One thing that will create stress for you, your staff, and even your congregation is when you are indecisive. It is a form of double-mindedness, and James says that leads to instability (James 1:8).
I think part of the problem is that we complicate decisions, often factoring in information that isn’t really important, relying on our own wisdom while failing to specifically seek God and his wisdom.
When I find myself stuck over a decision, I go back to the basics with these four steps:
1. I admit I need God’s guidance to make any decision.
None of us can see the future. We don’t know what’s going to happen tomorrow—much less next year or 10 years from now. The Bible says, “There is a way that appears to be right, but in the end it leads to death” (Proverbs 14:12 NIV). On the other hand, God knows everything that has happened to you, that is happening to you, and that will happen to you. In order to keep our ministries heading in the direction God desires, we have to go to him for guidance in making decisions.
2. I ask in faith for direction.
James 1:5-6 says, “If you want to know what God wants you to do, ask him, and he will gladly tell you, for he is always ready to give a bountiful supply of wisdom to all who ask him; he will not resent it. But when you ask him, be sure that you really expect him to tell you, for a doubtful mind will be as unsettled as a wave of the sea that is driven and tossed by the wind” (TLB).
Pastor, God is willing and anxious to give you wisdom in your ministry. But you need to expect that he will answer your prayer for guidance. Often, we ask God for guidance, but then we walk away without waiting for his answer. When we think our decisions depend totally on us, it only increases the stress level. When we ask God for guidance, we need to then begin looking for his answer. He will provide it.
3. I listen for God’s response.
God designed you to hear his voice. Job 33:14 says, “For God does speak—now one way, now another—though man may not perceive it” (NIV). God speaks to us through his Word, his people, circumstances, and impressions, among other ways. You need to be sure you’re listening to those “channels” so you can hear what the Lord is saying to you.
4. I trust God when I don’t understand.
You’re already familiar with Proverbs 3:5-6: “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight” (NIV). This is another reminder that you can’t figure everything out on your own. You’re a pastor—not God. And only God can tell you the best direction to go when you are making ministry decisions.
God doesn’t want you to be confused, and he will never lead you into confusion. If you’re having trouble figuring out which way to go, get back to the basics and trust that God will give you the guidance you ask for.