Decision-Making: Process and Tools
“Step One - Draw upon Christian Faith Resources” (SL#36)
by Wm. M. Pinson, Jr., Th.D. with Lloyd Elder, Th.D.
adapted from SkillTrack® Vol. 10 - Decision-Making

What contributions to decision-making does the Christian faith make? Christians ought to begin the decision-making process with a faith commitment that God not only exists but that He is sovereign and has a will and purpose for each person as well as for all groups and relationships.

  1. God is the ultimate authority in decision-making. Secular approaches look to reason, enlightened self-interest, social standards, or perhaps law. Though intelligently considering these, the Christian approach looks to God with a firm belief that God's will is always best and good. “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.”--Rom. 8:10 (NIV)
  2. Soul competency/making choices
    Christians also believe that God makes His will known to those who are open to seek and receive it. Furthermore, Christians believe that persons are capable (or competent) of knowing and following God's will. Baptists and others term this capability as “soul competency” and cherish the concept. Closely related is the conviction that each person who responds by faith to Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord becomes a believer priest with opportunity to know God directly and with responsibility to put that knowledge into action in life and ministry.

    The Bible is filled with illustrations and teachings indicating that persons are capable of knowing God's will and are responsible for carrying it out. (See for example, Prov. 3:21, 31; Isa. 7:15; 2 Cor. 9:6-8; James 4:4.) One of the most dramatic statements in the Bible along these lines is that of Joshua to the people of Israel: “Now fear the Lord and serve him with all faithfulness. . . . But if serving the Lord seems undesirable to you, then choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your forefathers served beyond the River, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you are living. But as for me and my household, we will serve the Lord”--Joshua 24:14-15 (NIV). Day by day, we must each choose whom we will serve. The Christian decision maker chooses on the basis of being a servant of God.

  3. Willing to know God's will. Jesus taught that we must be willing to know God's will (John 7:17). Such willingness grows out of our closeness to God, out of worship and love for God. The human landscape is littered with the tragic consequences of persons making decisions when they were spiritually cold. “The first indicator of good decision-making is that we have made our decision not in moments of self-doubt, but in moments of worshiping the living God.”--The Empowered Leader, Miller, p. 86

    Jesus also indicated that no one perfectly knows or carries out God's will (Matthew 19:17), except of course Jesus Himself. No one has a “hot line” to God and can claim perfect insight into His will. Why?-- because as humans we are finite, sinful, corrupted by our society, and prone to self-delusion and rationalization.

  4. Christians are indeed provided resources that are specifically designed for those who have faith commitment to God--among these are God Himself, the life and teachings of Jesus, the guidance and empowerment of the Holy Spirit, and the Bible.

Even with these resources Christian servant leaders do not always follow the best process or arrive at the best choice in decision-making. Because we are prone to fail to find and follow God's will in decision-making, we ought to be profoundly grateful for God's forgiveness and grace. Knowledge of God's grace frees us to plunge ahead in decision-making, doing our best to discover God's way and accepting our limitations in doing so. This series of articles is designed to aid the Christian servant leader in that process. “No one can serve two masters. Either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and Money.” --Mt. 6:24 (NIV)

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 © 2006; hosted and copyrighted by Lloyd Elder & Associates, Inc.
For full citation of referenced works, see Bibliography/Links at
Adapted by Lloyd Elder, Th.D., Founding Director, Moench Center for Church Leadership