Opportunity knocks.  Limited time offer.   Don’t miss out.  Hurry.  Sale ends tonight at midnight.  In the next hour…Whatever phrase you use when you put a “deadline” onto a discussion it heightens the anxiety and can unwittingly stampede people into quick sometimes poor decisions.    Sometimes the decisions can be genius-like but the pressure isn’t purely enjoyable for everyone.  Sometimes  they freeze up and actually make no decision or even a contrary decision.

Canadians have a tradition of “process”.  Governments lay out budgets indicating where they see funding priorities going.  Bills in our House of Parliament require three “readings” in order to become law.  We even have a Senate which is ostensibly a “court of sober second opinion”.  The point is–we try not to react hastily and without due conversation.

I work with churches.  The truth is, I work with people that comprise churches.  I have a hunch that the people (churches) I work with are more conservative than adventuresome.  By that I mean they tend to sustain and retain patterns rather than quickly jump to new patterns.  I don’t think they are “incorrigible” (good word eh?) but they do need time and process before they are willing to adapt.

If you are a Canadian leader, working with Canadian churches, give them time to think about something before a decision is demanded.  It takes a Canadian time to get his/her head around a change in direction.

In the first meeting let them know that “no decision” is necessary tonight.  Give them time to process the reality you are speaking about.   In the second meeting gently enquire as to whether there is readiness to make a decision.  By the third meeting you’ll sense their decision and it will be a formality.  But you’ll have to do your leadership job communicating between the meetings as to the pros/cons and purposes.

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