Decision-Making: Personal and Life Choices
“Establish Basic Christian
Values and Stick to Them”

by Wm. M. Pinson, Jr., Th.D. with Lloyd Elder, Th.D.
adapted from SkillTrack®
Vol. 10 – Decision-Making

  1. Decisions and Fundamental
    Decisions are
    in fact your values-in-practice.
    • The Christian servant leader ought to make decisions
      based on strong convictions about fundamental values and beliefs. Decisions
      on specific issues flow from the values a person holds. Certain obstacles
      may impede that flow, of course; but without core values, a person has
      no firm basis from which to operate in making decisions. The Bible compares
      such persons to a ship in a storm, “tossed this way and that
      by the waves and winds”
      (Eph. 4:14).
    • For the Christian servant leader, the source of these
      values is God as He reveals His will through the life and teachings
      of His Son, Jesus, and through the Bible as a whole. Jesus indicated
      that the bedrock values are love for God and for neighbor and self.
      He indicated the priority of life was seeking first the kingdom of God
      and His righteousness.
    • Decisions follow beliefs, as noted from the book, Yes or No.
      The pattern and quality of a person’s decision demonstrate true values.

      “You can see another person’s beliefs just by looking
      at enough of his or her decisions. Just so, any aware person can see
      your beliefs by looking at the pattern of your past decisions.”
      Yes or No, p. 54

      “. . . more often than not, a person with
      character will make better decisions, especially a person with integrity,
      intuition, and insight.”
      –Johnson, Yes or No, p.
  2. Character Qualities
    of the Effective Decision Maker

    Character is the composite of your values and beliefs and the actions based
    on these. Values professed but not lived out indicate weak character. Lack
    of carefully understood personal values means a person has limited point
    of reference in making decisions. Without values no valid criteria exists
    for evaluating options and alternatives in a decision. Without firm values
    a person will be unpredictable and unreliable in decisions. Strong character
    provides consistency and dependability in decision-making. Of such is the
    stuff of a productive personal life, as well as strong leadership and effective

    “Values help us determine what to do and what not to do….Values
    set the parameters for the hundreds of decisions we make every day. .
    . . Values constitute our personal ‘bottomline.’”
    and Posner, The Leadership Challenge, p. 212

“God’s calling is the necessary starting point in the life
of a leader. There is absolutely no substitute. In other words, if you have
not been called by God to lead His people, do not seek to do so on the basis
of your own abilities or desire.”
–Barna, Second Coming of
the Church
, pp. 107-08

  1. What Are Your Strengths and Limitations?
    Certain qualities will help you be a more effective decision-maker. Here
    are ones often highlighted by those who have studied the lives of persons
    noted for making good decisions. Note how many of these are also highlighted
    in the Bible’s teaching about authentic Christian character. The following
    list serves in two ways: instructional–summarizing the findings of research;
    and diagnostic–providing the framework of asking the question, "What
    are my strengths and limitations?"
    • Integrity, honesty, trustworthy
    • Compassion, really caring for others
    • Ability to listen and learn and apply
    • Courage, boldness
    • Decisiveness without rashness
    • An awareness of the big picture–how a decision affects others, an organization
    • Resilience–don’t let failures and bad decisions get you down
    • Realistic, practical–what is the most we can get done?
    • Sensitive to “hunches” that may be the nudging of the Holy
      Spirit or of sub-conscious impressions, often from past successes and
    • Clear thinking–remember that even a woodpecker owes his success to
      the fact that he uses his head! Or better: “But you, keep your
      head in all situations, . . .”
      (2 Tim. 4:5)
    • A well-ordered sense of priorities
    • Proactive in making decisions
    • Decide neither too quickly nor too slowly

© 2010; hosted
and copyrighted by Lloyd Elder & Associates, Inc.
For full citation of referenced works, see Bibliography/Links at
Adapted by Lloyd Elder, Th.D., Founding Director, Moench Center for Church