Church Polity

Discussion in 'General Baptist Discussions' started by Thousand Hills, Dec 12, 2013.

  1. Thousand Hills

    Thousand Hills
    Expand Collapse
    Active Member

    Joined:
    Oct 3, 2010
    Messages:
    1,488
    Likes Received:
    4
    Came across this video and thought it was an interesting discussion. Its one of the issues I'm struggling with of what is the most biblical means of church governance.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6WbI8olwdE8

    I’m paraphrasing here, but here are some snippets.

    James MacDonald – congregationalism as it exists in western world churches is a tool in the hand of Satan to cause great dissension in churches

    James MacDonald – members of the church should not aspire to governance, but to ministry. The business of the church is not the business of the church (budget, building, etc.) – the business of the church is ministry.

    Bald guy with beard and glasses – congregationalism is confused with democracy, not same thing.

    Mark Dever – congregationalism doesn’t work with carnal (unregenerate/unsaved) members

    James MacDonald – the whole thing is broken. People thing its their God given right to stand in judgment over their leaders.

    Bald guy with beard and glasses – each member has a responsibility to the profession of other members.

    Questions:
    Is the system wrong, or is it misuse of the system that causes the problem?

    Fix it, or is it a broken system, go plant new churches?
     
  2. Tom Butler

    Tom Butler
    Expand Collapse
    New Member

    Joined:
    Dec 20, 2005
    Messages:
    9,031
    Likes Received:
    0
    We saw congregational decision-making in the selection of Matthias to replace Judas as one of the Twelve. Acts 1.

    We saw congregational decision-making in the selection of the first deacons in Acts 6. The apostles oversaw the election, but did not unilaterally choose the deacons.

    A democratc or congregational system of governance may not be perfect, but we dod have a New Testament patter to follow.
     
  3. Tom Butler

    Tom Butler
    Expand Collapse
    New Member

    Joined:
    Dec 20, 2005
    Messages:
    9,031
    Likes Received:
    0
    In the churches I have served, none had a pure democracy, where the congregation voted on everything. In every case, such decision-making was routinely delegated.

    Here's an example: This Sunday following our morning service, our church will get together for its Christmas meal. Our kitchen committee handles all the details. It selects certain menu items. The congregation's only role is to bring a covered dish

    We have a church treasurer who signs every check. The congregation approves the budget, but he operates freely within those guidelines.

    Even our pastor has the power to approve an expenditure without asking the church for permission.

    Bottom line. Most congregations are not pure democracies. Most governance is delegation of powers and responsibilities.

    I'm familiar with some churches (years ago) where the pastor possessed much of the power and the congregation had little input.

    If it's okay with them, it's okay with me.
     
  4. Yeshua1

    Yeshua1
    Expand Collapse
    Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Mar 19, 2012
    Messages:
    17,126
    Likes Received:
    52
    My church has Elder Board, and the spiritual decisions for the local Body are made by them, but inthe areas of fianncial, hiring staff, taking on properties etc, that gets voted on and agreed to by the Congregation members...
     
  5. Tom Butler

    Tom Butler
    Expand Collapse
    New Member

    Joined:
    Dec 20, 2005
    Messages:
    9,031
    Likes Received:
    0
    I know of a Baptist church in our area which also has an elder board. it also has deacons.

    I'm not exactly sure what role the deacons play in that church. What about in yours? Do they participate in the governance of the church?

    I'm sure that in the majority of Baptist churches, deacons have a governing role. Which is okay if those deacons have a servant mentality about it, not a "board" mentality.
     
  6. Yeshua1

    Yeshua1
    Expand Collapse
    Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Mar 19, 2012
    Messages:
    17,126
    Likes Received:
    52
    Deacons in our church are what we consider to be the "staff" members, such as those in cleaning, ushering, collections etc of the church, the maitenance group... More like they handle day to day "physical" aspects of the bulding, while Elders handle spiritual side/direction of church...

    Sen pastor is on the elder Board, but has NO more say than any other Elder!
     
  7. thisnumbersdisconnected

    thisnumbersdisconnected
    Expand Collapse
    New Member

    Joined:
    Apr 11, 2013
    Messages:
    8,448
    Likes Received:
    0
    We have deacons only, and not all of them serve on the administrative, or executive, board of the church. I find it odd that you (?) as pastor are considered a member of the governing council. How are you supposed to vote if the motion is to remove you from the position?

    Our pastors serve at the discretion of the church. When a new staff member is being sought, the candidate the deacons settle upon is brought before the church as a whole, introduced and in some cases "candidated," if the position calls for preaching or teaching in some capacity. The congregation then votes -- anywhere from two weeks to a as much as a month after the initial introduction -- upon hiring the proposed staffer.

    Each deacon serves a certain geographical area from which our church members come, and most stay in touch with those members who live in their areas. This allows for expression of the church membership as to the more mundane operations of the church. Our church budget is approved at a congregational meeting once a year, and the more weighty issues regarding the administration of that budget is handled by what I would call an executive board, although that isn't what we call it. It's just the business committee. The positions on it are filled by some of the deacons, preferably by those who have expertise, knowledge or a calling to administration.

    We have an administrative pastor who has degrees both in finance and theology who advises the committee, but who has no vote. Our senior pastor meets with the business committee once a month to give a report on all aspects of the church's ministry. Each deacon reports back to the membership in his area as to progress on the yearly budget, ministry outreaches, and brings proposed new venues of service to our attention.

    All in all, it works quite well.
     
  8. Judith

    Judith
    Expand Collapse
    Member

    Joined:
    May 22, 2012
    Messages:
    982
    Likes Received:
    10
    I can only speak to the Baptist church since I have only been a member of that church. It is my opinion that the Baptists have it wrong in church polity. Deacons are used as board members, sheep vote and shepherds follow. I disagree with this as being biblical.
     
  9. Yeshua1

    Yeshua1
    Expand Collapse
    Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Mar 19, 2012
    Messages:
    17,126
    Likes Received:
    52
    I am not the pastor in the church, but have been on staffas the treasurer, currently head up the pastoral prayer team...

    And ANYTHING that the Pastors receive are done thru other Elders deciding what to compensate them for, and that gets approved by the members at the annual church meeting to review/renew annual budgets!

    Same way if need to remove/discipline, as that gets handled by theother Elders, as ANYTHING dealing with the pastoral staff is spelled out in our constitution and bylaws that the Pastors are totally out of the loop!
     
  10. dh1948

    dh1948
    Expand Collapse
    Member

    Joined:
    Oct 11, 2003
    Messages:
    550
    Likes Received:
    0
    I recently did some conflict intervention in a church where the church votes on everything that happens. For example, if the church plans a meal, the members have to vote on the number pieces of chicken to purchase. If chairs and tables are rearranged in the fellowship hall, the church has to approve the action. When I was a teen in church, I recall a business meeting when the pastor was nearly fired because he purchased toilet paper and light bulbs without the church's prior approval. By the way, the church voted to not reimburse him because "he didn't have the authority" to purchase these items.
     
  11. Thousand Hills

    Thousand Hills
    Expand Collapse
    Active Member

    Joined:
    Oct 3, 2010
    Messages:
    1,488
    Likes Received:
    4
    Crazy :eek: If I ever move to bammer I'll pm you make sure these aren't on my list of possible churches.
     
  12. Thousand Hills

    Thousand Hills
    Expand Collapse
    Active Member

    Joined:
    Oct 3, 2010
    Messages:
    1,488
    Likes Received:
    4
    Thanks for all the good discussion. Here's a related blog post I came across, tend to agree with what he says here.

    http://sbcvoices.com/every-church-is-elder-led-every-church-is-congregational/

     
  13. Thousand Hills

    Thousand Hills
    Expand Collapse
    Active Member

    Joined:
    Oct 3, 2010
    Messages:
    1,488
    Likes Received:
    4
    Let me post another question based upon some of the comments here.

    How does the size of the church determine the effectiveness of the governance model? For example.

    - A smaller church (100 or less) typically has only a few staff members, easier for folks who want to "run the show" to do so, as typically in these churches its the same group of 20 to 40 that actually show up at the business meetings or serve on committees, etc.

    - A larger church has more financial resources, can hire more qualified staff, greater pool of potential leaders, etc.. Downside is, that some members may be attracted to these churches so that they don't have to be involved, leave it to the professionals, etc.
     
  14. Jacob_Elliott

    Jacob_Elliott
    Expand Collapse
    New Member

    Joined:
    Nov 23, 2013
    Messages:
    257
    Likes Received:
    0
    Yes!:thumbsup:
     
  15. Jacob_Elliott

    Jacob_Elliott
    Expand Collapse
    New Member

    Joined:
    Nov 23, 2013
    Messages:
    257
    Likes Received:
    0
    It is my personal opinion that church's conform to the new testament church as much as possible and this means multiple elder rule. Deacons should have no authority as the term literally means servant, and was set up to look after widows and orphans. I would also like to point out that in acts 1 and 6 the congregation didn't appoint anyone, God did through the apostles. Some verses that show the importance and authority of elders:


    Acts 14:23- And when they had appointed elders for them in every church, with prayer and fasting they committed them to the Lord in whom they had believed. (Acts 14:23 ESV)

    Acts 15:2-And after Paul and Barnabas had no small dissension and debate with them, Paul and Barnabas and some of the others were appointed to go up to Jerusalem to the apostles and the elders about this question. (Acts 15:2 ESV)

    Acts 15:6-The apostles and the elders were gathered together to consider this matter. (Acts 15:6 ESV)

    Acts 15:23-with the following letter: “The brothers, both the apostles and the elders, to the brothers who are of the Gentiles in Antioch and Syria and Cilicia, greetings. (Acts 15:23 ESV)

    Acts 16:4-As they went on their way through the cities, they delivered to them for observance the decisions that had been reached by the apostles and elders who were in Jerusalem. (Acts 16:4 ESV)

    Acts 20:28-Pay careful attention to yourselves and to all the flock, in which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to care for the church of God, which he obtained with his own blood. (Acts 20:28 ESV)

    1Tim 4:14-Do not neglect the gift you have, which was given you by prophecy when the council of elders laid their hands on you. (1 Timothy 4:14 ESV)

    1Tim 5:17-Let the elders who rule well be considered worthy of double honor, especially those who labor in preaching and teaching. (1 Timothy 5:17 ESV)

    1Tim 5:19-Do not admit a charge against an elder except on the evidence of two or three witnesses. (1 Timothy 5:19 ESV)

    Titus 1:5-This is why I left you in Crete, so that you might put what remained into order, and appoint elders in every town as I directed you— (Titus 1:5 ESV)

    Titus 1:7-For an overseer, as God’s steward, must be above reproach. He must not be arrogant or quick-tempered or a drunkard or violent or greedy for gain, (Titus 1:7 ESV)

    1Peter 5:5-Likewise, you who are younger, be subject to the elders. Clothe yourselves, all of you, with humility toward one another, for “God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.” (1 Peter 5:5 ESV)
     

Share This Page

Loading...