I remember once announcing to a congregation that we were embarking on a major series during the preaching time on Sunday mornings. As I recall, the announced series would be quite long. I had only been preaching for a short while at that time. I began the series and then realized that I was in no way prepared for such an undertaking. Much to my embarrassment, I had to eventually abandon the series and preach something else.
It is a lot easier to suddenly start something than to actually work through the process or even finish it.
Congregations sometimes get anxious and we make hurried, even rash, decisions only to later regret what we have done.
1. Elders panic over the budget and suddenly fire two ministers, uprooting two families who must now move and relocate.
2. A minister is frustrated with the congregation where he has been serving. He begins talking with another congregation that has been looking for another minister in a similar role. Within a month of the initial conversation, that minister announces his resignation. He makes this decision ignoring the warning signs that exist in the other congregation.
3. Church leaders panic over the number of people who have left the congregation. They make a rash decision to borrow an incredible amount of money for the construction of a new building on their campus, thinking this might draw new families to their congregation. Such a decision has saddled this church with a stifling debt for many years to come.
4. A congregation is looking for a preacher. They have interviewed a number of people and have made offers to two different preachers. Both turned the church down. People are complaining about how long the process is taking. Now the leaders are looking at the resume of a person who seems very eager to be interviewed. Some things on the resume don’t seem to add up (in addition to comments made by some of his references). At first, they wondered about theological compatibility but now some are suggesting that these matters will work themselves out. In their minds, they just need to quickly extend an offer to this person.
Now you might say, “But aren’t churches notoriously slow when it comes to getting things done? Surely you are not saying that churches need to continue to drag out the simplest of decisions, as many regularly do.” I’m not saying that at all. Churches can be incredibly slow at getting things done.
However, church leader’s anxiety can fuel a process.
Suddenly, there is panic. “This must be done now!” Rash decisions are made. Unfortunately, many ministers and other church leaders can tell stories of how panic and rash decision making only led to more problems and dysfunction, not less.
Have you see or experienced this in your own life and ministry?