There are many books on how to make better decisions. Recently I completed the book by the Heath Brothers - Decisive, which was not that bad of a book and in many ways rather fun to read. It is becoming clear to me over time that the best clergy that I have known make decisions in a particular way. Clergy may not have a monopoly on this decision making style, but I share it here as a way to personally strive for it.
It has been said by very smart people that "culture eats strategy for lunch every time". It is a bit of a catch phrase and seems obvious when thought about. However it still does not seem to sink in for most of us.
The worse clergy have to make a lot of decisions. The best clergy make fewer decisions. Not because the latter delegates better, but because the best clergy made decisions in the past that eradicate future decisions.
When I was a kid, my parents decided way before I began asking, that my brother and I cannot spend the night at our friends house on "school nights." This one decision decreased the amount of decisions they had to make because my brother and I knew what my parents would say if we were to ask to sleep at Bobby's house on Wednesday night.
My parents created a culture with a few decisions and overtime they had to make fewer decisions.
The best clergy operate this way as well. They make less decisions over time because they made certain decisions in their past. Making decisions like: "I will not put anyone in charge of anything if they are not fully on board." Means that you know right away the number of people for whom you have to decide who will be in charge will be less.
One decision I made early in my ministry was that I am not called to be the 'Shepard', that is the job of Jesus. I view my calling as that of a sheepdog. This decision ensures that I will not have to make a slew of decisions from how I relate to the laity to how I preach. This one decision lays the foundation for a culture that I hope to live into and, with the help and guidance of God through the Spirit, help usher in.
Culture eats strategy for lunch every time. Which is why Christians are to be culture makers.