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Featured Goverment of a Baptist church

Discussion in 'General Baptist Discussions' started by Salty, Nov 12, 2022.

  1. Salty

    Salty 20,000 Posts Club
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    Dr Bob in another thread stated (post # 54
    In the Baptist rush away from papacy, bishops, vicars and denominational hierarchy, we jump to the other extreme - rule of the congregation. And this is a type of polity that is fine as long as that is LED by the elders.

    Brother, maybe we should start a new thread on this topic. I'm fine to debate the pro/con of pure democracy in a church v elder leadership


    A friend of mine (now with the Lord) was a missionary to the Germans -
    (He was also my pastor for a few months)
    This is the question I asked him:

    I have a quick question. A subject was brought up on our discussion board.([post # 5) It was stated that democracy in a Baptist church is basically an American invention..
    I was wondering what your thoughts were. How is the government of Bible churches in Germany handled.
    Is is more "Shepard" led or democratic action?


    and his answer:

    Yes this is typical of American churches. Here in Germany we do not see democracy as biblical. Here it is Shepherd led. We have elders who are responsible for the church and watch over the teaching and also the spiritual end of things. We also have deacons who do more of the service ministry and see to the general needs of our people. In church meetings we bring things up to the church but there is no voting. We can see if they are for or against something. If we see they are not for what the leadership has thought over we take it back and present it to them another time with some new changes or thoughts.

    ccc


    In regards to leadership we have taught through two books which are the basis for good biblical leadership. We have had Alexander Strauch in our conferences and find his thoughts in this area are very biblically based. Here are the books which we train or men with.

    1. Biblical Eldership by Alexander Strauch (An Urgent call to restore biblical church leadership. This also has a work book.

    2. Minister of mercy by Alexander Strauch (The New Testament Deacon. This also has a work book.


    I know of many Bible and Baptist churches in the USA who are changed over to this type of church government. Democracy can be dangerous in that you have spiritual and non spiritual people voting. Often it goes to a majority who are not being led of the Lord.


    So - to be Biblical - should a Baptist church be Democratic or Elder-Led
    and if Elder led - lets say there are seven Elders - should a decision be made on a majority of the 7
    or should the decision be unanimous?
    How long should Elders serve?
    Who should dismiss them (say for moral shortcomings)
    Who should decide new elders

    and finally - should there be an annual full church business meeting?

    Open for discussion!
     
  2. Dr. Bob

    Dr. Bob Administrator
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    Jesus Christ is the head of His church. He is the Chief Shepherd that guides and leads His church.

    The Bible deals in many places with the leadership of the church, the "under-shepherds" (under Christ). These are elders who are servant leaders (not masters) and the people follow.

    Elders were appointed/ordained to this ministry, men who were above any reproach both in the congregation and in the general community. The did not rule the church, but rather led the church UNDER the leadership of the head elder, Jesus Christ.
     
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  3. Dr. Bob

    Dr. Bob Administrator
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    In my last church (I was the teaching elder; we had other elders with ministries of shepherding, oversight/superintending, etc). As my health failed with age, we worked with one of the elders to take over as the teaching elder. On our last Sunday, we ordained him as the new under-shepherd. A church should have a plurality of elders, but obviously one will be in the public eye, the face of the congregation, the "pastor" because he is behind the pulpit preaching and teaching.

    We were not a mob (unorganized) nor a democracy (any member vote) nor a patriarchy (only adult men vote). We had elders that made decisions in total agreement AND always consulting with every family in the church privately on major matters to have unity (tho not always unanimity). We never held a business meeting; we were not a business.

    Some churches must incorporate in a state and have a governing document for legal purposes. Since our church decided NOT to own anything, we were exempt from that. Of course, as an organized church, we were automatically placed as a 501.c3 organization for IRS purposes.

    One thing we did was to have a "budget" for speaker, supplies, rental of a facility, etc. Minimal. Goal was to take $$ every 6 months that was above this budget and give it all the missions. You cannot imagine the joy of having us elders gather and pray and give, then share in detail with the congregation the amounts. People knew 50-70% of every penny given to the church was "given again" to missions!
     
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  4. Salty

    Salty 20,000 Posts Club
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    Dr Bob
    Quick question
    First - how long were you in WYO -(as a church of elder led)
    Did you ever have someone visit - who decided not to join since it was only elder led?
     
  5. Bible Thumpin n Gun Totin

    Bible Thumpin n Gun Totin Well-Known Member
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    I think all Churches should be Elder-led. God placed Elders to be our shepherds and we need to submit to them more often than we "vote" on items.

    Elders in an Elder-led congregation should be appointed to serve for life via a supermajority (2/3) vote of all male Church Members.

    Church Decisions should be made by a supermajority of Elders.

    Elders should be removed by the recommendation of other elders, which should then be voted on by all men in the congregation since these men installed the Elder.

    I would be for an annual business meeting for the congregation to ask questions and debate.

    I think the Men -> Elder -> Christ submission order is clear in Scripture unless you have competing governments on an issue.
     
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  6. Dr. Bob

    Dr. Bob Administrator
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    Began church plant with formal weekly Bible study/prayer in September 2004
    Organized with 3 elders January 9, 2005
    I retired April 11, 2021

    We were a unique style of church and in those 16 years we had many come for brief visits. Other came regularly for 6 months-2 years and then moved on. As far as I know, none had an issue with Elder-led polity. We were Reformed in our soteriology, family oriented (no separate SS classes or nursery) and everyone was THRILLED not to have monthly waste-of-time business meetings and committees,
     
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  7. Dr. Bob

    Dr. Bob Administrator
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    WHAT TO EXPECT
    :
    Doxological (glorifying God) in a lifestyle and ministry that lives in submission and obedience to God’s Word.

    Biblical and reformed in doctrine (London Baptist Confession of 1689), preaching and teaching the whole counsel of God’s Word

    Elder led, father-focused, turning the hearts of fathers to their children and encouraging and strengthening each family within the fellowship

    Promoting and supporting the spiritual growth and maturation of each individual, not just “going” to church but “being” a church

    Dependent upon God’s grace to supply all our temporal and spiritual needs, while living out the command to bear one another’s burdens

    Fostering a godly atmosphere of mutual trust, support, fellowship, loving relationships, and spiritual transformation

    Weekly service combining elements of our historic faith – God-honoring hymns and music, guided sharing, holy communion, men leading in prayer, powerful preaching and teaching, wonderful fellowship
     
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  8. Martin Marprelate

    Martin Marprelate Well-Known Member
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    Our church is elder-led but not elder-ruled.
    It seems evident from 1 Corinthians 5;4-5 that the incestuous man should have his name brought before the general meeting by the elders, but actually expelled by the membership.
    We have appointed a new church worker (assistant pastor). He was chosen by the eldership who interviewed several applicants, but was accepted by the vote of the members who had the power to reject him 9our church constitution specifies 90% acceptance as being necessary.
     
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  9. 37818

    37818 Well-Known Member

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    Matthew 23:8, ". . . for one is your Master, even Christ; and all ye are brethren. . . ."

    Ephesians 4:11-16, ". . . evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers; For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ: Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ: That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive; But speaking the truth in love, may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, even Christ: From whom the whole body fitly joined together and compacted by that which every joint supplieth, according to the effectual working in the measure of every part, maketh increase of the body unto the edifying of itself in love. . . ."
     
  10. AustinC

    AustinC Well-Known Member

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    Those congregational churches tend to become dominant family lead churches filled with cronyism. They are not biblical in their government structure as they look to democracy as their method of discernment where the majority rules.
    Elder rule can also have it's issues if elders are chose via cronyism rather than biblical giftedness.
    In all churches the sin of "wish dreams" can break apart fellowship and community.

    May we abandon corporate government of churches and return to biblical government. I recommend a book titled, "The Deliberate Church" as a must read for biblical church government and community.

    The Deliberate Church: Building Your Ministry on the Gospel https://a.co/d/6O6Zror
     
  11. Marooncat79

    Marooncat79 Well-Known Member
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    Baptists typically hate the concept of Elder les churches only to have Deacons perform the duties of Elders

    eldership is the model and yes supermajority is the way to go not 5-4 splits in voting

    you should have an even number of Elders to force the fact
     
  12. Marooncat79

    Marooncat79 Well-Known Member
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    And something which is very upsetting is having a “music minister” who is a decision maker

    he’s either an elder or not

    hopefully not since I’ve still yet to meet a good one
     
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  13. Salty

    Salty 20,000 Posts Club
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    In our small church - we have no qualified men to be elders or deacons.
     
  14. Marooncat79

    Marooncat79 Well-Known Member
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    Is there no church to ask for help?

    what about your Association?

    Seems like 7-8 people would help you out tremendously
     
  15. Reynolds

    Reynolds Well-Known Member
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    In our big church, we don't have any qualified men willing to be deacons, so we have unqualified ones, new converts or divorced and remarried men . The qualified ones, won't deal with the pastors temper tantrums when he doesn't get his way. We also have grown weary in trying to mature him. It's just easier to watch him cause disaster after disaster and then have to fix them himself. (Usually his wife ends up having to fix them, she is a precious lady) My kids love the youth group, so I can put up with the pastors nonsense. It's actually pretty entertaining at times.
    "Ain't my problem" has become my usual response.
     
  16. Salty

    Salty 20,000 Posts Club
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    To not stray too far off OP -
    I have started a new thread
     
  17. atpollard

    atpollard Well-Known Member

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    Matthew 20:25-28 [NKJV]
    But Jesus called them to Himself and said, "You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and those who are great exercise authority over them. Yet it shall not be so among you; but whoever desires to become great among you, let him be your servant. And whoever desires to be first among you, let him be your slave-- just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many."

    Mark 10:42-45 [NKJV]
    But Jesus called them to Himself and said to them, "You know that those who are considered rulers over the Gentiles lord it over them, and their great ones exercise authority over them. Yet it shall not be so among you; but whoever desires to become great among you shall be your servant. And whoever of you desires to be first shall be slave of all. For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many."

    Personal observation … people being people, there is a propensity of Elder-led / Pastor-led to resemble the “Gentile” example in the quoted verses rather than the “Son of Man” example held up. We are more like the Apostles than is comfortable to admit, sometimes.
     
  18. Deacon

    Deacon Well-Known Member
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    I belong to a church that is an small elder-led congregation.
    Questions like how many? or how long? are answered a church’s constitution.

    The congregation where I attend votes ever 2 or 3 years on our ruling elders.
    Currently we have 6 or 7 elders, our constitution simply says we must have at least 3.

    Decisions in the group are discussed until a consensus is achieved.
    Disagreements are not to leave the assembly of elders.

    The constitution states we need to hold an annual business meeting.
    Yesterday we voted to reaffirm two our elders (both are our full-time paid pastors).

    The annual meeting Sunday afternoon lasted 25 minutes, (including prayer), 60% of our members attended.

    Rob
     
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  19. Reynolds

    Reynolds Well-Known Member
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    Deacons. Deacons supposed to run SBC churches. Way it's always been. If the pastor thinks he is running it, he is mistaken.
     
  20. AustinC

    AustinC Well-Known Member

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    This is a thoroughly unbiblical church government model, regardless of whether it works or not.
     
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