Whether it’s with a ministry team at church or with our own family, we regularly find ourselves trying to discern God’s will with others. In this blog, I will outline ten principles for helping us find God’s way together.
Principle #1 – Encourage Spiritual Growth
It’s important that we recognize that what people bring into a decision-making forum will influence the quality of their contributions. Those in a growing relationship with God will be in a better position to hear from Him. As people develop character that aligns more closely with Christ, their decisions will also become more consistent with Christ’s character (see my post called Character – The Defining Characteristic of Authentic Leadership for an explanation). As we build each other up in Christ, we will make wiser, more God-honouring decisions.
Principle #2 – Pray Before, During, and After Decision-Making Meetings
We desperately need to hear from God. Prayer strengthens our communication link with Him. As we ask God for wisdom, He will guide us. Prayer also connects us to the One who will give us the strength and courage to live out His calling (see my post called Living Out God’s Call).
Principle #3 - God Speaks in Many Different Ways
As we pray, discuss, debate, and plan, let’s be open to God’s still small voice breaking through in unexpected ways.
Principle #4 - Build Diversity Before Driving to Consensus
Groups often push for consensus too quickly. Give people time and space to contribute their unique perspectives. Explore many options. Then, prayerfully discern how God is beginning to shape some of the ideas into a cohesive sense of direction.
Principle #5 - Hearing Multiple Perspectives Can Grant Greater Clarity about the Situation and Possible Solutions
We know from Scripture that, “Plans fail for lack of counsel, but with many advisers they succeed” (Proverbs 15:22). Of course, this passage assumes that we actually hear from the advisers around us. In group decision-making, this means that we need to employ mechanisms that allow people to contribute meaningfully as equal participants in the discernment process.