And so, in this final part, we continue, from “Decisions, decisions” …..
5. Good leaders seek lots of good advice
Proverbs 11:14 – Where there is no guidance the people fall, But in abundance of counselors there is victory.
Anointed leaders of the church are servants of God, who lead by example, but who at times have to make hard spiritual decisions. Such decisions historically can be lonely decisions. For Moses, the Israelites revolted against him during the difficult exodus time in the wilderness. In the New Testament, Paul and Peter had to debate issues before the congregation, and, from the descriptions, it seemed that those discussions were quite heated.
Thus, before church leaders make decisions, it seems obvious that adequate time needs to be spent investigating any plans and proposals, and humbly soliciting good advice from those with experience and godly wisdom. Taking sufficient time to delve carefully into difficult issues, is a key part of wisdom, and more listening (to counselors and advisors) than speaking during the investigation phase, is clearly a good thing.
As God’s servants, leaders may have to make decisions when church members might be initially in disagreement, and likely would be upset at any decision. It’s both a cost, and a testing of the faith, of the leadership; and the congregation has in turn to learn both submission and love.
Acts 15:12 – All the people kept silent, and they were listening to Barnabas and Paul as they were relating what signs and wonders God had done through them among the Gentiles.
Note that the disciples did not “throw away logic.” Their decision wasn’t “abstract” or “illogical” at all. The leaders focused on, and listened to, what God had done, and was currently doing. Their decision aligned with God’s activity, resulting in one accord. One simple practical application for today’s church, as in the early church: check the facts, by examining the details of the proposal, but also by looking to see what God has said in the bible, and what He has done in history and in our own church history, in order to better know His will, to help in decision making.
注意门徒并没有“扔掉逻辑”。 他们的决定一点也不是“抽象的”或“不合逻辑的”。领导者们聚焦于也倾听神以前所做的和神正在做的。 他们的决定与神的活动相符，也形成了教会的合一。对于今天的教会，像早期的教会一样，一个简单实际的做法就是：通过查考提案的细节核实事实，但也要查考神在圣经里所说的， 在历史和我们自己的教会历史中所做的，以便更好的知道祂的意志来帮助做决定。
Also, it is easy to forget, but it is really helpful, and encouraging I feel, to specifically review the beautiful things God has done in the life of the church, and go from there. I feel it is often easy for many leaders to get hung up on negatives, literally stopping many “good ideas,” whereas I tend to think that the Christian life, and that of the church, should lean toward optimistic boldness, but with care! Our faith should be ultimately an “optimistic” faith since of course we clearly have the greatest hope.
有时很容易忘记，但我觉得很鼓励也很有益处的就是特别思想神在教会生活中所成就的美事，从这里出发。 我觉得很多领导者很容易定睛在负面，也阻止了很多“好主意”，但我倾向于认为基督徒的生活，以及教会的生活，应该倾向于乐观大胆，但要谨慎！ 我们的信仰最终也应该是一个“乐观的”信仰，既然很明显我们有最大的希望。
Yes, learn from our mistakes, but don’t be deterred just because there was some previous problem. Even Moses was continually attacked by naysayers who could easily point to many negatives in any of his plans. Like those who grumbled incessantly about going back to Egypt instead of eating manna in the desert. We need to be continually reminded that our God is a great God, and obstacles can be overcome with God’s guidance. This will help set a better context for any decision making.
6. Submission to authority
In many churches, there is an often the forgotten principle of submission to the authority of the spiritual leadership of the Church.
Hebrews 13:17 Obey your leaders and submit to them, for they keep watch over your souls as those who will give an account. Let them do this with joy and not with grief, for this would be unprofitable for you.
When prayerful consensus decisions by the leadership are made, and after prayerful input and affirmation from the congregation, even if believers are still not totally comfortable with the conclusion, especially if they did not attend the final “entire church meeting,” it is biblical to have an attitude of submission to God’s appointed authority.
Hebrews 13:7 “Remember your leaders who have spoken God’s word to you. As you carefully observe the outcome of their lives, imitate their faith.”
This is an exhortation to all, but especially those in leadership, to live personal lives of faith, which allows the congregation also to have trust in their godly decisions. And this reminds us that elders and ministers need to be carefully selected, after long periods of prayers, so that faithful men are selected, fully in accord with the biblical requirements of being a faithful shepherd for the flock. The faithfulness and godliness of the elders and ministers has a huge impact on the faithfulness of the congregation, and any shortcuts in selection are bound to result in potential disaster. Please read Reggietales.org, “Selection of ministers and elders.”
Decisions, and how we make them, are certainly among the most important, but potentially contentious, issues in the life of a church, and we should learn closely from the Best Book available on the subject. Learning from the principles and early church examples, we can adapt them to our unique situation, and then in turn, set the example for others to follow.