Group Think

Plans go wrong for lack of advice; many advisers bring success. Proverbs 15:22 NLT
…..victory depends on having many advisers. Proverbs 24:6 NLT

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Saturday September 12, 2020

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None of us enjoys getting our ideas shot down by a committee or board. Yet there is safety in numbers, but only if all speak their mind in a humble and Christlike way.
I have talked to new church board members who told me they aren’t really sure what to do, so they just watch and vote the way everyone else is voting. But there is no point in having many advisers if they all think alike. There is also no point in having many advisers if they don’t warn us of the consequences of the board or committee’s choices. Board members must realize their loyalty must belong to the mission of the group and not just to the leader of the group.
While I was taking a Speech and Communications class at a local community college, the professor introduced me to the phrase “Group Think.” According to my professor, group think is a phenomenon in which being a part of the group is actually more important than the mission or beliefs and values of the group itself. It happens when members are afraid of disagreeing with the group even to protect the mission of the group. They are afraid of being separated from the group.
In group think,  the group tends to overestimates its power and authority and become close-minded. Group members experience pressure to conform, whether or not conforming is actually helping the group accomplish its mission.
My professor gave some examples. In Watergate all the President’s men agreed to break in and bug the democratic headquarters. Later many confessed they knew it was wrong, but they complied for fear of no longer being able to work next to the President. Being a part of the group became more important than the mission of the United States government.
I started thinking of some examples of “group think” in the Bible. The Jews all agreed to crucify Jesus and release Barabbas because that’s what the leaders wanted. This actually brought unity to the group, but at what expense! People were afraid to confess Jesus for fear of being thrown out of the group or synagogue. Yet Jesus was the whole purpose of the synagogue!
When this happened, the group defeated its purpose of being a group. They may have even thought they were protecting the group from Roman persecution by having Jesus crucified, but without Jesus the group meant nothing.
Having many advisers will keep us focused on our mission only if the advisors are not afraid to speak up.

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Friday September 11, 2020

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The greatest want of the world is the want of men– men who will not be bought or sold, men who in their inmost souls are true and honest, men who do not fear to call sin by its right name, men whose conscience is as true to duty as the needle to the pole, men who will stand for the right though the heavens fall. -Ellen White, Education, Page 57.