Business Meetings

Discussion in 'General Baptist Discussions' started by mnw, Apr 12, 2006.

  1. mnw

    mnw
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    When would you hold a business meeting?

    I didn't want to distract from the other topic so started a new thread here.

    Some churches do it during their mid-week service, others before or after a Sunday service, I have heard of one that meets on a different day all together.

    What do you do?
     
  2. MRCoon

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    Church Officers have a seperate meeting usually a week or so before the scheduled business meeting. We usually hold our Church-wide Business Meetings on Sunday Night after Church because Wednesday's are to crazy during the school year due to AWANA.
     
  3. Tom Butler

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    Wednesday nights, every other month. Usually run 15-20 minutes at most, leaving plenty of time for Bible study. Mostly routine stuff--receive treasurer's report, grant letters, hear recommendations from deacons. Rarely any controvesy.
     
  4. Tom Butler

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    Sorry, double post
     
  5. Pipedude

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    Nothing worthy of congregational input will be satisfactorily handled when there isn't enough time to hash it out. I think that the business meeting should be scheduled at a time where it could run for an hour or two if need be. Otherwise either (1) it didn't need to be held in the first place (disproving congregationalism) or (2) things will be railroaded (which also would disprove congregationalism).
     
  6. mnw

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    For the record, ours is done on a Wednesday evening. It does cut down on the time available for other matters, but it is a necessity.

    My approach is to try and give as much information as possible and receive enough feedback in the weeks approaching the meeting.

    It reduces, and even eliminates the time needed for discussion.
     
  7. insuranceman

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    We don't have them unless needed.
     
  8. Tom Butler

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    Speaking of business meetings, our church has the minutes of every business meeting going back to 1902. The church clerk kept detailed minutes, almost a narrative. Here are some things that I gleaned from them:

    It was a robust congregational government. No standing commitees. If a job needed to be done (such as soliciting members for money to pay the preacher, or to buy coal for the auditorium stove), an ad hoc committee was appointed. When the job was done, the committee reported back at the business meeting, and was discharged.

    Church discipline was routinely practiced, mainly for dancing. When I first went to that church as minister of music, I met an elderly deacon and his wife. Delightful people. In reading the minutes, I found that, 30 years earlier, a member had accused Brother J___of dancing. The minutes read, "Bro. J__being present, was called upon to respond. He said yes he did dance, with his own wife, and he wasn't sorry. Whereupon, the church voted to disfellowship him. Mrs. J___said yes, she danced with her husband, but she was sorry. Whereupon the church voted to forgive her."

    On another occasion, in the late 1920s, the church disfellowshipped a man for gambling. The gambling that he did was invest in the stock market!

    It's also interesting to note that very often, the disfellowshipped member would re-appear in the minutes as having been restored.

    At one business meeting, a member asked the church to mediate a dispute between him and another member. At the next business meeting, the clerk recorded that the dispute has been resolved, and fellowship restored.

    I think the following was pretty typical, not unique to our church: When a pastoral vacancy occurred, a church business meeting was called, and the floor opened for nominations. Members would nominate various preachers (some of whom were pastoring elsewhere) and they'd vote. The church would dispatch a committee to the winner to inform him that he'd been elected and would he accept? Sometimes the preacher wouldn't even know he'd been elected until the committee arrived. Sometimes, they'd say yes, and sometimes no. If no, another business meeting would start the process all over again.

    I found that after about 1940, there is no record of the church disfellowshipping a member, except for joining another denomination.

    Standing committees began to show up in the 1930s.

    The minutes recorded the results of a revival in 1932--58 people saved. Only two of those people
    survive, and one is a member of the church today, 74 years later. He is my father-in-law.

    Now you can see why I was fascinated by the precious nuggets of information in found in those old gold mines of church minutes.
     
  9. mnw

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    That is great to have that history Tom. There is certainly a lot of merit in keeping detailed minutes.

    My home church in Brimpton, England, have minutes also, though not so detailed. [​IMG] They date back to about 1842 to when it was built. A small, independent Baptist chapel to start with and still is today - praise the Lord!

    Maybe swinging the thread a little, but what input does a congregation have in your opinions?

    I believe the Scripture clearly lays out the congregations responsibility in church discipline, the appointment of missionaries (Acts 15:22) and election of deacons (Acts 6:3). But beyond that, what are your views? I'll share a little more of that I believe later. [​IMG]
     
  10. Salty

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    I like the ideal of a business meeting every two months. Hopefully most items will be taken care of by the church council, and then just approved :thumbs: by the congregation.

    I think the secret is strong leadership without being a dictator.

    Salty
     
  11. donnA

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    Ours is 3rd Wednesday of each month.
     
  12. Brother Bob

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    We meet ever 4th Saturday. The moderator first comes to the stand and welcomes everyone and reads a prayer list. We bring

    up service with an introduction by one of the preachers and then prayer. The moderator then comes to the stand and after

    council or maybe some preaching, he then calls the church to seat for business and inquires for peace. If all are in peace we

    move on to any back references of our previous meetings. We then have the record read of last meeting and by move and

    second it is approved and recorded without any objection. We then call for unfinished business and first thing and the first

    thing is to invite our vistors to seat with us for aid and council and the visting sisters to pray for us. Then it is the treasure

    report of which is recieved by silence. Then the question is asked is there any more unfinished business, if we have some work

    concerning a member, ordaination or work on the church it is then discussed and the proper moves and seconds are made and

    recorded. After unfinished business we move on to any New business. If we have anything to work on that needs the church

    approval we bring it up and get a move and second without objection to work on it. The floor is always open for any discussion

    by a member raising to his feet and asking for permission to speak. If in order he is allowed to express his veiw on any

    subject and if not in order he is asked to please take his seat. After New business is finished we ask for any donations to the

    church and after the donations church is dismissed from business and we move on by having a closing preacher. After the

    closing preacher we have a closing prayer with a dismission being called. Before dismission all vistors are given permission to

    give out their meetings with the time and place.
     
  13. amity

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    Every third Saturday at about noon. There is a story behind this odd timing, actually. It is a very old church and goes back to 1852. Back then, there was not necessarily a preacher available on the Texas frontier every single Sunday. They had one preacher with a regular appointment every third weekend, so they would hold services on both Saturday and Sunday that one weekend. That is still when conference is, every third Saturday immediately after the handshake. Most times there is no business brought forward, but it gives everyone the chance to raise any issues, at least. It is pretty much as Brother Bob describes, but we do not have a prayer list and never ask for donations. Afterward we go to lunch.
     
    #13 amity, Apr 1, 2007
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 1, 2007
  14. Tom Butler

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    Our congregation has all the input it desires to give, but delegates much of the legwork to committees. For instance, our trustees also serve as the House and Grounds Committee. They are authorized to spend money on normal repairs and upkeep without coming back to the church for approval. Other ministries are funded in the budget, and those in charge of those ministries have a free hand in spending the allocation approved by the congregation.

    The pastor has some latitude in spending church funds, but even he has a limit that he can spend without coming to the church for approval.

    The monthly treasurer's report is a detailed item-by-item list of expenditures. Salaries are no secret.

    The deacons are currently working on a revision and update of our by-laws. When they present their recommendations to the congregation, plenty of time will be allowed for full discussion.

    Pipedude commented:
    In my own experience, when you have two-hour business meetings, you have a church in conflict. There are exceptions, of course. Pipedude, I gather than you don't like congregational government, and that's okay. Few methods of governing work well when you have dictatorial pastors, power-hungry deacons or other church leaders and members who want to be pastor.

    When you have a mature congregation who loves and respects the pastor, loves each other and is unified, with no power agenda by anyone, any of 'em will work just fine.
     
    #14 Tom Butler, Apr 1, 2007
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 1, 2007
  15. Lagardo

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    Ours is the second sunday of the month, unless something like Easter causes us to reschedule to the following Sunday.

    We hold it after the evening service. We used to have it on Wednesdays and have seen a substantial increase in involvment since we moved it. Many of the men in our church cannot get home from work in time to make it on Wednesdays. This way, all who want to be involved, can be involved.
     
  16. Pipedude

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    I never see it. Instead I see the pretense of congregational government while the church is really run by the pastor, trustees, and deacons. They make the decisions and the congregation rubber stamps them.

    Take, for instance, the admission of new members. It occurs at the front of the auditorium right before lunch: all in favor of receiving A.B. by transfer of letter say Amen. Now, who's gonna question A.B.'s admission to membership in such a setting? It's membership-on-demand and the congregation has nothing to do with it.

    The trustees and pastor spend hours in meetings trying to hash out the best approach to getting the new buses that comply with the new laws. Finally they have it worked out and they have to take it to the congregation for approval. So, after the special and before the sermon, the chairman of the trustees goes to the lecturn and spends 45 seconds explaining the need and the solution that the trustees and pastor have decided on. Everybody votes yes and the sermon follows. In other words, it was pointless compliance with the requirements of congregationalism. If anyone wanted to debate the matter, the whole morning would be thrown askew and a dozen roasts would be lost.

    Congregationalism is just too darned much trouble; but it's a Baptist distinctive, so the pretense has to be kept up.
     
  17. Brother Bob

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    Love gifts of money from the members and vistors is how we pay our bills. We don't ASK for money, we say if anyone want to make an offering they can. They surely don't have to. But if they don't we take them out behind the house and take turns beating on them. [​IMG]
     
  18. amity

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    But very gently and lovingly, I am sure.
     
  19. mnw

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    Tom, in our church the congregational government sounds very similar to yours.

    In a previous post I detailed three areas I believe are specifically mentioned as requiring the congregation's input.

    But in reality, I believe they more they are invovled the better. Of course day to day decisions can be made by the leadership in a church, but a lot can also be brought to the church as a whole.

    Pipedude, the baptist churches I have been invovled with do not work the way you seem to think. In the two previous churches I have attended I have seen recommendations from the pastor rejected. In some instances the pastor later saw the wisdom of the congregation, in others the congregation later turned around and went with the pastor's recommendation. But in no case was a decision rail-roaded over the church.
     
  20. tinytim

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    I can just see aunt bessy now.... throwing a fit because her roast burned!!! :laugh:

    Ours is quarterly, on Thursday evenings unless something (like Maundy Thursday) comes up, then we have to reschedule.

    We have various reports.
    And we hash out a few things when needed.
     

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