• Our hope-filled future is bound up in sharing the story of Jesus, in discipling others, in bringing those disciples together into communities of believers, and in developing and releasing those believers to create other communities... till Jesus the King comes again!

“Congregationalist” decision making

I remember the first ‘business meeting’ I attended at a local French church.  It seemed endless.  What might have taken two hours, ended up lasting over five hours.  Families who had brought kids were at the end of their rope as their children were running wild everywhere.  Non decisions became decisions as people wearied of the length of the meeting and little refreshment.  It appeared that every person needed to have an opportunity to express himself or herself on most every subject. group-decision-making

I later described this experience as ‘congregationalist’ decision making gone awry.  You know, the kind of decision making process where everyone needs to be informed, speak to the issue and all come to agreement.  It certainly sounds just and fair.  However, it is one kind of decision making process; and not the only one.

Most of us have a particular bent or default method for making decisions [similar to the different leadership approaches associated with situational leadership]. Our difficulty is that we can make that particular bent our one and only approach, avoiding other approaches for a variety of reasons.

We as a WT community have a bent for and often call for a ‘congregationalist’ decision making process to the exclusion of any other kinds of decision making processes.  What can drive this desire is not so much a concern for the involvement of the largest number of workers, but a distrust of those who have oversight of us.  By focusing on only one approach, we can inhibit true delegation and slow needed change.

We would do well to consider the source of our mistrust and examine the various approaches to decision making so we could determine the best approach for each situation.  What might that look like? That’s for another blog post.

3 Responses

  1. Thank you for sharing this. It reminds me of when my former ministry partner and I were on a prayer retreat. We were about to begin a new minister together and were asking the Lord to confirm His call that we should serve as ministry partners.

    We asked each other many questions and talked about our vision for the ministry. At one point she asked, “How do I know I can trust you?” After thinking about it for a moment, I replied, “You can’t trust me. I will betray you, hurt you and disappoint you. However, you can always trust Jesus.”

    Maybe we expect too much of each other. I know I demand perfection from others and it’s always in areas I fail myself.

    The night is almost gone, and the day is near. Therefore let us lay aside the deeds of darkness and put on the armor of light.… (Rom. 13:12). ________________________________

    • Trust is something that easily escapes us. Often we hold trust from one another faster than we extend trust. Yes, we will disappoint one another, but we will also surprise one another in a good way by the way we truly serve one another. The Gospel reminds us that we have forgiveness in Jesus and together we can go to Him for that forgiveness and the re-esablishing of trust.

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