Don't Believe What People Tell You They Want

"Asking the audience" is not a good sign of spiritual leadership.
"Asking the audience" is not a good sign of spiritual leadership. (iStock photo )

When we ask others about their preferences on everything from restaurant food to church service times, it's important to understand the impact of response bias.

If we were to ask about adding healthy food to a menu, restauranteurs would be encouraged to add many healthy alternatives.

The problem is people talk lean but eat fat. Remember the Krispy Kreme donut bookends with a triple cheeseburger in between the donuts? If food research is accurate, we would have a healthy fast food joint on every corner.

Opinion polling is a service that gets away with charging for information that reveals margin of error. The science of opinion research is limited because the subjects can rarely answer questions about their behavior. Many times, respondents simply provide an answer to comply with some social norm, or the answers are opposite of true feelings.

Get Spirit-filled content delivered right to your inbox! Click here to subscribe to our newsletter.

Many larger churches send questionnaires to their congregation in an effort to determine preferences and opinions on various topics. The leadership team receives counsel from the surveys and makes decisions based on the data. Often, leaders receive pushback on a decision made based on survey research. Adopting research as guidance for decision-making is dangerous.

Most of the time, answers lie in plain sight. "... the thing that fundamentally changes the way all of us think of something or use something—is so stunningly obvious that we don't even notice it. It's like ET in the closet full of toys—clearly different, yet somehow blending in." – Clotaire Rapaille

Rapaille provides further insight, "I don't believe what people say. Why? Because what people say they want and what they really want are often two very different things. I just think they are genuinely unaware of what's important to them at the deepest level."

Leaders must always be aware of what moves them. Since graduate school was one protracted experience with marketing research for me, I have had a tendency to believe well-designed opinion research.

I repent.

No amount of research or bulky sample size can ever give us guidance as wise as that provided by the Holy Spirit.

When leaders begin to search for answers from within their base of followers, true chaos can set in. 

Spiritual decision-making is not a function of determining the opinion of the masses. Though Moses had an abundance of straw available, he didn't use it for polling. He followed the leadership of God.

"Ask the audience," may be fine in a game show, but it is rarely useful in spiritual leadership.

P.S. Do you subscribe to Ministry Today? Will you please consider doing it? 

With the link below you will receive my special publisher's offer. Our baseline subscription is $24.97. My offer to you is a one-year subscription (6 issues) for $10.00.

I'd like to know what you think of Ministry Today and would love to hear from you.

Please click here today for the Dr. Greene special.

 


 

Today's Scripture

"Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will direct your paths" (Prov. 3:5-6).

 


 

Platform Tip No. 74

Think of your message, delivered through any platform, as a series of deposits. The frequency of your deposits will determine the breadth and depth of your message bank.

Our message bank builds through time.

Withdrawals from the bank are made anytime we drift into delivering words that are off message.

Bakers attract an audience who want to learn baking skills.

What attracts people to your platform?

Keep making deposits.

 


 

Do you want to learn more about developing your personal platform?

Send for my free series of lessons titled, "The Fundamentals of Creating, Curating and Developing Content for Multiple Platforms." Send your request to: platform@ministrytodaymag.com.

We will not share your email address with anyone.

 


Dr. Steve Greene is the publisher and executive vice president of the media group at Charisma Media and executive producer of the Charisma Podcast Network. His book, Love Leads: The Spiritual Connection Between Your Relationships and Productivity, is now available.

Leaders, Dr. Greene wants to help you understand the spiritual connection between relationships and productivity. Read his new blog, Love Leads.

Get Spirit-filled content delivered right to your inbox! Click here to subscribe to our newsletter.

Dr. Steve Greene is now sharing stories, teachings, and conversations with guests who lead with love on Love Leads, a new podcast. Listen now.


Help Charisma stay strong for years to come as we report on life in the Spirit. Become an integral part of Charisma’s work by joining Charisma Media Partners. Click here to keep us strong!

Dr. Mark Rutland's

National Institute of Christian Leadership (NICL)

The NICL is one of the top leadership training programs in the U.S. Enroll in the FREE Mini-Course to experience Dr. Rutland's training for yourself and then enroll for the full training that will change your life and ministry.

FREE NICL MINI-COURSE - Enroll for 3-hours of training from Dr. Rutland's full leadership course. Experience the NICL and decide if this training is right for you and your team.

NICL Training offered in FL, TX and GA - Learn everything you wish someone had taught you about business and ministry before you finished seminary. Gain the knowledge that will help propel your life and ministry to the next level as you implement practical lessons from Dr. Rutland's training. Training Dates and Details.

The NICL Online is a brand new option for those church and ministry leaders who cannot attend the in-person training. Now, you can receive all 60-hours of Dr. Rutland's training from the comfort of your home or ministry for a full year. Learn more about NICL Online.

Your Turn

Comment Guidelines
View/Add Comments
Charisma Leader — Serving and empowering church leaders