Control of the Church

Discussion in 'Pastoral Ministries' started by Serving Him, Jun 3, 2003.

  1. Serving Him

    Serving Him
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    Besides prayer how do you handle the old guard (those who have been in the church forever) who wants to control the Church? I was in a rather difficult board meeting the other night. I have been taking some stands that needed to be taken and now a certain person is making it difficult. I believe that we are headed the right direction with the church, but this person is the old guard and is losing his control of the church and doesn’t like it.
     
  2. Karen

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    I was part of the "old guard" in a mission church once. After the mission got off the ground, most of the original members were transferred out of town, leaving just a few of us.
    There were many times we had to rotate opening up, turning up the heat, setting up chairs, etc, etc, etc, with one other couple. And it was very hard. We put in a long time doing this. And prayed very hard about what direction God wanted us to take.
    It was wonderful having new people join us.
    However, some of them came with a long list of all the things we had been doing wrong. And they did not want to do the "right things", they just wanted to watch while they told us to do the right things.

    So MAYBE you give more of an attitude than you realize that the old guard should just be quiet and do things right for a change.
    Get to know them, love them, talk to them about why that church was started, what vision they have always had for it.
    Very possibly you have some people that are just plain cranky. But very possibly you have some people that don't want to change immediately just because you say so.

    Karen
     
  3. Ernie Brazee

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    Where is the pastor? Sounds like a lack of leadership.

    I am one of the "old guard", been a member for 37 years and there have been many changes. Many new memebers have come and gone in this time. Some have taken over positions I once held, but hey, its the Lord's church and if he leads the pastor to replace me with someone else who am I to argue.

    Old guard? Naw, just an old member who rejoices in how the Lord uses the younger members to keep us moving forward for the Lord.

    Guess we don't have "old guard" problems as we aren't a board run church, important issues are brought before the congregation for discussion. If there is much contention the matter is tabled and we pray about it, and come back to it.

    When we were meeting in an alternate location chairs had to be set up, piano moved, etc. No one had to be assigned to this task as those who arrived early went ahead and set up.

    Back to the leadership, the pastor is to lead the church not a board.
     
  4. Major B

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    Since you are the pastor and he is "old guard" (meaning that he is related to lost of folks there, he is from that town, and he is considered a permanent fixture, where you are probably considered disposable), I would be polishing my resume if I were you, and getting ready to pack. This is not just based on my personal experience or of my many years of observing churches. A friend did his D. Min. work studying congregations like this, and his extensive research suggests that in 9/10 of these situations, the pastor gets shown the door.

    Having said that, some do succeed, but the impetus has to come from inside the congregation. Someone has got to decide to tell old Mr. So-and-so to get off the preacher's back. And, the 10% of pastors who survive such a thing are often helped out by timely funerals. :eek:
     
  5. USN2Pulpit

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    I hate to evoke a secular theme (from the reality show "Survivor"), but perhaps you can "Outwit, outplay, and outlast" your "opponent."

    A note - I have no experience to back this up...I'm the greenest of greenhorns at pastoring.
     
  6. Ernie Brazee

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    There is one aspect missinging in these scenarios: The Lord! Seems as though he has been booted from these churches and any preacher with any sense would stay far away from them. Let the "old guard" have their dead work and move on to start a real work for the Lord.
     
  7. Squire Robertsson

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    Being a member of a 120+ year old church, I can understand the problem. The question do these older saints love the Lord and His work? I know my church would have dried up and blown away if it weren't for these folks and their faithfulness. (their children had moved to the 'burbs and other churchs.) Now, as newer folks came in and the church grew, there was some friction. But, our God is not in a hurry as men count hurrying. Over the years, things changed as the guard changed.

    It also helps to have your church organized for ministry not administration. This keeps the bailiwicks to a minimum.
     
  8. Serving Him

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    In this situation I have been moving the church from administration to ministry and one or two families don't like it. The rest of us are waiting for the Lord to move them on. I knew that this would come up sooner or later.
     
  9. Major B

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    Check to see who is related to whom. Supporters might turn out to be abstainers ("I can't vote against cousin Ted...).
     
  10. Pastor Larry

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    Make you case from Scripture about 1) pastoral leadership and 2) the things you want to change.

    Tell them, "If you have a scriptural objection, come and bring your Bible. If you do not have a scriptural objection, I will entertain your objection but it will carry no weight beyond your ability to convince me." The job of the church member is to get in line behind the leadership.

    I have faced the same thing. I have men who have been deacons longer than I have been alive. I count their opinion valuable, but I count it as their opinion (and they know it). Pick your battles carefully. Start getting some small wins and the momentum builds. Ultimately, you pick a direction and go with it. We are making a major change right now but I have won the confidence of people over the time I have been here so they are willing to give it a try with me. Some are just barely willing, but they are willing.

    I have had some head to head confrontations that I have handled with calmness but strength. I had one lady upset because we had a lady missionary that we support in to present her more recent term and then I preached afterwards. She called me a chauvinist and several other things. I reminded her of Scripture and said "This is how it is." The old guard in churches has their place and it can be valuable, but they must be kept in their place, so to speak. :D

    Be driven by Scripture and constantly preach your philosophy from Scripture and I have found those things take care of themselves.
     
  11. Squire Robertsson

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    Everythingelse being equal (i.e. God has not spoken to you from the modern equivelent of the burning bush.), it is a good idea to keep in mind that God can and does speak to your men just as well as He speaks to you. If there is a significant "I don't know about that, Preacher." factor at work, then it may be wise to put the action on the back burner. I know my pastor has taken a couple of years to implement a given program. First, he'll bring in a special speaker to talk about how something works in his church or organization. Then over time, my pastor will educate us on the need and the benefits. Then in the fullness of time, the Lord lays the new ministry on somebody's heart and they volunteer to implement it. As noted above, sometimes we have had to wait for someone to go home to Glory. But then, didn't Our Lord know that when He lead my pastor to propose the change? All in all, we just have to keep in mind that the providence of God is good and the He is not in a hurry.
     
  12. go2church

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    Is the pastor trying to control the church are shepherd the congregation? The old guard should be considered and respected even if they seem to getting in the way. The church I am at is over 120+ and those that have been around a while haven't been a problem for me. They just want to see the church progress
     
  13. Serving Him

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    I am trying to lead the congregation as the Lord leads not as one board member and one other family dictates the majority of the people are following. These two are in the miniority since I came here and they do not like it that they are not getting their way any more. One of the people has a reputation that covers at least a three state area. Right now we are praying that God will change their hearts or remove them preferably change their hearts as we are a small congregation. What has been happening is that one person doesn't make it to a meeting where a decision is made then they try everything in their power to reverse the majority decision to include to take things into their own hands and try to reverse the decision. It all started when the majority voted to increase a parking area and now everytime something comes up this person is against it even for the order of the service.
     
  14. amen_corner

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    My advice would be to follow up with that member regarding the board meeting. Don't let it sit too long. He needs to hear your heart in a different setting, and I would suggest that you visit him soon. You need to invest in him, so that he will trust your leadership. In fact, the greatest thing you will do is to build a strong relationship with him so that he stands for you at future board meetings.

    This won't happen overnight. It will take time. In fact, it might not happen at all. But you've got to get the process started.

    I'm in a 128 yr. old church, with a rich history, in a downtown community. Plenty of old guard here. I've learned that for many of them the church is the only stable thing in their lives...everything else in their lives is changing, and most of it not for the better. For them, the one thing that they want to stay the same is "their" church. But once they trust the leadership, and sense that the leadership loves them and has the church's best interests in mind, and that the leadership is committed to the church both with resouces and time, then things begin to move. If you pack up and leave now, you will only confirm what is in many minds right now.

    How many pastors came before you, started with this grand vision, got the people to get behind it, made some changes, then left? They don't forget that stuff very easily. That's why they need to see that your leadership is different.
     
  15. Pastor Larry

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    Please tell me that the order of service is not a discussion at your business meetings. I can't imagine that. Why would there be a forum for him to object to it?? If he does it privately, that is grounds for loving confrontation from the pastor.

    I do agree with the squire that if a significant number are against it, there needs to be careful thought. But remember that tradition is tradition because a significant number of people liked it and if we allow that to control our agenda, nothing would change.

    I would say this too, that the credibility of commitment goes a long way. If you have been there 6 months or a year or two, people will tend to think that you will leave and leave them holding the bag with something they didn't like to begin with. If you have developed a consistency and longevity in the pastorate at that church, and if people think you are in for the long haul, they will be much more willing to accept things. Here in this 99 year old church, they thought I would be gone two years ago. My willingness to stay in this situation has convinced them that I am in for the long haul. Additionally, the fact that over half the congregation is new since I came means that they have no traditions. They are easy to convince. So the trick is to just add new people :D I told our congregation that I long for the day when we, the old group, are out numbered in a business meeting.
     
  16. SaggyWoman

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    Old guard.

    Ours is rather, "OLD GRIPERS".

    Shut up already, I'd say.
     

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