Presenting Decisions to the Church

Discussion in '2000-02 Archive' started by Pastor_Bob, Aug 25, 2002.

  1. Pastor_Bob

    Pastor_Bob
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    How do you guys present decisions that you have discussed with your Deacons or other men to the church.

    Do you say, "The leadership of the church has decided..." Or do you say, "I have decided, and the men agree that..."

    A Pastor friend recently cautioned me that is it not wise to allow the men of the church to feel they are on "equal ground" regarding the decisions of the church. If so, they may get offended or upset if you do not seek their input on a decision regardless of the importance. As Pastor, I was advised, I need to be the visible decision maker.

    This didn't sound just right to me although I see his point. What are your thoughts on the subject?
     
  2. DocCas

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    We do it the biblical way. I, other staff men, and the Deacons discuss it, and when a consensus is reached we present it to the congregation and they decide! [​IMG]
     
  3. Ulsterman

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    DocCas is abslutely right. As pastor I discuss all issues with our deacons, and I advise the church of the collective opinion of the leadership - but at the end of the day it is up to the church to decide. I would never say "I have decided . . ." or "The leadership has decided . . ." What the church does is the church's business.
     
  4. Pastor_Bob

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    Gentlemen,

    The church body making the final decision is a given. I'm referring to the decision made to bring it before the church. For example, we needed to buy a bus. The church would have to vote on spending the money to purchase a bus. I met with the men to discuss this and of course, they all agreed we needed a bus.

    How would you present this decision to the church? Just as an obvious need, so let's do it? Or," I feel God is leading us to buy a bus?" Or, " The men and I feel God is leading us to buy a bus?" Or, " The Deacons have discussed the need for a bus and have decided to bring it before the church?" Or something else?
     
  5. rlvaughn

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    I believe that your friend, though perhaps well-meaning, is actually advising deception. If you & the men (or deacons) have discussed it, then present it that way. Anything else would be feigning something that was not true just to make an impression, in my opinion.
     
  6. Pastor Larry

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    I typically say something like "The deacons and I have discussed the possibilities and have agreed to recommend this course of action to the body."
     
  7. Ulsterman

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    As pastor you are required to give leadership, but you must be careful about dictatorship. It would seem you friend tends toward the "pastoral authority" extreme. The pastor is certainly "over" the flock but he is also "among" the flock.(! Thess 5:12) Simply put it to them that you (or someone in leadership) felt the need for such and such, and having discussed the matter have come to such a position, which you are now bringing before the whole church for their collective input and decision. Many years ago, I was in a business meeting as a church member in which the pastor announced (arbitrarily and contrary to the constitution) that a unanimous decision had to be made for a certain proposal to be followed. I was against the motion, but abstained since I was moving house and to a new church in a matter of days. The church voted in favour of the motion with the exception of one man who voted against. The minute he put up his hand he was told by the pastor to put it down. Certainly the pastor in this case was taking the lead, but I am afraid he only led me to lose respect for him. A number of years ago I brought a proposal to our church which was turned down. I honoured that decision, though I believed it was faithless and wrong. However, had I bullied my proposal through I would have been unwise, for the greater part of the church were unprepared for what was being suggested. Later on they saw this, without any cajoling by me, and came around to my way if thinking. A couple of years later I raised the proposal again, this time it was passed 100%. Brother, it is much more important to patiently bring the church along with you being sensitive to their spiritual, emotional or financial worries, than to press ahead in order to make your own stamp and lose their confidence.

    In the case of the bus purchase, I am convinced that if you show that the leadership of the church under your charge have considered every aspect of the purchase, the need, the initial expense, running costs, etc., and have prayed and sought God's will on the matter, that it is unlikely anyone will oppose the motion, and likely that everyone will appreciate your diligence, care and consideration, and esteem your ministry all the more for it. I don't care for bullish pastoring, and I think that is what your friend is hinting at.
     
  8. TomVols

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    Remember, we're Baptists. The deaconate is not to be a deliberating body. The elders decide and present an option to the church for the church to decide. We are to be congregationally goverened. The church makes these decisions based on leadership from the elder(s).
     
  9. Ulsterman

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    Whilst accepting "the elders decide and present an option to the church for the church to decide" nevertheless, the deacons should be "men of honest report, full of the Holy Ghost and wisdom," whose opinions are valued. If, "in multitude of counsellors there is safety," what possible harm could come from asking the advice of these godly men? This is especially so where they may be primarily responsible to employ the congregation's decison.
     
  10. Pastor Larry

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    Without a doubt. I think the purpose of the approach I mentioned is that "too many cooks spoil the soup." There is no way for the congregation at large to discuss every possibility for action. Any member ofhte congregation is welcome to suggest anything they wish and in fact, in business meetings, they can bring it up publicly for the body.

    I use the deacons as voted representatives of the church to give me (the overseer) perspectives. On different issues, I might get the perspective of different members. I use them as a sounding board and refining fire for ideas, not to rule or deliberate. The deacons do not rule but rather make recommendations on certain issues. For instance, when someone joins, the deacons hear their testimony and examine them and then vote to make a recommendation to the church body to accept them. The church body can or can not accept them. The deacons have no authority to do such.

    As far as dictatorial styes, do not let abuses drive us away from the biblical model. Many have abused their leadership. However, that is no reason to avoid the biblical model.
     
  11. TomVols

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    Not sure about where you are, but the problem with a misuse of what you suggest would be to convey a notion of the deaconate that is not Biblical. Unfortunately, tradition has strangled the NT deaconate right out of the typical baptist church. The deacons are not to be a board of directors, as they are in many baptist churches. At bare minimum, the deacons are to be a fellowship of servants under the direction of the elder(s) and the governance of the church.
     
  12. rlvaughn

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    We should be more concerned about presenting something accurately than about what notions we convey. Unless deacons are unscriptural and ungodly, pastors should not be afraid to ask their advice (nor of any other men in the church). If we do ask their advice, we should not pretend that we didn't. As far as unscriptural traditions - the pulpit is a perfect forum to teach the scriptural duties of deacons.
     
  13. TomVols

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    Agreed. Unfortunatly, many did not use the pulpit for this and by their practice taught something unscriptural. :(
     
  14. rlvaughn

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    Tom, I agree that many have not used the pulpit to teach the scriptural place for deacons. But a pastor asking advice of a deacon(s) or any other spiritual person in the church, and admitting they have done so, is not a practice that is teaching something unscriptural. There have to be some preconceived ideas in place to make it seem so.
     
  15. DocCas

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    Amen! I will ask for godly advice from whatever source I can find! And some of my deacons are very godly men. They know they are not an executive board to run the church and I know they are godly and just might think of something I overlooked. [​IMG]
     
  16. Ulsterman

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    Tom,

    I fail to see how asking the opinion of the deacons makes them a "board of directors." There is no doubt the pastor or pastors are to give the lead and the church to make any decision, but I believe it would be remiss of the pastor to neglect the opinion of godly deacons.
     
  17. TomVols

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    Fair point. But do you ask the opinion of the janitor? The SS teachers? The treasurer? If it applies, then go for it. But why ask the deacons? Is it because of Scripture or tradition? Again, not knowing your circumstance is difficult, but here in the states, modern baptist churches have exalted the deaconate to a level the NT does not provide for.

    No one said not to ask the deacons for an opinion. But tradition has dictated something far beyond this in modern baptist life, and since it violates NT teaching it must be rejected.

    Again, no one is saying the deacons may not have an opinion or input. I was just commenting on the idea that deacons are some kind of executive board.

    [ August 28, 2002, 03:03 PM: Message edited by: TomVols ]
     
  18. wingtrap

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    TomVols(or anyone with an opninion),
    Does your church have elders and deacons?Our church is set up with deacons and trustees.The trustees are in the deacon meetings,and vote and participate just like deacons.Our trustees are a training position for deacons,I guess,as the deacons visit more,and take congregational opinion more,and solve problems when they pop up(ideally).

    But biblically,wouldn't elders be a group of pastors,maybe from the same area?Our church isn't that big to have enough men to be elders.Deacons don't fulfill the role of the elders,biblically.

    But our last pastor,to get out of some jams,put the blame or responsibility on the deacons for some staff problems,and the like.Consequently,the deacons have become more controlling,and have forced themselves in issues,that the pastor is the leader over.

    It is a real struggle,sometimes.I am a deacon,but,I feel the pastor is the leader.I just pray for my fellow deacons,to find faith from God that our pastor has the ministry,and not his own personal agenda,at heart.

    Also,unrelated topic,with a church parsonage,does the church charge the preacher rent?Our deacons want to,but I don't think it's right.

    Thanks
     
  19. TomVols

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    Speaking only for my own charge, right now I'm the only elder. There are some on here whose churches have plural elders, which many believe is the NT norm.

    Truthfully, I'm not that familiar with trustees serving in the capacity you mentioned. Typically, trustees handle legal matters relative to property and the like, especially when church incorporation can be an issue.

    As to your question about parsonage rent, doesn't your church understand that the pastor has to pay tax on the parsonage anyway? He has to pay 15.3% of the fair rental value of the property in SECA tax. So he already has to pay something. Charging him rent is something I've never heard of. Why on earth would they want to do something that bizarre?
     
  20. TomVols

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    Incidentally, if you want us to go on talking about the parsonage-rental question, we should start a new topic. BTW, if a church charges rent to anyone for its property, it would violate its non-profit status and the church would then have to probably pay property tax on the place. The church really doesn't want to go there :confused: :eek:
     

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