In talking with some minister friends at lunch, we were discussing about how to effectively arrive at decisions. Some indicated that they have had a voting procedure...but that it is not a very effective means to arrive at a decision many times, because some "do not get their way" and can become difficult. Another shared that they "cast lots" of sorts...they pray and draw names, etc. out of a hat, trusting the providence of God to lead them. They have had success in doing this, especially in that it weeds out popularity votes.
I think that the above methods have some positives and negatives...and there are surely other methods that could be mentioned. But, for the sake of time...I believe that the most effective means of group decision making is building consensus. I may have shared in relationship to this concept before, but being reminded of it today was a good thing. Someone once said that "consensus is the negation of leadership." I couldn't disagree more...consensus is the negation of dictatorship -- it is proof that effective leadership has taken place and has worked.
I have been part of church business meetings in my life that could make one's hair fall out...well, based upon my experience, I guess you can see how effective such meetings were early on. :-) Voting just created stress, because some person or individuals were not going to get their way...in short, it would become difficult and divisive. A wise friend of mine who was a community business leader -- seeing the struggle with decision-making -- said...we choose to make decisions through consensus, and it has been very effective. What works in the business world in relationship to group decisions certainly should work in the church. Consensus decision making was implemented, and viola!...much more effective meetings and ministry.
Now, contrary to the exclamation, it is not a magic formula. In order for everyone to be on board with a decision, there has to be some significant give and take...sometimes a simple talking it out, other times it is a challenging struggle. But, the ultimate goal is that it is a "we" decision and not an "us vs. them" decision. So, even though it may not necessarily be easy, it is worth it, because it builds group unity and negates most contention and division. Some food for thought. Blessings,