This is a fourth post from a series I started that summarizes J. Oswald Sanders’ highly-regarded book on Spiritual Leadership[Post 1 here, and post 2 here, and post 3 here]


Being decisive does not mean that you can effectively weigh all the options and make an intelligent decision as to what is best, solely. It is exercising faith in God’s economy of getting things done when you don’t have all the facts. Because, after all, you will never have all the facts. {Seth Godin has written persuasively regarding this unfortunate phrase (“When all the facts are in”) here}

Sanders said:

A sincere but faulty decision is better than a weak-willed “trial balloons” or indecisive overtures. To postpone decision is really to decide for the status quo.

A leader is someone who can move forward with confident humility because he (a fallible human) has been called by God to make decisions for the benefit of his (God’s) people. There is a certain freedom a leader will experience when he looks to the qualifications of elders and deacons (1Tim 3.1-13). Paul does not mean to stifle the would-be leader. Instead, he means to set up a list of objective standards that you can look at and see if you are qualified to be a leader. This freedom helps us to make decisions because we are seeking first to serve the very people we are leading. There is no sense in which the people we lead are meant to serve us and our ego.

What is more, the list of qualifications keep an authoritarian from ruling in the flock. After all, a man who dominates others and demand that he is in the right (and all must follow him to be in God’s good graces) has disqualified himself by not being “sober-minded,” “respectable,” “not violent but gentle,” “not quarrelsome,” or “dignified.” These qualifications enable men to lead in humble confidence (knowing that God has enabled him to meet these qualification), while empowering people to follow. It protects people from megalomaniacs, who must always be shown to be right. And it protects leaders from being stifled by indecisiveness.

A faulty decision is better than no decision.

God will sanctify our fallible decisions. We will apologize for them. And the Chief Shepherd will be exalted for using broken vessels and continuing to build his church.