Voting privileges in church

Discussion in '2003 Archive' started by Gina B, Jul 28, 2003.

  1. Gina B

    Gina B
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    I've been in two ifb churches in the past where all members were able to vote at meetings, on everything from the pastor's salary to booting a missionary off the support list.
    This bothers me. A lot.
    At one time a missionary was up for being booted because he was showing his "calvinistic tendencies". If you asked the church members to define the word calvinist I would bet only two of them wouldn't have looked at you as if you were insane, but everyone was allowed to vote on the issue and not only that, they DID!
    Shouldn't there be SOME kind of limitations on this? At the least shouldn't there be some type of demonstration that shows the person has a clue when it comes to church matters and dealing with them?
    I mean, COME ON! I'm sitting next to the 40 yr. old lady who brings colored pencils and paper for HERSELF during the sermons and colors the whole time, and her vote counts? WHY? This wasn't about the color of the curtains, it was someone's life! A family, being dropped because of a word most people who voted to drop them couldn't even spell! :mad:
    Ok, so that was a few years ago. Call it a delayed reaction but I just now reacted! [​IMG]
    Gina
     
  2. Bugman

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    It's a tough call. Are you going to tell people, no I don't think you know enough about this topic so you can't vote, or no your not a mature enough Christian so you opinion doesn't matter?

    Don't get me wrong, I understand what your saying but it's impossible to police voting in such a way as would be needed. What can be done instead is weeding out the inmature Christians by putting them into discipleship programs to grow them, and teachings about issues such as Calvinism and such in the church on a regualr basis. Putting in a good new members program is a good way of doing this for new members (since they would have to go through it), and holding Sunday School for adults willing to learn more.

    You will always have people who vote that for all intensive purposes shouldn't, but thats a demoracy.

    Bryan
    SDG
     
  3. Dr. Bob

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    Shame on the leadership of your church that would allow this "sham" balloting to occur. Every member certainly has the right to vote (I would suggest if it deals with $$, then only those old enough to work and contribute should vote - say a minimum age of 16 or 18).

    And the pastor/elders/deacons whoever should detail out the facts - not prejudices or slanted opinions - so that the average john doe or jane roe can vote with confidence.

    Might also consider certain decisions that could be delegated by the congregation to an elder board, etc, to solve taking every little thing to the whole group. We have a $500 limit that can be spent by the deacons without asking permission of anyone. Just do it.
     
  4. Deacon

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    A good church constitution should state specifically what a member has the privalige to vote on and what are the leaderships responsibilities.

    In the church I attend, When a person applys for membership they are given our Church covenant, our confession of faith and our constitution. They are expected to read and understand it. It outlines the responsibilities of members and defines the terms of what is expected. Membership classes are manditory.

    Most people don't read the literature though; it's language has become outdated over the past 30 years so it is a dry read.

    Some poeople get lasy in their spiritual walk. It's the responsibility of everyone in the church to insure the church family is health.

    A little attention to membership spiritual health now will pay off when troubles brew later.

    Rob
     
  5. AVL1984

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    Pastors who allow this kind of "voting" should be hung by their thumbs until they scream uncle! ;)

    I've been in many IFB churches that do the same thing, especially right here in the Bible Belt of America...and it's almost always a sham and a control thing. :mad:

    We need more fortitude in our churches today concerning issues like this, but I don't see it coming any time soon.

    AJL
     
  6. Bartimaeus

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    That type of voting proceedure is begging for a challenge in court for not following established criteria in the by-laws of the church. If not in the by-laws of the church then State incorporation laws and regulations would apply. Believe me the State would have the final say! (That is why we are not in a "league with Gibeah")

    Thanks ------Bart
     
  7. Johnv

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    I'm all for democracy, but I've found that when it comes to daily issues, we congragtion members tend to vote based on feelings, not based on thought. My church has a board which are nominated by the congregation. The board votes on the day to day issues. The bylaws require congregational approval of certain items, such as land development and purchase (these are done via congregational meetings), but these types of populist voting requirements are rare, perhaps once every 4 or 5 years.

    I like this form of church government so much, that I've asked about it when I've had to change my church membership in the past.
     
  8. superdave

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    our church cannot vote on everything, it is too many small decisions, with a decent sized church and a school as well, there are votes obviously on major financial issues, as well as voting officers and making certain decisions deemed worthy of whole body votes. It really has to be an atmosphere of openness and accountability on the part of the membership to hold the deacons and pastoral leadership accountable, to ask tough questions, and to also follow once a decision has been made with a good attitude. Our pastor will not make a decision without at least a unanimous support of the deacons, and so that allows for much more confidence. I have gotten to know the men on the board, and frankly, if they all agree on a decision, I usually will have no problem with it, and if I have a difference of opinion, I can certainly speak to any of the leadership about it, they actually ask for input many times and give the membership access to much information before decisions are made, most of the time, the vote is a formality, not because it has been ramrodded, but because by the time a decision gets that far, the membership are usually so well educated about the issue, and have had their opportunites for input that it is the will of the body for the most part, plus mostly good attitudes help, even on those who disagree. But that also is the responsibilty of the leadership if there are those in the body who want to self-mutilate
     
  9. Artimaeus

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    Voting qualifications - at least 16 years old and a member in good standing.

    Deacons can spend $200 toward a benevolent goal.

    Trustees can spend $500 for emergency repairs.

    Pastor can spend $25 at his disgression (I know, a WHOLE $25)

    ALL other monies are to be approved at the monthly business meeting beforehand. An account must be given for every penny, even those preapproved expenses. We have a church constitution that spells out how we conduct the affairs of the church. It is clear and unanamously agreed upon therefore, any deviation from it would need to be agreed upon (as an amendment) by 2/3 of the members present (with due notice given). We all know what the church stands for and if enough people think there should be a change then there are proceedures to make that change, as has happened on occasion. This prevents a dictator type pastor, or a small group of disatisfied individuals from bullying their personal agenda through.

    Disinterested people rarely show up for business meeting anyway and so far that has not presented a problem (75 years).
     
  10. go2church

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    I say let them vote on everything. If of course they are members in good standing.
     
  11. Bob Farnaby

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    At the church I'm a member of, we have in practice a guided vote on most things.

    Every member is entitled to vote, the outcome of the church members meetings giving the direction to what the church does.

    For any item of major significance the diaconate (this includes pastor, elders, and deacons)are required to make a recomendation to the church membership on what they think should be the outcome, and it takes a VERY big reason to not accept the recomendation.

    We accept that not all fully understand every issue, and people sometimes vote because of their emotions, or because their friend does, but we also accept that God is soverign, and so don't unduly sweat the decisions.

    Regards
    Bob
     
  12. All about Grace

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    This thread reflects the error of many Western culture churches to equate congregationalism with democracy. Two different concepts but few churches understand or distinguish the two, thus leading to the "let's vote on buying toilet paper" mentality of many.
     
  13. Ulsterman

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    Congregational "business" meetings in Scripture were limited to four purposes (i) The election of officers - Acts 6; (ii) ministry reports - Acts 15; (iii) Discipline of members - (1 Cor 5:1-5) and (iv) Financial accountability and disbursal of funds (1 Cor 16:3), otherwise a New Testament church is called upon to follow the leadership given to it by God.
     
  14. Salty

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    Unchained, it sounds like this church is nothing more than a rubber stamp for the pastor. Some of the other replys were excellent. Let a group (committee) look over the entire issue throughly. Not just the pastor! On the other hand, I think we should hold in high regard what the pasor would like to consider. When the issue came up, did you voice your concerns during the disscussion? Once again, as I said before, the church should not be a rubber stamp!
     
  15. Gina B

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    Women weren't allowed to talk. We could vote, we couldn't talk. LOL
    Gina
     
  16. Dr. Bob

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    That is really sad. Amazed how many churches wrest scripture into demanding women "keep silent" at business meetings.

    Do you also "keep silent" at every point in the service? Never sing? Never testify? Never share a prayer request? Never pray? Never give an announcement?

    Selective application of the Word. :(
     
  17. Gina B

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    This was a FORMER church, not the present one. I couldn't take that old one anymore, the little bit of joy in my salvation I could grasp onto was being smothered to death in the struggle to make sure I looked right, acted as expected, and obeyed on command. :(

    Yes, women were allowed to give testimonies, sing, and ask prayer requests. No, women were not allowed to pray or give an announcement.

    I didn't exactly disagree with *everything* they said in regards to women, it was the attitude with which it was given that served to make women feel trapped and worthless.

    Gina
     

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