Faith and Family Business: The Anatomy of a Good Decision

By Bill Long on July 9, 2019

Over the years I hvae had the privilege of teaching at a few colleges as well as pastoring both small and large congregations.  Invariably people would come to me asking my opinion on what they shoudl do in a confusing situation.  Often they would frame it in terms of "God's will" -- i.e., what would God have them do?

While not trying to discourage their spiritual quest, I usually would gently shift the discussion away from their trying to "hear" God and focus ing instead on the steps they could take right now to make good decisions.  It is striking to me how the advice that I would usually give is neatly reflected in the ways that both Brian Vulgamore and Justin Topp made what they consider to be very good decisions.  Three points should be noted:

First, before making an important decision, take time to gather facts.  I chuckled as I read Brian's account - he was not at first even willing to spend his personal time to attend.  But he was willing to gather facts.  What is a peer group?  How does it work?  What will be asked of me?  There is so much information out there today about just "going with  your gut," that I think a renewed emphasis on first gathering data is important.

Second, be willing to take, as Justin said, "the first step."  One ought to look at a decision as the end product not just of gathering facts but also of mulling them, considering alternative courses of action, and then taking that "first next step."  Many decisions are made in haste because we feel we ought to decide.  But in most instances if something is important to you, it can mature in your mind before that "first next step."

Finally, once you have made a decision, be clear on what you want out of a situation.  It is a virtue to develop an inquisitive attitude towards others' needs, but you ought first to be clear on what your needs are.  What can a peer group or an educational opportunity offer to you?  Once you have a clear sense of where you are going, it is great to include others in your quest.