When church leaders twist arms so people will “run for office,” the congregation takes on a political posture. It’s law, not Gospel. It’s duty, not calling. It’s political, not mission. When that occurs, God’s people drift from a biblical posture. In most congregations, when they have elections, the constitution requires at least two people to run for office. So, we ask someone to run against another Christian—and someone loses in front of all their friends at church. In the Christian church, doesn’t that seem odd to you?

Why should anyone who is willing to serve God—and their church—lose an election in front of all their friends at church? How does that sync with the tone and posture of the New Testament church? How does that resonate with everything we know about Jesus?

Can you imagine Jesus conducting an election for Matthew, Mark, Luke, John, or anyone else? What about the Apostle Paul? Who would vote for him—especially before he traveled the Damascus road and the way of Jesus? Paul would have lost every election! God’s ways are not our ways! The more you learn about church governance—the way Christians make decisions—the more you will feel astonished and wonder, “Why do we do politics in the church?”

When your church members read the book Church Politics: Pain-Free Decision-Making, they will have a powerful reaction. They will come to this conclusion: “How and why did we ever get this humanistic, political approach in the first place?” We’ve seen this in every church we have helped to restructure their approach to decision-making. We have even consulted a whole denomination that changed its entire decision-making structure.

If you wonder, “How can this possibly work?”—we can report that every church that takes a serious look at decision-making structure from a biblical perspective operates as though a dark cloud has lifted. You will never go back to the “old way” of politics. The will of God, the input of Scripture, liberates church leaders and increases the effectiveness of the ministry for your church.

Anyone who knows their Bible will recognize that most church governance systems are based on humanistic organizations and businesses. This is a major paradigm shift from the biblical approach. And, when they look at the issues, most Christians will recognize the challenge.

We help churches develop their own unique form of what we call an “apostolic counsel”—counsel, spelled c-o-u-n-s-e-l. God is the “Counselor” through Scripture. Apostolic—the approach of the apostles. Those who become part of the counsel will be the most spiritually mature members of your church. They will be known for their involvement in Bible study and their prayer life. Their exceptional knowledge of Scripture will be evident to those who know them. They will know their way around the Bible—and will bring their well-worn Bibles to every decision-making gathering. They will be people of prayer.

Your congregation’s apostolic counsel will pause for prayer whenever they are faced with a challenging decision. They will seek God’s will on every matter. They will make unanimous decisions without votes. The leader will ask, “Does anyone object?” If they do, the decision is premature. If an apostolic counsel is unable to achieve consensus on an issue, they will table it and pray about it.

Those who believe “this will never work” are often new Christians or church members with a limited knowledge of Scripture. They may have been “members” of the church for decades, but have never focused on personal Bible reading or participated in a regular Bible class.

Your congregation’s move to a biblical approach to decision-making will require some changes. Your constitution will have to be changed. It will have far fewer rules and regulations. It will look less political and more spiritual. Your constitution will be much shorter. It will also reflect the unique personality of your church and ministry. In most churches, the constitution will have to be “approved” by some denominational office or leadership of your congregation’s network of churches.

In our work with many different kinds of churches, their new, more biblical form of constitution has never been rejected by denominational or regional leaders. In fact, churches that have “refreshed” their structure with an apostolic theocracy have influenced the leaders of their larger fellowship, launching a biblical approach of decision-making that impacts the bureaucratic drift common in many denominations and movements.

The political structures of most churches and denominations are some of the greatest roadblocks and frustrations to the effectiveness of Christianity. There is no biblical precedent for Robert’s Rules of Order. If your church develops an apostolic counsel, it will consist of the most enthusiastic students of Scripture and seasoned prayer warriors. Everyone involved will have counsel meetings knowing they have sought out God’s will for your church.

Kent R. Hunter is the author of Church Politics: Pain-Free Decision-Making. Kent is the founder of Church Doctor Ministries, now led by Tracee J. Swank. Church Doctor Ministries is a dynamic ministry that helps Christians and churches become more effective to make disciples for Jesus Christ. Church Politics is available from Amazon.com and ChurchDoctor.org.

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