There is a fictional story about a church that caught fire. All the members of the church board perished in the terrible disaster. Why? They couldn’t find the procedure in Robert’s Rules of Order to properly adjourn in the case of an emergency!
That fictitious report has the power of a parable: The drift from Scripture cripples the local church in many forms, including its approach to governance. As the Christian movement continues to decline, there are several ailments that need to be addressed. One of the most severe is the decision-making approach that creeps into congregations from secular and unspiritual origins. John Maxwell once said, “Everything rises and falls on leadership.” If you were the enemy of Christ, doesn’t it make sense that you would subtly create havoc among local church and denominational leaders who “baptize” secular approaches foreign to Scripture — and make them feel “popular” and “wise”?
Church decision making, the politics of leadership, is no small matter. Christ-followers have fought for the truth of Scripture for centuries, through reformations, revivals, and movements. Jesus faced Pilate on the subject: “What is truth?” (John 18:38). He also challenged the Pharisees on the subject of structure: “New wine needs new wineskins” (Matthew 9:17). Structure matters. How you make decisions for ministry is vital. Who makes ministry decisions is important. Church governance matters. The container in which leaders make decisions — seek God’s will — matters. Otherwise, you lose the new wine. The structure of making decisions can carry the new wine of the gospel effectively — or lose it.
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