members-only business meetings

Discussion in 'Pastoral Ministries' started by abcgrad94, Nov 15, 2010.

  1. abcgrad94

    abcgrad94
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    Does your church allow non-members to sit through business meetings? I'm not talking about voting, but sitting through the meetings and reviewing the financial statements, etc?

    We had a couple leave about a year ago and now they've been coming back for a couple of weeks. They stayed for our business meeting even though they are no longer voting members of our church. They've not mentioned re-joining the church. Our church constitution does not prohibit this, but I felt they were out of line. Thoughts?
     
  2. matt wade

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    A local church should be above reproach. There should be nothing to hide. I'd be very suspicious of a church that wouldn't allow non-memebers to sit through a business meeting.
     
  3. GBC Pastor

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    We moved around quite a bit when I was a child. Therefore we went through the process of joining a number of churches along the way. My father always would sit in on one business meeting before deciding whether to join a church or not. He believed it gave him a better idea of the type of congregation a church truly was. As a pastor I have no problem with a non-member sitting in on a business meeting.
     
  4. Tom Bryant

    Tom Bryant
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    I agree. We have always had non-members sitting thru the business ordeals, er, meetings.
     
  5. annsni

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    We don't even have regular monthly business meetings at our church. Most of what goes on is under the auspices of the administrative pastor and his staff and we have regular yearly audits - plus people (members or non-members) can meet with him and ask questions.

    The ONE business meeting we have is in March and it's a huge deal. We do a pot-luck dinner, skits, games, etc. We vote on the budget and meet the new deacons (who were voted on weeks earlier). Anyone is invited as long as they bring a main dish and either a salad or dessert. :)

    Oh, we DO have a financial business meeting the week before the annual meeting but only staff and deacons have shown up for that for the last 10 years. It's about a 20 minute meeting because no one really has many questions. Most of the time is the pastors presenting the budget and explaining what is going on this year.
     
  6. rbell

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    The only business meeting in which we ask non-members to be excused is the once-yearly discussion of salary proposals (in which the salary amounts are individualized). That is done for privacy issues...especially concerning non-ministerial employees.

    The rest of the year, come on in, sit right down, and have a financial report. We'd love for folks to see how we spend God's money, and welcome the accountability (not saying someone with an opposing view feels otherwise...this is just how we approach the issue).

    I should mention--we used to have hour-long (or more) business meetings that were pretty much simply gripe sessions. A handful of perpetually grumpy, immature members would seize the opportunity to raise sand about silly stuff.

    The smartest thing our pastor did is institute the policy that any new business must be put on the agenda a week before the meeting. That one issue (plus some folks getting right, some growing up, and some...er...saying goodbye to this earthly world) made all the difference. Now, after 10 minutes of meeting, there's Bible study and prayer time. Imagine that.
     
  7. webdog

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    One of the many problems avoided in an Elder led church :)
     
  8. abcgrad94

    abcgrad94
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    This isn't about "hiding" anything. It's about letting non-members come in and possibly give their comments and/or opinion when they are not voting members and try to influence how the members vote, or cause distractions during the meeting. I think if people DO sit through a business meeting as non-members, they should be required to keep silence.
     
  9. John Toppass

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    We have quarterly business meetings. We have a budget that we stay within the rest of the time the elders are always responsible to God for expenditures and to then the members at such meetings. If need be, we can call for an emergency meeting. Oh, visitors are welcome, we have nothing to hide and vistors are not allowed to have input since they do not have a vote.
     
  10. matt wade

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    I don't disagree with that. Non-members don't and shouldn't have a voice at business meetings. They are free to observe, but not participate.
     
  11. Salty

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    Should a prospective member be allowed to ask a question?
    I agree they should not vote, but...
     
  12. matt wade

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    No...business meetings are for the business of the church. If a prospective member has a question, they should approach someone at another time and ask their question.
     
  13. sag38

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    Personally, I want non-members to sit through a business meeting or two before joining. I want them to see that the business of the church is conducted in a Christ-like manner, that all business is handled correctly and above board, and that the church is run openly and effeciently.
     
  14. exscentric

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    Churches I've been in usually invite everyone to stay for the meeting if they are interested. It is a great way to allow new folks find out what is going on and the true way the church gets along :thumbs:
     
  15. sag38

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    I have no problem with a non-member asking a question. Sometimes they ask better questions than church members.
     
  16. SaggyWoman

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    As a non member visiting a church I am considering, I would go to a business meeting to see how people act. If they act a fool, things need changing.
     
  17. ktn4eg

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    After I was released from active duty in the USAF, I visited a Baptist church in a nearby town on a Wednesday evening.

    I came with the idea of observing what their mid-week service was like. Little did I know that they'd called a business meeting on whether or not the pastor should be ousted.

    Turns out that they voted to retain him.

    So what'd I do?

    I joined that church and stayed with them until I moved out of state!
     
  18. TomVols

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    There are circumstances where visitors would not be allowed to be at a members' meeting, namely, where church discipline was being discussed. I've never told visitors to leave, but when we announce we're having a members' meeting, that says it all.

    Keep in mind the incorporation status of your churches and the laws regarding such in your state. This plays in a bit.
     
  19. abcgrad94

    abcgrad94
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    Thanks for all the input. Helps me to understand the other viewpoints.
     
  20. SaggyWoman

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    But then again, the last few churches I have been a part of have not had regular nor lengthy meetings.
     

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