George Patton said something interesting about leadership: “Plans must be simple and flexible … They should be made by people who are going to execute them.”

In the church, as well as in business, it’s not always done this way.

Too often, plans and programs are put in place by people who are, at best, indirectly involved. This makes it difficult to measure the impact of the decision before you put it into practice.

A friend in children’s ministry told me about some changes passed down that involved moving her group from its comfortable, adequately-sized space to an empty warehouse type of room with concrete floors and terrible acoustics.

The purpose for the move was convenience not necessity, but it drastically changed the dynamics of her meeting. Kids no longer sat on carpet, they sat on cement. The echo in the room made it all but impossible for the teacher to be heard. And nearby classes complained that her group was too loud.

She said, “If anyone on the board had come to children’s church just once, they would have realized what a bad decision this is.”

Or, they could have asked her advice before making the change.

Those on the front line often recognize potential problems before anyone else, which is why effective leaders include them in the planning process. They’re in the best position to see where your idea that looks so good on paper might not play out so well in practice.

Before making a decision, consider listening to those whom the decision will impact.

Did you enjoy this post? It’s one of more than 500 One Minute Messages by Steve May in the illustration archives of