Decision-Making with Community
About four years ago, I had a great job opportunity to pastor at a church. As a result, I wanted to leave seminary early and graduate with a Masters of Arts. I placed this before my cohort and my pastors at BBC. They weighed everything carefully and they almost unanimously gave me the red light. I turned it down because of them, even though I didn’t agree. It would have been foolish to go boldly ahead when so many trusted people who have the kingdom first in-mind warned against it.
In hindsight, I had many legitimate reasons for going forward and the open door seemed to be from God, but my community was able to see unhealthy impulses driving me and blinding me.
I thank God for my community’s wisdom as I now see they were right.
All of us have to wrestle with making significant decisions in life like:
Should I marry that person? Should I take that job? Should I move there? Should I go to that school? Should I join that church?
So how do we make these significant decisions?
There are many factors to consider when you make a significant decision. But this morning I want to stress one aspect in decision- making that is often ignored. That is, your church community.
Make significant decisions with your church community
This point is extremely counter cultural.
Many of us have been raised in a culture where our individualism is vigorously asserted, constantly affirmed and fiercely protected. We might say, “My time and my money are my affair and I don’t want other people telling me what to do with them.”
We are a society of individuals in which personal freedom and choice is everything.
If you’re like me, you deeply struggle with this. It’s the very air we breathe in our culture.
But when we look at Ephesians 4, 1 Cor 12, and many other passages we see the clear picture that our lives are not our own anymore, but that we belong to a family. We are no longer individuals on our own, but members of a body with Christ as our head!
Just like we wouldn’t just pack up and move our family without letting them be part of the decision process, the Bible puts our local church in a similar category.
How do we know when to include our church community?
Rule of thumb:
We should involve our church community in decision-making to the extent that our decisions affect the community, our time, and our money.
When making decisions, consider how it will affect your church community.
If a decision will significantly affect your time or money, it’s wise to include others. This is because how we spend our time and money are great indicators of what our heart’s worship. They’re great measures of our treasure. Part of discipleship is helping each other increasingly submit our time and money to the Lordship of Jesus.
A Couple of Clarifications
I am not calling us to consult a distant board of domineering leaders. But rather, your family who know you intimately and love you, like your life group and community group. These people are for you and should have Jesus’ kingdom purposes in-mind as they consult you.
I’m also not saying, the community makes the decision for you. You ultimately make the decision, but you’re including the community.
You can make a decision contrary to the counsel of your community, but that should be extremely rare.
This exhortation only make sense if we understand that God has adopted us into a family, which we are now accountable for and accountable to.
Including community in significant decisions is not easy and can be scary. And to be sure, we, the members of Cities Church will love you imperfectly. However, by and large, we have your good in-mind and are concerned with Jesus’ kingdom. We don’t take this weighty privilege of speaking into your life lightly.
Imagine how many pitfalls we would avoid and how many blessings we will experience if our church made significant decisions with each other.
What a blessing that we are not alone in the significant decisions of life. We are no longer our own. God has given us a church family and we can lean into them as we wrestle with the big decisions of life.