My washer went out last week. Done. Fini. Kaput. No hope for resurrection.
In talking to my wife about the kind of washing machine we needed to purchase she added, “Whatever washer we get, we also need to make sure that we buy the matching dryer.” Uh-oh. I knew I had just entered very sensitive territory. My spouse, in the name of aesthetics and her preternatural sense of consistency, was confident things would be better if we added a new dryer to our new washer.
The only problem was we already have a dryer…that works…just fine…really.
But we do have areas of the house that need addressing. For example, our oven doesn’t work, we have a kitchen drawer that has broken gliders, and the refrigerator is on its last legs. I shared with my wife that before we spent any money on something she wanted, it would be better to use that money for something we needed. Leading our household well dictated we make a strategic decision, not an emotional one. A new dryer, while making us feel good in the moment, would very likely cost us (literally) in the long run. Looking back I realized while it wasn’t a fun decision to make, it was an important one.
What is true for leading the home is true for leading the church. We are called to make strategic decisions over emotional ones.
- Don’t hire friends on staff if you know better candidates for the role.
- Don’t avoid confronting a congregant who is creating dissension in the church.
- Don’t start a ministry just because a handful of people really want it (and you really like them).
- Do develop a process for pastoral care instead of personally dropping everything each time a need arises.
- Do give away authority and responsibilities to others so everything doesn’t have to revolve around you.
- Do raise the standard for leadership in the church instead of letting anyone who wants to lead, lead.
These strategic decisions may not be fun to make in the moment. Indeed, you might even shed tears or get into a fight because of it. But make no mistake, however strategic decisions cost you in the moment, they won’t match the cost you’ll pay in the long run by making emotional decisions. When things break down, run off course, or blow up on you and you don’t have the time, talent, or resources to get it fixed, turning around to see your wonderfully new dryer doing what your wonderfully old dryer did won’t be much of a consolation to your leadership, but a condemnation of it.
Leader, remind yourself of the places that you already have a dryer, and make the strategic decision over the emotional one.