At the end of worship, the pastor gave the benediction and encouraged everyone to go serve the Lord. But truthfully, at the end of the annual meeting, most everyone wants to go take an aspirin and a nap. Welcome to the lowest spiritual level confessed by most Christians of most churches: local church government.
Consider this: (1) Most Christians report that a congregational meeting and/or a Board on which they sit represents the lowest point of their spiritual experience. (2) Most pastors—truth be known—hate to go to meetings. (3) When asked to reflect upon a previous ministry, and to identify what elements were most and least useful for the Kingdom, most pastors and church leaders identify decision-making meetings as the least beneficial to God’s work. (4) The attendance at most church meetings is pitiful. In truth, most intelligent and sane people are smart enough to avoid that torture!
Focus on these issues:
- Most forms of government (just about every denomination) are more culturally influenced than biblically designed.
- In most churches, the structure that exists to make decisions is not effective.
- There’s nothing biblical about providing a nominating committee that asks people if they’re “willing to let their name stand,” because “we need a full slate of people.”
- According to the Bible, certain people are given spiritual gifts of leadership—and they are to lead the church.
- Most church governments are organized so that things can be done “decently and in order.” While these are great character traits for every church, they are not the purpose of church government. The purpose of church government is to make decisions according to God’s will.
- A biblical form of church government votes much less and prays more often.
- A biblical form of church government debates much less and reads the Bible much more.
- A biblical form of church government allows leaders to lead, has no measured terms of office, and recognizes that people are chosen for leadership positions, not elected by popular vote.
- Leaders in biblical church governments are chosen as servant leaders because they demonstrate a lifestyle of deep commitment to the study of God’s Word. This equips them to know God’s will, which is the purpose of church government!
- Do not try to change the government of your church without help from an outside expert. Consider the Church Government Consultation provided by Church Doctor Ministries. This can be a volatile issue when not handled properly!
- Most congregations try to reshape their church government by forming a committee to rewrite the Constitution. In the careful process of reshaping a church government to a biblical form, the writing of the Constitution should come absolutely last.
Wouldn’t it be great if church meetings were fun, engendered enthusiasm, and provided encouragement? Wouldn’t it be exciting if people understood that Robert’s Rules of Order are not in the Bible but the command to “speak the truth in a spirit of love” is? Unhealthy, culturally influenced, local church governments represent, in my perception, one of the five major roadblocks to revival in the modern church.
How has your church updated its governance? We welcome your comments below.
Kent Hunter, founder of Church Doctor Ministries, is known as the Church Doctor. His most recent e-books are The Future Is Now and The J-Dog Journey, available at no cost. Contact him at (800) 626-8515, by email, Twitter, Facebook, or visit www.churchdoctor.org.