When I look back on my 18 years at Urban Saints, there is one moment in particular that I still feel the pains of great regret. If I could turn back time, then this is the moment I would do differently more than any other.

It was a moment, in my early years, where I learnt a powerful leadership lesson – Good intentions don’t always lead to good decisions.

We were looking to handover a ministry from Urban Saints to an outside organisation. Whilst this ministry was good, it was clear that we needed to be more focused – to do less and do it better – and so I was pleased at least that it would be able to continue on outside of Urban Saints.

The conversations with the outside organisation had been lengthy and difficult at times, but it felt like we were finally getting somewhere, and all jobs would be secured.

Then a bomb shell hit!

They decided that they wouldn’t take on all the staff and requested that we make all of that team, bar one admin level role, redundant – including the ministry leader – otherwise the deal was off. They wanted the ministry resources but not the people. It was such a culture clash moment for us!

I was gutted! Disappointed! Shocked! And my ‘good intentions’ meant that I didn’t want the ministry leader to know this news – particularly because he knew the people in the outside organisation well. I didn’t want him to feel hurt or rejected by them.

And so, rather than involve him in the final decision, we (the Trustees and myself) made the decision without the ministry leader. To reject the offer and sadly just close the ministry.

In my ‘good intentions’ to want to avoid the ministry leader being hurt by the rejection of the outside organisation, I caused him even more hurt that he was not able to speak into the final decision. Particularly after over 20 years of faithful years serving in it!

It’s so obvious now! It was pretty much immediately obvious afterwards. Even now, I kick myself! Why would I not involve him?

I’m so grateful that when I asked for his forgiveness, he was so gracious in giving it.

Sometimes the most loving and kind thing is not as easy as we think!

So  – the next time you’re making a decision that you think is fuelled by ‘good intentions’ – pause – ask yourself – is this the most loving and honouring thing for the people concerned?

Who knew this leadership thing would be so difficult??