How to avoid groupthink in the church

Good morning everyone,
Our theme for this month: “Hearing from God”
Our Bible verse for today: “So they said to one another, “Let’s appoint a leader and go back to Egypt.” Numbers 14:4 (CSB)
Our thought for today: “How to avoid groupthink in the church”
In Numbers 14:1-4 the Israelites had just heard the report from the twelve spies who had been sent by Moses to scope out the Promised Land. You remember the story, ten of the spies brought back a negative report and argued that the land could not be conquered, despite what God had said. Only Caleb and Joshua, then joined by Moses, were positive and urged the people to obey God. But after all the arguing was done, the vote was overwhelming – the people decided to turn around. This is a classic example of “groupthink” leading a group to a very bad decision.
“Groupthink” is a dysfunctional decision-making process whereby one influential person convinces someone else of something; then the two of them go to work on a third person; and then the three of them convince others; and soon, everyone is coming to the same flawed conclusion. But they’re doing so because they have been influenced by others and the more who come into agreement, the more powerful the argument seems because so many others agree with it. In a church setting the group will usually conclude that “this is obviously the will of God because we are all in agreement.”
How do we avoid the slippery slope of groupthink? It’s not that hard. As a group, simply listen for the voice of God in the five ways we have learned about this month. First, check the group consensus against Scripture. The Holy Spirit will never lead us as individuals or as a group to do anything that is out of synch with the Word of God. Whatever conclusion the group has arrived at must have solid Biblical backing. Don’t try to do this from memory. Open the Bible and read the passages and principles that apply to this situation. Whatever conclusion the group has arrived at must be clearly and directly supported by passages and principles as they appear, in context, in the Bible. And if it does not, then the group consensus is mistaken. God’s guidance will always be consistent with the Bible.
Likewise, consider the circumstances of the issue carefully and prayerfully. Just as God is amazingly consistent in our individual lives, He is very consistent in our church life too. A spiritual map works just as well for a group as it does for an individual.
On important issues of church life, it is also wise to get counsel from outside sources who have expert knowledge in the issue being considered. Then, after having done “due diligence” by carefully seeking God in the Bible, and considering the applicable circumstances, and seeking counsel, now go back to prayer, discussion, and voting.
Remember, God wants to be heard and understood by His people. You will seek Him and find Him when you seek Him with all your heart. With just a little extra work and caution, the perils of groupthink can be avoided. Tomorrow, I will give you an example of how one congregation arrived at an important decision and avoided groupthink in the process.
God bless,
Pastor Jim  
(If you like what you’re reading in these daily devotionals, and if you would like more content from Oak Hill Baptist Church, join us on Sundays at 10:00 – in-person if you are nearby or, if you are geographically distant or if you just can’t make it, online at
Copyright © 2023 Oak Hill Baptist Church, All rights reserved.
You are receiving this email because you requested to be included in the Daily Devotional email reader group.

Our mailing address is:
Oak Hill Baptist Church3036 Genesis Road Crossville, TN 38571

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: