As a pastor/leader I continually seek to hear the voice of God. I want to do exactly what God wants me to do. I want to lead Cornerstone Church Network knowing that I am doing what God desires. Doing what God desires should be the priority of every pastor and leader. Henry Blackaby says that we should be leading our people to be on God’s agenda and while I embrace that goal, I confess that sometimes it is a struggle and hard to do.
Big decisions that align us with God’s agenda can be daunting. When Cornerstone was being birthed, I thought I was going to go crazy. I am, according to the “BrainStyles”™ assessment, a “Conciliator.” Conciliators like to build consensus. They want everyone to be happy and every situation be harmonious. When we make a decision as an organization, I want everyone involved to be happy with it, even though I realize that is not a realistic expectation.
Anytime you make changes in a church’s programming or ministry, you always run the risk of losing some people. We don’t like to admit it and we don’t like to think about it, but it is a risk that we all take. But what is more important – moving toward God’s agenda or keeping people on board who don’t want to go in the direction where the church is headed?
In our Master’s Group ministry, Warren Schuh has developed a great process for helping pastors know how to build consensus while minimizing the risk. In my own experience as a pastor and leader, I have found three things to keep in mind when leading people to be on God’s agenda.
First, be careful of the “little voices.” Too many “little voices” can make you more indecisive than ever. When making decisions, it is always wise to obtain counsel from a few seasoned leaders. Consult with people who have actually “been there and done that” and take advantage of their wisdom and experience.
Second, learn to be more patient. The only person who truly needs our approval is God. Wait for THE voice. His voice. This is hard to explain, but most of you know what I mean. Praying and fasting is integral to pastoring and leading. Not setting aside times for prayer to hear from God is like trying to sail without a rudder.
Third, acknowledge that you don’t know everything. We have a great team at CCN and I value their counsel more than my own. I often defer to them for several reasons. They are professional. They know what works and what doesn’t. If I don’t agree, I will push back and either ask for more data or substance as to what they say and why. Then I weigh what they say and ultimately make the decision.
In my study of the biblical accounts of how God speaks to people, rarely is there a pattern or a single way of how God speaks. More than how God speaks, the question we should be asking ourselves is are we ready to hear God when he does speak? Don’t let the “little voices,” lacks of patience or pride derail you of hearing from God. His voice is worth the wait.