Worldwide Church of God

…and another thing  by John Stettaford

I became disillusioned concerning politics back in 1957. I witnessed first-hand some of the Shenanigans going on to twist the truth into something more advantageous for each of the various political parties involved with the Suez crisis of the year before.

So you must believe me when I tell you that, really, I don’t care much whichever way we turn concerning Brexit. Leave, Stay, Part Stay, Part Leave; it’s all much of a muchness for me. I believe Britain is strong enough to weather whatever happens. What is of more interest to me is the fact that decisions seem impossible to make and take. I witnessed the same indecision in business for 40 years or so at the highest levels. The Institute of Directors once said that a good manager made 51 per cent right decisions. That must mean that a bad manager presumably can make as few as 51 per cent bad decisions. The difference is knife-edged and terrifies the timid.

Whatever decision is to be made, for or against, leave or stay, what we need are bold, strong, positive leaders. And then “Just get on with it!”

The same, frankly, is true in the human institution that is the church. Yes, we accept that overall in charge is Jesus Christ, but day-to-day it’s fragile human beings who make mistakes right, left and centre, and often ride roughshod over those working as unpaid volunteers in their same fellowship for the same goals.

Many years ago I told a colleague of mine at work who sang with one of the big amateur choirs in London, how we organised music for our autumn festivals. “We receive a cassette tape of our music,” I told him. “Then we learn our individual parts from the tape and through months of practice. Then comes the festival. We go there, we have one rehearsal and then we perform.” “Impossible” was his dismissive reply. “It would never work!” So at the next festival I made recordings of what we sang so that he could hear for himself. He still thought it impossible, but grudgingly acknowledged that it “sort-of worked.” And what made it work, what made the difference, is the contribution Christ and the Holy Spirit made to our efforts. That still holds true for all the decisions made by individuals given the authority, acting out of the best interests of the Work. If we are close to Him, God will make the difference.

Actually, I always thought that the definition of a good manager is much simpler than the IoD’s definition. A good manager is one who makes decisions. But then has the courage to acknowledge a bad decision and to change it when necessary. That can take time and humility.

Those in charge must never lose sight of that fact that those who do the work are not the management, but work for the management and ultimately for Christ. They probably know more about the day-to-day running of whatever it is that they do. But decisions must be made, some of them unpopular, but always, always make them in consultation with those who have to implement them. No diktats. No pre-emptory commands. The decision must still be made; but they can be made in consultation with the lesser mortals on the team. It’s called “being nice to one another”, or as someone else one worded it, “Love one another.”

And that, surely, is what we are learning in this Christian life we lead. There’s still a hierarchy with those in charge telling others what must be done and often how to do it. But it must be done as Christ would issue the order, not as so many human managers act.

When we are told “let this mind be in you” it should show itself in how we make our decisions. We must act as Christ would act if we are to walk ever closer to how he impacts on others. And thus, having learned that important lesson, we will be of more value to him in his kingdom coming.

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