Question for Pastors for Elder Form of Government

Discussion in 'General Baptist Discussions' started by saturneptune, Mar 13, 2012.

  1. saturneptune

    saturneptune
    Expand Collapse
    Banned

    Joined:
    Jan 16, 2006
    Messages:
    13,977
    Likes Received:
    0
    This would be very interesting to know from the perspective of those who are pastors. I have been a member of two churches in my life, one elder rule and one congregational rule. From my perspective, someone who has learned all they know about Scripture from church, Sunday School, and Bible studies, I have no desire to serve in a church with an elder form of government. This is based on experience, and not an interpretation of Scripture. I find elder rule has a way of turning into elder worship. Also, those elected to the office of elder seem to be elected by social standing rather than spiritual maturity. Finally, it is my experience that elders,that aside from being arrogant, elders are no more knowledgeable than a church member who is diligent about his or her studies. I want to serve in a congregational church with deacons who act as servants.

    As a pastor, would you rather serve in a church with an elder form of government or congregational? From your experience, is my description above the exception rather than the rule?
     
  2. DaChaser1

    DaChaser1
    Expand Collapse
    New Member

    Joined:
    Oct 14, 2011
    Messages:
    2,324
    Likes Received:
    0
    Please define what you mean by elder leading, as my church has pastor/elders in spiritually leadership, but also have the congregagtion vote for the Budget, who will be elected elders etc!
     
  3. saturneptune

    saturneptune
    Expand Collapse
    Banned

    Joined:
    Jan 16, 2006
    Messages:
    13,977
    Likes Received:
    0
    I guess that would be up to each local church, but for this question, elders would be elected by the congregation, not just for spiritual leadership, but deciding things like the budget, major purchases, more of a governing board. Usually, there are also deacons for the spiritual needs and to serve the congregation. In other words, a board of elders would attend to matters that would normally be taken care of at a business meeting in a congregational form of government. The pastor is generally the senior elder or chairman. Sometimes a board of elders is called a session. In some churches, membership requests go through them. Elders are generally adult men.
     
  4. DaChaser1

    DaChaser1
    Expand Collapse
    New Member

    Joined:
    Oct 14, 2011
    Messages:
    2,324
    Likes Received:
    0
    We have elders that meet Monthly to discuss/handle things, but the budget itself, as well as building additions etc are taken by elders to membership for a vote!
     
  5. gb93433

    gb93433
    Expand Collapse
    Active Member

    Joined:
    Jun 26, 2003
    Messages:
    15,496
    Likes Received:
    6
    In the Bible you have basically three forms of church government. None of them work with selfish immature men. All of them will work with selfless godly men. The key is mature godly men who have already proven themselves. I have always said that men who are not making disciples are disqualified. If they are making disciples that does not automatically make them qualified.
     
  6. Jerome

    Jerome
    Expand Collapse
    Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Aug 21, 2006
    Messages:
    5,631
    Likes Received:
    45
    Huh?

    Name and explain.
     
  7. glfredrick

    glfredrick
    Expand Collapse
    New Member

    Joined:
    Aug 5, 2010
    Messages:
    4,996
    Likes Received:
    0
    I GREATLY PREFER elder-led (not "ruled") churches. Especially, when in the biblical model they involve the congregation instead of merely dictating to them. That IS the primary biblical model as far as I can ascertain. The Episcopal (bishop, pope, etc., who have absolute authority over the congregation) form can be seen, but not anywhere near its current design. There is NO pope in Scripture, and the bishops are merly the most elder elder of any given city congregation. There is also no purely congregational church in Scripture, where all things are voted on in a democratic process. Just not there.

    There are elders who lead, because they are men worthy of that role, and congregations who are led, but who work hand-in-hand WITH the elders in their role.

    I've started a church with that model and it is surprisingly without confilct. I just left a congregation with that model and it too is surprisingly without conflict. I just took a pastorate in a VERY democratic congregationally-led church that also has a deacon board who believe that they have something to do with "ruling" the church, but who are mostly inneffectual because they are lazy and un-trained. The church is SO not effective because they have more committees voted in by the people than they have PEOPLE! Can't wait to see the transformation over the next few years.
     
  8. gb93433

    gb93433
    Expand Collapse
    Active Member

    Joined:
    Jun 26, 2003
    Messages:
    15,496
    Likes Received:
    6

    Plurality of elders

    Acts 15:6, "The apostles and the elders came together to look into this matter."

    Single elder

    Titus 1:5, "For this reason I left you in Crete, that you would set in order what remains and appoint elders in every city as I directed you,"

    A mixture

    Acts 15:22, " Then it seemed good to the apostles and the elders, with the whole church, to choose men from among them to send to Antioch with Paul and Barnabas--Judas called Barsabbas, and Silas, leading men among the brethren"

    The point is that as a church changes things need to change. Large churches cannot function if every little nickel dime things is brought before the church.

    A church that starts is planted by a single elder and he makes every decision until there is enough maturity for other to lead.

    Do what works with men who are godly and can lead.
     
  9. gb93433

    gb93433
    Expand Collapse
    Active Member

    Joined:
    Jun 26, 2003
    Messages:
    15,496
    Likes Received:
    6
    I have seen all kinds of churches do well and fail who have the same and a diversity of governments. The one thing that must characterize all of them is godliness.

    I have seen elder led churches be miserable because they failed to recognize their diversity in passions and I have seen congregational churches fail because ungodly people stirring up trouble and others will not stand against them.
     
  10. glfredrick

    glfredrick
    Expand Collapse
    New Member

    Joined:
    Aug 5, 2010
    Messages:
    4,996
    Likes Received:
    0
    Elders merely for the sake of having elders is a bad idea. But so too is having a pope and bishops, or having a purely democratic "every person one vote" sort of polity.

    Church ought to be a tad more purposeful than that...
     
  11. gb93433

    gb93433
    Expand Collapse
    Active Member

    Joined:
    Jun 26, 2003
    Messages:
    15,496
    Likes Received:
    6
    I agree. So how would you distinguish between those who are living for Jesus and those who are playing the game, and both are members?
     
  12. glfredrick

    glfredrick
    Expand Collapse
    New Member

    Joined:
    Aug 5, 2010
    Messages:
    4,996
    Likes Received:
    0
    Membership in a local church means little, really. That is where that doctrine leaves one out in the dark -- when that local membership means something other than the fact that a member of Christ's church universal has united with a local group of believers. It does not mean that one is regenerate, for one can easily gain entrance to the LOCAL church whether regenerate or not -- which is the big problem in many of our congregations. Worse is that Jesus instructed us to not pull the tares from the wheat, but rather that that was His work. Membership in Christ's universal church, on the other hand, is determined by God who knows the true state of any individual, and so ALL of her members are in fact members and regenerate.

    At the local level, all we can do, ultimately, is apply the tests of an elder from Scripture, then examine fruits in keeping with the biblical picture.

    We will be wrong about half the time, I expect, based on the parables of Jesus that almost always seemed to indicate such.

    What I do know is that when a man (elder) is "squeezed" what comes out of him will indicate what is within him before the squeezing takes place. If what comes out is Christ, that is what is within. If what comes out is strife, anger, resentment, separation, or some other action or attitude not in keeping with the attitude that was the Lord's, then that person is likely not a regenerate member and also, by default, not an elder. So, get to squeezing... :thumbsup:
     
  13. gb93433

    gb93433
    Expand Collapse
    Active Member

    Joined:
    Jun 26, 2003
    Messages:
    15,496
    Likes Received:
    6
    I agree with everything you wrote. In recent years I have had discussions with men about some of the sickness I have seen in churches who have continued to stay sick. There usually seems to be a few who create trouble for the pastor and some others. The problem is that when a church starts getting past its sickness and onto health there are those who do not like the change. Some do not like the change because they were part of the problem and had control. However the healthy members have equal vote with the troublemakers. Until the healthy people are members they have no vote. Whenever God is working, so is Satan. Satan does not need to show up at a dead pulpit. I was in a church that well onto health and after it had gone from 90 to 220 in about 15 months you would have thought that the leaders would have welcomed that. The problem is that I began to disciple people and help them to develop the passions for ministry they had. Then all of a sudden Mr. Gossip arrived and created trouble just like his dad had earlier. His dad was soienced after he created enough trouble for one too many. Unknown to me was a man who carried a concealed weapon to church. One day the dad started in on a church member as he had a few times. The church member pointed to his gun and that was the end of the trouble by the dad. The son started creating me trouble and it turned into a huge scene on day. He started recruiting people. He recruited three others. Those same three are dead today. One by suicide and the other two by "natural causes." The were about 10 years younger than me. Today the church is continuing its decline. The previous two pastors told me that they left because they felt they had done everything they could. In the previous ten years the church had grown five people. The trouble has continued to perpetuate itself among the leaders. Their current pastor is waiting until retirement and hardly says anything.
     
  14. glfredrick

    glfredrick
    Expand Collapse
    New Member

    Joined:
    Aug 5, 2010
    Messages:
    4,996
    Likes Received:
    0
    I have seen the same things and worse. Fist fights at business meetings, cops called on each other, a church literally sold to divide the money between the two factions, etc.

    The cure is true gospel community, and the POWER of Jesus Christ no matter what these boisterous individuals have said or done in the local church. I call them out privately at first, then with a brother next, then before the church publically as a final step (Matt 18). They either change (not likely) or threaten -- when they are seen for what they are by all -- or leave, after which the greatest fears of the church, that they will take their money away, never really materialize, for their money has long since been gone anyway.
     
  15. saturneptune

    saturneptune
    Expand Collapse
    Banned

    Joined:
    Jan 16, 2006
    Messages:
    13,977
    Likes Received:
    0
    It seems that the situations described could happen in congregation or elder form of government. I have never seen the extreme of fist fights and guns, but that has no place in any church regardless of the circumstances. I have always felt when there is some type of question that causes division in the church, that the Lord's desire in that situation should be impressed on a good, healthy majority of church members or elders, whichever is the case. If you as a member or elder are in the minority, it is fine to express your view until the decision, then at that point, it is time to join in accomplishing the will of the Lord on the given question, or go somewhere else. Staying in the church and continuing the fight should never be an option.

    Another aspect to this is the amount of the majority. For example, would you all as pastors take a calling to a church that voted 51%? Is the Lord in a vote that produces a 52% majority on any question? It seems to me that number should be much higher to 100%. When close votes are produced like that, maybe it should be left alone for awhile. Answer to prayer is not just yes and no, but wait.
     
  16. gb93433

    gb93433
    Expand Collapse
    Active Member

    Joined:
    Jun 26, 2003
    Messages:
    15,496
    Likes Received:
    6
    That works well if the leaders stand with you in the process. I had an experience that as we went through the process with an individual it would have eventually exposed some other leaders and I was left standing alone. Then they rallied against me.

    I have a friend who was a missionary in Africa and he told me the way they dealt with problems is that each church had a pastor and for a group of pastors there were men who were noted as their pastor. If a church had problems the pastors of the pastors would come for up to three days and deal with the issues. He said it worked very well. The pastor and church were not left alone. It did not matter if it was a congregational or pastor issue. I have met so many pastors and people in a congregation who are not equipped to deal with those kind of issues. In every case that I have dealt with a sick church there is a time when I must stay focused on what is biblical and right. Sometimes people do not like wha I say but the intent is church health not how people feel and keep the church sick. In almost every case it has been issues among the leadership. They are too focused on the mechanics of doing church and the real reason they should exist of reaching people.
     
  17. glfredrick

    glfredrick
    Expand Collapse
    New Member

    Joined:
    Aug 5, 2010
    Messages:
    4,996
    Likes Received:
    0
    Yup... Doesn't always work. But doesn't mean that we don't try.
     
  18. glfredrick

    glfredrick
    Expand Collapse
    New Member

    Joined:
    Aug 5, 2010
    Messages:
    4,996
    Likes Received:
    0
    If the vote is almost 100% I would realize that someone was lying. Never seen the church where there was that much unity.

    If the vote was that close to a split, I would probably hold off, unless the CALLING OF THE LORD was sure. He can lead us to a congregation that no one else might be able to handle and that is His sovereign business. In those cases, the will of the congregation means almost nothing, for the Lord is arranging a change.

    I've found that a sure and true "call" is the only guide to success, and even then it WILL be hard fought for sure. The enemy doesn't play around with pastors or congregations that get busy doing the work of the Lord. He is ALL BUSINESS and WILL STRIKE. Count on it.

    In my current church, there are several obvious things that lead me to believe that God moved me here. First, I visited the church about 2 years ago on what seemed a whim of mine, just to spend some time with a DOM friend. First and only time I was ever even in that community and once I left I never gave it another thought. Wasn't on my radar, wasn't looking there. Didn't care, really. I did meet with my DOM friend and we had intense prayer in tears for what God was doing in the region (and is still doing!). THAT was why I was there.

    Next, I had been praying that God would FINALLY release me from Louisville to follow the original call that brought us there in the first place. We had that "heavenly discontent" even though everything was going swimmingly at church and at work. Out of the blue, I was removed from my position as manager. I had 6 weeks to find a new job with a company transfer or I would join the ranks of the unemployed. That was SERIOUSLY disheartening and I was at first quite upset. But, I started to think about the times this had happened before, and in EVERY instance, God used such an occaison to further us in His will, so I got happy and started seeking. I thought that we were going to head to Michigan, but that closed up around me. Only position open was Wisconsin, and on the day I told my wife that we would be going back "home" to our home state, she and I both wept. We felt that God was now moving and indeed releasing us from Kentucky. But to where and to do what? I planned on a church start and identified a city (still have plans for that!). God decided otherwise.

    I got a call from my DOM friend who asked if I could "supply preach" at one of his churches. Didn't even realize it was the same church I had been 2 years earlier until I arrived and recognized the place. I preached a regular supply-type sermon, nothing that gave any indication that I might be interested in becoming the pastor of that congregation, becasue, really, I had no interest at all. But God moved in the heart of the people and they abandoned their 2 year search and potential successful call to a new pastor (they were going to act later the day after I preached!) and asked if they could call me instead. The DOM said "sure," then gave me a call on the phone. He said, "I don't know what you or God did, but I have never in all my 30+ years of serving the church seen a congregation turn as rapidly, as surely, and as positively to a candidate as they did to you after last Sunday. Would you consider a view of a call to pastor?

    I really had to consider that, and I started the investigation of the church (not much to investigate) and the community of Sheboygan. We started to look at potential housing and could really find nothing that we cared for, except one place that was about 2/3 between Milwaukee and Sheboygan (I work my secular job in Milwaukee where I transferred with my company.). Problem was, it was already rented when I called the Craig's List add.

    Kept looking, and preached at the church in view of a call on faith that God would work out something. Church fell in love with us, and aksed if we would REALLY come to lead them. They could not believe it -- a seminary grad with credentials, who had worked with some of the top SBC people in huge national projects, would actually come to lead that little flock. We knew they were/are in trouble financially, but didn't care. We extract nothing from the church except a stipend that helps pay our housing.

    Oh, the lady that was renting the house we wanted called 2 weeks later and said, "I don't know what happened, but the people who were ready to move in Jan 1 called and said they would not and never called back. House is available if you like it." Weird thing was that she could find NO ONE ELSE'S PHONE NUMBER even though multiple people had called to rent the place.

    We saw God moving us to Sheboygan and said yes to the call of the church and we are LOVING IT. God has brought SUCH an openness. He has already called out one young man who surrendered into ministry under my leadership. I presented he and his fiance to the church last Sunday. We also committed to start a new congregation THIS YEAR. Lots more to come, but I am CALLED BY GOD to a congregation that I DID NOT SEEK and moved by God to a place that suits us SO WELL.

    Now the next thing is the attack of the enemy... Coming soon, for sure. Starting with the landlord, who called us and said she had to re-list the house, even after committing to removing it from the market for at least a year. Don't know what will come of it, but GOD has a plan. :thumbs:
     
  19. DaChaser1

    DaChaser1
    Expand Collapse
    New Member

    Joined:
    Oct 14, 2011
    Messages:
    2,324
    Likes Received:
    0
    Our church practices the membership voting on Budgets, church building mandates etc, but the Elders and pastors regulate the day to day spiritual operations of the church, while deacons handle the more "maintenance' side of the facility!
     
  20. saturneptune

    saturneptune
    Expand Collapse
    Banned

    Joined:
    Jan 16, 2006
    Messages:
    13,977
    Likes Received:
    0
    That is a great testimony. Even an unaware person like me can see the Lord's hand in that series of events. Thanks for sharing.
     

Share This Page

Loading...