When your board comes to a fork in the road . . .

My work this week is with a theological school board in the midst of a presidential transition – board members standing at one of those Robert Frost moments. You know the drill. Two roads in front of them. One familiar and comfortable. The other, less traveled by peer institutions.stick_figure_direction_2113

There’s an arduous journey ahead, whichever road the board chooses. Either has its perilous turns and gaping potholes. Leadership of a theological school – indeed, any nonprofit – is a tough slog these days. With stakes high and risks looming large, we can excuse boards for lingering at the crossroad. But not for long.

Paraphrasing Yogi Berra, another great American mind, when boards come to a fork in the road, they need to take it. To do so, as Aussie blogger Ruth Herceg tells us, is one of the most powerful things a board (or an individual) can do. She writes:

Most of us are not that good at making small decisions, much less the ones that change the course of our lives. We hedge, obfuscate, avoid and pass the buck.

We do whatever we can to not have to decide. The problem with this is that if we don’t make the decision, the decision is usually made for us – without any of our input, and (most times) we regret it for a long time to come.

To decide is one of the most powerful things we can do. . .  It is better to make a decision that may not end up being the right decision than sit on the fence and not make one at all.


The good news for board members of faith-based organizations is that we are not alone in the decision-making. We have God with us in the person of the Holy Spirit.

Granted, our choosing is no less arduous, no less pain-staking than organizations going it solo.  However, we can be brave, courageous, creative, and innovative, knowing our cause is upheld by the One who has only good plans for us — even when we cannot see that goodness.

And our reward for choosing to decide?  Board members, “telling this with a sigh somewhere ages and ages hence,” will recall the decisions of our today as having “made all the difference” for the organization’s tomorrow.



  1. Excellent post. Decision-making is difficult. The Aussie blogger is correct, except that “not to decide is to decide.” Sitting on the fence is also a choice — not usually a good one, but a decision, nevertheless. That is a choice we humans, unfortunately, find comfortable. And there is another blog — about the pain of sitting on a fence!

  2. Generous Matters says:

    I’ve felt the pain of fence sitting myself. You’ve started my blogging mind going on that one. Thanks, Ruth.

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