When deacons cross the line?

Discussion in 'General Baptist Discussions' started by parsonbob, Jul 13, 2006.

  1. parsonbob

    parsonbob
    Expand Collapse
    New Member

    Joined:
    Jul 11, 2006
    Messages:
    7
    Likes Received:
    0
    I recently was jumped by my deacons and told that I preach too long and visit to long. I was told that the church would like to have a say in who we get for revivals. I basically was chewed out by the deacons. I was told that i do not include them in my decision making. I have been very upset since that meeting. Should I preach on the deacons responsibility.The deacons are not to tell the preacher what to do. I think that is God's job. One of the deacons wives basically told me that she doesn't like something that is going on in the church and therefore because she has told the preacher and deacons then it should be changed. I however do not agree with her.:Fish:
     
  2. Hope of Glory

    Hope of Glory
    Expand Collapse
    Banned

    Joined:
    Nov 29, 2005
    Messages:
    4,807
    Likes Received:
    0
    Sounds to me as if they're acting more like elders than deacons.
     
  3. webdog

    webdog
    Expand Collapse
    Active Member

    Joined:
    Mar 31, 2005
    Messages:
    24,691
    Likes Received:
    0
    Welcome to the BB:thumbs:

    I would say the problem is the church government. Decisions should be made by the elders (plural), not a single elder (pastor). Deacons are to be under the authority of the elders, therefore they do not "have a say" in matters of the church unless the elders agree they do.

    The deacons wives need to be silent and quit usurping the authority of not only their husbands, but the church.:thumbs: :thumbs:
     
  4. LeBuick

    LeBuick
    Expand Collapse
    New Member

    Joined:
    Jun 8, 2006
    Messages:
    11,537
    Likes Received:
    0
    Half way through reading this I thought I wrote it. Then I realized it wasn't me, but boy can I relate to what you're saying.

    I'm hoping one of the tenured pastors will come along with any advice in this area.
     
  5. PastorSBC1303

    PastorSBC1303
    Expand Collapse
    Banned

    Joined:
    Aug 21, 2003
    Messages:
    15,125
    Likes Received:
    0
    How long have you been at the church?

    How long have you been in ministry?

    Is there any truth in what they say, anything that you can glean that will make you a better pastor/preacher?

    I would suggest against preaching on deacon responsiblities right away. I would advise on working through the problems together with your deacons. If you come out guns ablazing from the pulpit you are going to make things worse for you instead of better. You can preach on the responsiblities down the line as you grow together with them.
     
  6. Hope of Glory

    Hope of Glory
    Expand Collapse
    Banned

    Joined:
    Nov 29, 2005
    Messages:
    4,807
    Likes Received:
    0
    How long do you preach, and how do you "visit" too long?
     
  7. Bartimaeus

    Bartimaeus
    Expand Collapse
    New Member

    Joined:
    Feb 12, 2002
    Messages:
    909
    Likes Received:
    0
    Re: " Jumppy" Deacons

    Bro Bob,
    I am VERY thankful the Lord answered this for you already. He gave you the answer in Acts chapter 15. James was the Pastor of the Church at Jerusalem and he listened to all the debate, he took in all the advise and then he said, "wherefor my sentence is..............". He made the final decision. He had the final sayso. He was the last Hoorah. He also made the decision on how his first descision would be carried out. The only thing the "elders" decided was who was to carry the letter. I really like what GOD put in his Word. They were all in one place in one accord and James made the final decisions. There are many who would like to take this info and hide it somewhere else but it is there, clear for all to see. They will make thier cases for elder rule and lifetime deaconship and just like in your situation, the deacons want to have the last sayso at church because they can't have it at home. Don't give up and don't give in, stand strong on the Word brother and God will bless you for it.
    Thanks Bart
     
  8. Joseph M. Smith

    Joseph M. Smith
    Expand Collapse
    New Member

    Joined:
    Jan 27, 2006
    Messages:
    1,041
    Likes Received:
    0
    I'm not at this time going to get into the elder-rule vs pastoral authority vs whatever debate. I teach Baptist Polity at a seminary and so am certainly familiar with its permutations. However, whatever structure a pastor is working with, it remains true that he needs to have the confidence of his leadership and needs to read the source of their responses. It appears to me that the breach between you and the deacons -- or would that be, SOME deacons, maybe not even an "official" action on their part? -- is very wide. How would you characterize the nature of the dialogue between you and the group in recent months? Is there an "enemy in the camp" who is stirring up the others (sadly, often people will follow a negative person rather than discipline him)? Is there an opportunity to discuss fully with them the shared understanding of the mission of your church and their role in it?

    I agree with others who have counseled you not to preach on the deacons' role. It is true that doing so will only harden the opposition, since, as Harvey Cox once said, the sermon is the last form of public discourse at which it is still socially forbidden to talk back! So the disagreement goes underground and builds until it erupts in irrational ways. Can you sit down with the entire group and focus again on the mission of the church ... mentioning preaching style and visiting strategy tangentially, but as a part of your plan to address that mission?

    By the way, usually church members who complain about visitation say that the pastor does not visit enough ... never before heard about them complaining that he visits too much!

    I am -- or rather have been, as I am now quasi-retired -- one of the "tenured pastors" you asked to respond.
     
  9. saturneptune

    saturneptune
    Expand Collapse
    Banned

    Joined:
    Jan 16, 2006
    Messages:
    13,977
    Likes Received:
    0
    I have to agree with SBC pastor that deacons and a pastor should grow together and have a good working relationship for church unity and the leadership of the Lord.

    However, it is also true that deacons are not decision makers in the church. They are there to support the pastor and serve the congregation. Absent elders, the congregation decides.

    Statements like "deacons run the church" or "deacons are going to run off the pastor" or "thats the way it has always been" or "thats the way it was in the 50s" is not Biblical and has no place in church government.

    As far as the deacons wife, a roll of duct tape would work.
     
  10. blackbird

    blackbird
    Expand Collapse
    Administrator
    Administrator

    Joined:
    Feb 21, 2002
    Messages:
    11,898
    Likes Received:
    2
    I'm with Bro. Smith on this one!! Though it behooves me that "some"---and bare down on that word---"some"----deacons believe it necessary to "police" the preacher---and "some"----bare down again---"some" believe they act as the congregation's "representative" and are there to be the congregation's "sounding board"----and believe me---some in the congregation WILL "sound off"----IF you know what I mean!!! Just as immature as that is----its just as much a sign of immaturity for the congregation to "think" that the deacon's are "in charge" and that when some "trouble" or "problem" comes up---they "zoom off" to the deacon to fix the problem!

    If a ship has a hole in the hull---the problem gets reported to the ship's Captain(the Pastor)----not to the Galley cook!!!!

    You start to hear things like

    Deacon: "Well---I've been hearing folks talk and they're saying the sermon is too long and the subject's too deep!! And they just want to keep it simple!!"

    Pastor: "Well---who's complaining?? Give me some names!!"

    Deacon: "IIIIIIIIIII'm not gonna mention any names---but thats what they're sayin', Preacher!!!"

    Such immaturity on the part of the unnamed congragant and the "sound post" deacon----ain't it???!!!

    Work with the men in deacon's meeting---don't use the pulpit to "bully"---but you can do this----when you know that deacon nomination is coming around----you can preach a series maybe---on church servanthood---a nice expositional sermon from Paul's letter to Timothy or something along those lines.
     
    #10 blackbird, Jul 14, 2006
    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 14, 2006
  11. Brother Bob

    Brother Bob
    Expand Collapse
    Banned

    Joined:
    May 13, 2005
    Messages:
    12,723
    Likes Received:
    0
    If the deacons are not "behind" you but against you I say you have more of a problem than visiting too long or preaching too long. To preach a sermon against them would only throw fuel on the fire. Seems to always be a struggle for power in the church. My troubles I have are mostly not the worldy people or congregation but those sitting around me. Thats just the way it is and I presume always will be. People seem to get bored when nothing is going on so they "start" something. Maybe it will pass. Time has a way of healing all wounds. Bless,
     
  12. Pipedude

    Pipedude
    Expand Collapse
    Active Member

    Joined:
    Apr 10, 2005
    Messages:
    1,070
    Likes Received:
    0
    Been there, done that, got that pink slip.

    I'll just play deacon's advocate here for a minute...

    Every organization needs ways to communicate, to give and get feedback. Your deacons have acted as a "pastor-parish relations committee," whose job it is to provide an orderly way to give and get feedback. People aren't going to gripe freely to your face, especially not down here in the South.

    Objecting to the length of your sermons is not a play for power, either from the crowd or from the deacons. They're just trying to let you know that you aren't getting the job done. A super communicator can preach forever and leave 'em wanting more. You can't. Face it: you've messed up. It isn't the first time, it won't be the last, but you CAN fix it.

    Try to remember a few things on the human level: (1) They've poured decades and big money into this operation, but you just got here; (2) They'll be picking up the shrapnel long after your U-Haul has disappeared beyond "Resume Speed"; (3) It is ther responsibility to vote for your dismissal or continuance, and that's a heavy responsibility for a church member to bear and live with for the rest of his life.

    Tell them that you appreciate the info and you intend to make things right immediately. It will have the same effect as a revival meeting, but the benefits will linger longer.
     
  13. webdog

    webdog
    Expand Collapse
    Active Member

    Joined:
    Mar 31, 2005
    Messages:
    24,691
    Likes Received:
    0
    Who are they, though, to tell him he's "not getting the job done" and he preaches too long? Do they have somewhere else they need to be? It sounds like this is a minority of carnal members who do not respect the act of worshipping the Lord on His day, and want to get out ASAP. We don't know how long he preached, nor how long "they" thought was too long. Forty minutes? Half hour? Twenty minutes?
     
  14. Friend of God

    Friend of God
    Expand Collapse
    Active Member

    Joined:
    Mar 18, 2005
    Messages:
    2,946
    Likes Received:
    0
    Better then not preaching long enough to share the good news of Jesus Christ and His Resurrection and Grace., or not visiting at all.

    Sounds like you might have a shortage of planks in your Church. Think the Deacons could find them if they looked hard enough?:smilewinkgrin: Seems like they can see specks pretty well.

    Welcome to BB!

    Rob
     
  15. Pipedude

    Pipedude
    Expand Collapse
    Active Member

    Joined:
    Apr 10, 2005
    Messages:
    1,070
    Likes Received:
    0
    I recently re-read the journal entries covering the worst year of my life. (Even re-reading them was a mistake.) I could have avoided that experience by following the advice I would give twenty years later.

    "God's man" doesn't get a to-do list from Heaven during morning devotions. He makes decisions mostly with his human faculties. The church people's input should be respected. Their elected leaders should be a part of the decision-making process, even if the final decision is the pastor's. If they are unhappy with the length of the sermon, it's the wrong length. (Unless, of course, God tells the preacher to make it that length, in which case he really needs to move to a Charismatic congregation.)

    We're talking about a pastor who stays too long during a visit. This is a common mistake with those young in the ministry and it is not a question of God's leadership vs. man's. It comes from not correctly perceiving the situation, and I'd expect similar problems in other areas of his ministry.

    All old pastors I've known tell hilarious stories of mistakes they made when they were too dumb to know any better. It's nearly universal, and no great shame unless one bull-headedly sticks to his guns and keeps on doing it his way until the situation becomes hopelessly fubarred.

    So, there's a demon's wife who thinks that, when she voices a disapproval, everybody's supposed to snap to attention. What else is new? That's a distinct problem, and I don't get the impression that it was a part of the meeting under discussion. The other matters, though, sound like they could be addressed victoriously by humble reform.

    When I was sixteen I pumped gas after school and on weekends (remember those kinds of gas stations) and we often dealt with overheated cars. We'd hose them off until they were cool, remove the radiator cap, and fill them with water. And older guy was under the hood with me once and I reached for the radiator cap "too soon" and he shouted "Don't open that!." But I went ahead and poppoed the cap off and, surprise, there was no eruption.

    I smiled confidently at him and he sneered, "Yeah, you let one of those go off in your hand one day and you'll smile."

    Sure enough, a week later I cooled one off, or so I thought, I popped that cap and a geyser of superheated water and steam engulfed my hand and wrist. Luckily, I had the water hose in my other hand and instantly began flooding the burned hand with water, so no serious damage was done.

    Know what? I never made that mistake again. Never once.

    What changed?

    My schooling didn't do it. Praying didn't help me. My IQ remained the same. So how did I become so flawless in cooling off radiators?

    Quite simple: I had one to blow up once and it got my attention.

    I don't claim to know who's who on this thread, but I'm going to assert strongly (until I'm proven differently) that these things look a lot different to a pastor who's been through it and watched it explode in his face.
     
  16. preachinjesus

    preachinjesus
    Expand Collapse
    Well-Known Member
    Supporter

    Joined:
    Feb 9, 2004
    Messages:
    7,406
    Likes Received:
    99
    When deacons cross the line?

    Sounds like a video narrated by the guy who does the police chase shows.

    I've been in two churches now that exercise congregational polity, but not the kind where the deacons control anything. Our deacons are used as servants to the community first and helpers around the church. The senior pastor in both places uses a plurality of elders which is the staff.

    This is a fairly tenuous issue in the SBC right now (what with the whole Germantown Baptist Church matter still around) but if deacons are to lead they must be servants first.

    Unfortunately you're probably in a situation where you can't change the way the deacons are involved for some time. Perhaps you should start every deacon meeting with ten minutes of prayer as a group. If you're preaching too long, see if you can whittle it down (of course if you're only preaching for 25 minutes or so than they're just being silly.) Don't worry about the visits...I would increase them, particularly to the real leaders in the church the non-deacons.

    Does your deacon committee have a rotation schedule where a group rotates off for a few years? There might be hope if you do.

    Nevertheless there is still hope. Check out some texts on the role of deacons from a biblical and baptist perspective for use with the group.

    Our prayers are with you.
     
  17. gb93433

    gb93433
    Expand Collapse
    Active Member

    Joined:
    Jun 26, 2003
    Messages:
    15,496
    Likes Received:
    6
    For one you know who the gossip is in your church simply because a deacon's wife told you . . . . . .

    A good sermon on gossip does wonders on the local gossips in church. It will get their attention for sure.
     
  18. Pastor Larry

    Pastor Larry
    Expand Collapse
    <b>Moderator</b>
    Moderator

    Joined:
    May 4, 2001
    Messages:
    21,763
    Likes Received:
    0
    At your next deacon's meeting assemble all the passage that talk about pastoral responsibilities and cover them in depth.

    Then assemble all the passages that talk about deacons' responsibilities and cover them in depth.

    The kind of things the deacon's heree are complaining about have no merit in their responsibilities. It may be wise to listen to them, but not mandated in this case. The Bible gives them serving responsibilities, not managing responsibilities.

    It may be that you preach too long and visit too long. You can fix that. But you need to start now fixing the structure that allowed the deacons to usurp things outside their responsibility and that allowed their wives to gossip about things and try to control it.

    I would not preach on it right now. It will look like you are solving a problem publicly and using the bully pulpit. It would be better to handle it between you and your deacons, starting with Scritpure. Don't make it a personality contest or power struggle. Make it a Bible issue.
     
  19. Hope of Glory

    Hope of Glory
    Expand Collapse
    Banned

    Joined:
    Nov 29, 2005
    Messages:
    4,807
    Likes Received:
    0
    I drive a school bus part time. Naming names can get the person to quit talking completely. Sometimes anonymity is good.

    Also, the adult human attention span is 20-25 minutes. If you're preaching for an hour, you've lost most of 'em.
     
  20. webdog

    webdog
    Expand Collapse
    Active Member

    Joined:
    Mar 31, 2005
    Messages:
    24,691
    Likes Received:
    0
    I tell my wife this all the time... :laugh:
     

Share This Page

Loading...