By Carey Nieuwhof
I don’t know about you, but often as a leader, I feel many people have many opinions on what our church should or shouldn’t do. Maybe it’s in a meeting with your elders, or with your church staff, or with your key volunteers, but you likely hear competing voices. Someone says, “I think we should sell the building” but someone else says, “I don’t think we should.” One person says, “I think we should offer two services with two different formats” while another says, “I don’t think we should.” Someone else says, “We should offer more small groups” but someone else chimes in, “No, I think we should offer fewer small groups.”
Maybe these voices are all trustworthy, godly people. So who should you listen to?
How to Find a Filter
In the early years of leading change at my church, I felt confused very quickly because of so many competing voices about what people felt God had called our church to do. I realized I had to find a filter to move forward in leading change. These are two questions that have helped me in decision making for over 25 years now. I pray they are helpful to you as well.
1. Is there a biblical argument in what this person is saying?
Sometimes the answer is yes. If so, pay attention to it! Repent and recognize you are not always right, even as a leader. Gain wisdom and change course with your change.
But that yes response is rare. Most likely what they’re proposing is a cultural preference, not a biblical principle. You’ll hear things like, “I don’t like that style of music” or “I don’t like it when you preach that way.” If you look at most of the problems in our churches, they have a lot to do with preferences and very little to do with biblical principles.
2. If there’s not a biblical argument in what this person is saying, is this the kind of person you can build the future of the church on?
That’s a bit of a dangerous question because almost intuitively you know the answer. It’s usually an obvious yes or no.
For those who the answer is yes, consider the rest of their life. What is God doing? Do they have a healthy family life? Are they leading a ministry in your church or leading an organization with excellence?
Often the competing voices that we hear are from those who aren’t accomplishing a lot in their lives. They’re not living on mission for the sake of the gospel. As painful as it can be sometimes, it’s helpful to assess whether or not you can build the future of your church on these people.
So how do you know who to listen to? Develop the questions that will help you navigate the future of your church and to lead change well. Find your filter as a leader.
Check out Carey’s exclusive Ministry Grid leadership courses here.