Analytics are valuable to the strategic success of any organization, including ministries. What is challenging for ministry leaders is the example set by Jesus. Looking through the gospels, ministry leaders see Christ stepping outside of analytics to do miracles, reach people, and advance his kingdom. Jesus appears to make decisions based on the guidance of the Holy Spirit, leading to extraordinary results. What ministry leaders must be cautious of, though, is properly distinguish between the guidance of the Holy Spirit and intuitive decision-making.
Personal intuition can be a powerful decision-making approach when used sparingly in the absence of alternatives (Davenport et al., 2010). Too often intuitive and experience-based decisions go astray or end in disaster (Davenport et al., 2010). This does not mean intuitive decisions should not be made, though, they should simply be made rarely. When intuition decisions are made, it is important to also track the applied intuition as well as the results in order to turn intuition into rules of thumb (Davenport et al., 2010), or to avoid patterns of poor intuitive decision-making. Sometimes, even with effective analytical tools available, intuition is the best way to go (Davenport et al., 2010), but it should be tracked and measured to discover whether it is an effective use of intuitive decision-making. Intuitive decisions should be the exception to the rule, but they should not become the normative way decisions are made. Better decisions and right actions come from analytics (Davenport et al., 2010), and intuitive decision-making can be a powerful partner to analytical decision-making.
The Holy Spirit can work outside of analytics, trends, and behavior patterns, and it is up to ministry leaders to properly discern when the Holy Spirit is guiding them, and when they are being tempted to rely on their intuition as a normative decision-making process.
Davenport, T. H., Harris, J. G., & Morison, R. (2010). Analytics at work: smarter decisions, better results. Boston, Mass: Harvard Business Press.