This isn’t really a part of the series, but I had an “a-ha” moment when reading Hotchkiss’s article that had to do with decision making process and why popular vote is a bad way to go.
We all know that there are times when tough decisions have to be made in church. As a leader, we always want to have the support of the congregation when these issues come up. We often cross over into the manipulative side of things when we try to concoct processes that will soften the blow and work the decision into the culture of the church in a back door kind of way so that one day members look up and find that they are just now realizing things are different and that they are okay with them being different.
Trying to soften the decision process by seeking popular support is also not always a good idea. Sometimes decisions need to be made that are in the best interest of the church but not in the best interest of people’s comfort zones. Seeking popular opinion on a topic that isn’t popular is an easy way to doom an idea before it gets off the ground.
Now, as to popular opinion in particular, Hotchkiss makes a comment that I thought was brilliant in its simplicity. He says, “A real problem with democracy in congregations is that future members do not vote. If they did, at every meeting they would make up a majority.” That’s really an insightful statement that helps leaders take their focus off of the here-and-now and look toward the future in their decision making.
It isn’t the responsibility of leaders to make and/or keep the members of a congregation happy. It is the responsibility of leaders to lay a foundation of leadership on core spiritual leadership principles that takes into account the health of the church now and into the future and to then do what can be determined as “best” in light of the these concepts.