Make The Tough Decisions

Courtesy of Rojer
Are we doing a ski trip this year?” It was a question that was tough to answer.  I really liked the teen asking it and I didn’t want to give him the hard truth; but, we had to cancel the ski trip for a variety of reasons.  It:
  • Wasn’t bringing in teens.
  • Was loosing money.
  • Was more work than it needed to be.
  • Wasn’t moving with our mission as a ministry.
It was clear that the trip needed to be no more; however, I knew people would be upset with me and there would be push back.  As someone who skis I was even doubting my decision because I didn’t want to let go of something that I personally enjoyed.
In ministry there are always tough decisions to be made.  It doesn’t matter if your ministry is growing or dying decisions need to be made in order for you to move forward.  How we handle each decision depends on the people it affects and the motives behind it.  Some of the toughest areas I’ve found making a decision has dealt with:

  1. Moving People – Sometimes you have to move your best people to your biggest opportunities to create more capacity.  It’s tough because you might be asking someone to give up something they love.  It might mean taking a risk; but in the end it could mean a even bigger reward.  Be sure to openly communicate with them about the situation.
  2. Firing A Volunteer – It feels wrong to fire a volunteer because they are free labor, they are working out of the goodness of their heart; however, they could be corrupting or putting your ministry at risk.  No matter the reason make sure you have support and accountability from a coworker (Or pastor) so that a bad situation doesn’t turn ugly. (Read the best way to fire a volunteer here.)
  3. Killing Programs – There are programs in your ministry that are around because of tradition and selfish desires that need to go.  They’ve either lost their relevance or they are just draining your resources.  Getting rid of a program like this sometimes takes guts, but before announcing your decision to take down the sacred cow make sure you are ready to clearly explain why it needs to go. (More on killing programs in ministry, here)
  4. Admitting You Were Wrong – It never gets easier to admit that you are wrong; but, it’s a practice we need to embrace.  If you’ve made decisions that have lead to fruitlessness then the decision to go back to square one, to admit that you didn’t get it right is humbling.  If you find yourself in this situation it’s best to spend time in quiet time prayer and surround yourself with people who will lovingly support you to make the right decisions.
Every decision has consequences.  Some are positive and others negative; however, they will all have an impact.  Before making a decision it’s important to ask:
  • Is this what God is calling me to do?
  • Who will this affect?
  • What are the possible outcomes?
Rely on those you trust, seek their council and always lean into the situation.  If you can make a decision with a clear and healthy mind God will bless it and help you rebound, thrive and move forward.
What are the difficult decisions you have had to make in ministry?