sick they refuse to go to the doctor because in their mind “no news is better than bad news.”

Avoiding it doesn’t make it better. When it comes to decisions, many times avoiding it makes it worse, the decision harder, and the cost greater.

Second, don’t let what you “want” to do in your head overpower what you “know” to do in your heart. We can all justify what we want to do. You’re looking for the right decision, not just your preferred decision.

You’re a leader. People are waiting on you to make decisions. Use the wisdom of God, surround yourself with wise people who can help you when necessary, and make the call!

I believe in you!

3 Ways to Be a Better Pastor

It’s Easier Than You Think

Recently I found myself walking through PGA Superstore with a $20 gift card burning a hole in my pocket.  I looked for a new golf shirt or hat before wandering over to what can only be described as the golf “accessories” or “training tools” section.

There were club weights, extensions, form grips, “breakable” shafts, etc. There were shoes to help you feel the correct weight distribution and transfer. There were devices to put on your arms so you know when to bend your elbows and when to break your wrist. It was a bit overwhelming.

There was a young man standing there wrestling with which purchase to make when an older gentleman walked by and said, “Don’t waste your time.” To which the younger man asked “What do you mean?” The wise old man said “they only sell this crap to folks who are convinced they are just one “trick” away from being a Major champion. It’s hogwash. The only thing that makes you a good golfer is learning from your mistakes until you’re hitting more good shots than you are bad ones.”

WOW!

As I listened to this conversation take place I couldn’t help but think about all the Pastors I’ve met in my life. With very few exceptions they are walking around the “Pastor Superstore” looking for the next gimmick to add to their arsenal because they believe it’s the one thing they’re missing to finally becoming a good pastor or having their church grow.

Here’s the truth:

Most of the pastors I’ve met are already good pastors, but they’re still chasing the illusion that a good pastor does it better than they do.

In the world of social media you can’t help but compare your church to the churches you follow. Your sermons don’t seem quite as good as the 30 second clip from the megachurch pastor that’s been shared 11 billion times on Facebook since lunch.

And so you keep searching. You’re looking for that silver bullet. That sermon series where it will all come together. You’re convinced “if you build it they will come” so you leverage the future.

I’m all for creativity and marketing and more, but my prayer for you is that a wise old man or woman will walk up beside you at some point very soon and gently remind you that it’s all hogwash. I promise there is no gimmick that will turn you from a bad pastor into a good pastor.

So, in your pursuit to be a “good” pastor remember these 3 things:

1- God loves you no matter the size of your church.

    I know it seems like He would love you more, the more people you have, but that’s just not true. You just love you more when things are going well. God loved you before you were leading anyone. Force yourself to rest in His love for you. Find some friends that love you unconditionally as well. When you have a friend or three who love you but aren’t impressed by you, it will be easier to believe God could feel that way about you too.

2- God believes you’re the man or woman for the job.

When you had nothing to offer God called you. From the desert running from your past, or from the hillside with your sheep waiting your turn. The details aren’t as important as the truth: He didn’t have to, but He did. He has entrusted  His sons and daughters into your care. Love them well. He does.

3- There is no silver bullet.

My friend Matt wrote a book several years ago to remind us that the “Hail Mary” approach to church growth rarely works. Your church or ministry is most likely going to grow one girl or one couple or two families at a time. You aren’t a failure if your Egg Drop at Easter doesn’t result in 500 salvations.

Unless God grows the church we labor in vain. Could it be that your church is growing at the rate God knows He can trust you or your team with? Instead of getting frustrated about the rate of growth down the road, what if we asked God what He’s trying to develop in us ahead of the next season of growth in our church?

I have a friend who owns a few of those golf devices I mentioned earlier. Anytime I play golf with him he arrives early to warm up on the driving range. You would swear he owns stock in the Golf Channel. He has sticks and poles and weighted putting balls and practice clubs and metronomes and more. Something interesting happens though when we get on the course. All it takes is one bad shot and he’s a mental case. Because his confidence is not in his ability but in the gimmicks and when they stop working he stops working.

Don’t be that guy. Love God. Love people. Trust God with the rest.

You’re doing better than you think you are!