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5 Really Tough Decisions Pastors Make

It’s best to get out in front of the situation by working toward a positive and developmental solution. But if it’s not going to work, a decision needs to be made—both for the good of the church and for the individual.

3) The decision to admit you don’t have all the answers and need help.

It’s ironic, but I’ve met leaders who would rather fire someone or resign than to admit they need help as a leader and are not sure what to do.

Fear is a powerful force and can cause you or me to resist doing something that is strongly in our best interest. Worrying about what people might think is a waste of time. If you are struggling, the astute leaders in the church already know.

Ask for help. We all need mentors, coaches and trusted advisors. You may not know what to do, but that’s not the same as not knowing what you’re doing. The need to learn and grow is not the same as blunt incompetence. The body of Christ was designed to work together. No one has all the gifts and strengths needed to lead a church or lead within a church.

If you are genuinely concerned that you are not in a safe environment, you can get coaching from outside your church. Or if it’s truly toxic and unhealthy, perhaps you need to pray through the first tough decision in this list.

4) The decision to carry debt.

Money brings tension to most big decisions. Well, the lack of money. If your church has more money than you know what to do with, awesome! But you are in rarified air because the vast majority of church leaders cast vision, work hard and pray much but still need greater resources to advance their ministry.

The decision to carry debt to further the mission of your church is always a tough one. There are responsible ways to manage debt, but like letting someone go from your team, no one prefers debt over debt free.

Yet there are times when advancing the Kingdom aligns with opportunity and momentum in the church. At these times responsible levels of debt can be appropriate especially when the leadership agrees upon a debt ceiling and a plan to retire that debt.

Pastors often confide about their inner tension to make this decision. They want the church to move forward but don’t want to carry the burden of debt. It’s one of the toughest calls for any leader to make. It often comes down to faith and prudence.

What is God saying to you and what do your financial advisors say is reasonable for your church?

5) The decision to confront sin.

Culture has changed and gone are the days when many pastors barked at sin from behind a big pulpit. That’s a good thing. However, the tides have changed, and love is sometimes redefined within the construct of tolerance. The two, however, are not the same.

Today, many church leaders shy away from being honest about sin and confronting it. I agree that sin is a strong word, but it’s real, and it’s our responsibility. Talking about sin from a framework of grace and forgiveness rather than judgement always goes farther.

The pressures of today’s culture can make calling sin—sin, a tough decision, especially when you are close to the person, or they’re a leader in your church.

The best way to love someone is to lead them away from sin. Use kindness, understanding and grace, but call sin what it is.

This article originally appeared here.

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Dr. Dan Reiland serves as Executive Pastor at 12Stone Church in Lawrenceville, Georgia. He previously partnered with John Maxwell for 20 years, first as Executive Pastor at Skyline Wesleyan Church in San Diego, then as Vice President of Leadership and Church Development at INJOY. He and Dr. Maxwell still enjoy partnering on a number of church related projects together.