PDA

View Full Version : How Shall We Do Local Chuch?



Thoughtful Monk
04-18-2014, 04:41 PM
This is a split-off from Pentacost's thread "Church Government or How Shall We Govern Ourselves" How I interpreted the OP took the thread off topic so I'm starting again.

The question here: if you could write the local constitution of a church body, what would you put in?

My initial thoughts were:

The pastor has to be accountable to other members of the church.

There would be strict rules against the involvement of the pastor's relatives (besides his wife) in church leadership. Under no circumstances could any of his relatives be employees of the church. Under no circumstances would the son, son-in-law, other relative be allowed to succeed as the pastor of the church. This would probably also include the other major leader positions in the church. I am really trying hard to avoid having the church becoming the family business.

The pastor would not be head of the legal organization (i.e. the 401(c)) that takes care of the church's earthly requirements to exist.

A response from Cow Poke:

Yeah, it would really be rare -- but I just think we put WAY too much in the "Constitution" that prohibits us from doing something "out of the box" if the Lord should so lead.

To which I now respond: we're coming at this from the opposite end of the church government. I've seen too much leadership abuse the body. Put another way, we're all sinners and want to see effect checks and balances to protect both. You've seen the hand of God moving and don't want to restrict Him. I think we need to find common ground on this.

From Jedidiah:

If this is a problem I think a change in the church leadership is in order.

Be nice but not always possible. One church I read the constitution and it basically came out "What pastor wants; pastor gets."

Finally from One Bad Pig:

What the congregation wants to hear is not necessarily what the congregation needs to hear.

I agree. I personally what I need to hear which is not always pleasant. What is wrong that the pastor can't always preach what needs to be said?

I have had the sense for the past 5 or so years that how church in the US done has failed. At the risk of asking an unanswerable question, what could be done differently? I don't want to go down what seems to be the standard road these days of throwing out the doctrine. I want to keep this at the local level as I am far more likely to affect that than at the national level.

Thanks in advance for sharing.

Cow Poke
04-18-2014, 05:10 PM
Let's clear something up....

The "Constitution" in Churches I have dealt with is actually a "Constitution and Bylaws" -- two separate documents in one.

The first document simply declares what "constitutes" the Church -- usually a one or two page statement of who we are, name of the organization, and what happens to our assets should we ever dissolve.

The second part is the "Bylaws", which spell out all the "rules" that govern the Church.

Is it different where you are?

Thoughtful Monk
04-18-2014, 05:17 PM
I'm squishing the two together. Based on your definitions, I'm thinking Bylaws which is fine for the purpose of this thread.

Truthseeker
04-18-2014, 05:19 PM
A constitution cannot enforce itself. And it may be badly enforced. "Checks and balances" do not work well in practice. Just look at the USFG! Emperor Obama, I bend knee to thee. I suppose any 401(c) organization needs a "constitution," though. I am at a loss what to suggest except that every church should be local. That would not make for perfection, I would acknowledge, but maybe that's the best we can do.

Cow Poke
04-18-2014, 05:26 PM
I'm squishing the two together. Based on your definitions, I'm thinking Bylaws which is fine for the purpose of this thread.

OK, so just to be clear, I personally think it needs to be THREE documents in one. :smile: (maybe my Trinitarian roots?)

The Constitution simply says "who we are", and the Bylaws say how we operate.

My suggestion (and I do this a LOT with Churches as a consultant) is to have a THIRD document called "Policies and Procedures" or something like that.

Here's the rationale......

A) The Constitution pretty much NEVER changes (unless the Church relocates, or, as in our case, affiliates with a different State convention). For most Churches, the Constitution will remain the same throughout the existence of that Church.

B) The Bylaws should be very carefully thought out, and ONLY include those things which are not likely to change. For example, a lot of Churches get WAY too specific, even telling what committees should exist, and how many members serve on each committee. THOSE things would be better handled, in my opinion, in the Policies and Procedures.

The Bylaws should be more difficult to change, requiring advance notice and a super majority - with an advance reading.. there should be nothing in there that should be changed on a routine basis.

3) The Policies and Procedures would spell out how the Church operates on a day to day basis, and can be edited easily with a majority vote of the Church. This is where you would add a committee or a mission endeavor or spell out the rules for the kitchen, nursery, etc.

How bout that, so far?

Cow Poke
04-18-2014, 05:29 PM
A constitution cannot enforce itself. And it may be badly enforced. "Checks and balances" do not work well in practice. Just look at the USFG! Emperor Obama, I bend knee to thee. I suppose any 401(c) organization needs a "constitution," though. I am at a loss what to suggest except that every church should be local. That would not make for perfection, I would acknowledge, but maybe that's the best we can do.

I don't think it's good to compare a local Church with a government that's too big to succeed. :glare:

Truthseeker
04-18-2014, 06:26 PM
I don't think it's good to compare a local Church with a government that's too big to succeed. :glare:I was writing about the efficacy of checks and balances. I cited the USFG as an example of failure of checks and balances.

Truthseeker
04-18-2014, 06:27 PM
Cow Poke, what about the contract between the pastor and the church?

Cow Poke
04-18-2014, 06:55 PM
I was writing about the efficacy of checks and balances. I cited the USFG as an example of failure of checks and balances.

I'm PSOX certified. :smug: I know quite a bit about checks and balances. You can have ALL the checks and balances in the world, but if you have an unethical person at the top, he can always find a way to get around them.

Cow Poke
04-18-2014, 06:56 PM
Cow Poke, what about the contract between the pastor and the church?

Some Churches employ a contract, some don't. I was well known enough in my area that when my CURRENT Church called me, they didn't even ask for a resume or job application. I've been there going on two years, and we're getting along well, and God is blessing.

What, specifically, did you have in mind with a "contract"?

KingsGambit
04-18-2014, 07:03 PM
TM, I went ahead and zapped the other copy of the thread per your request.

OingoBoingo
04-18-2014, 07:48 PM
There would be strict rules against the involvement of the pastor's relatives (besides his wife) in church leadership. Under no circumstances could any of his relatives be employees of the church. Under no circumstances would the son, son-in-law, other relative be allowed to succeed as the pastor of the church. This would probably also include the other major leader positions in the church. I am really trying hard to avoid having the church becoming the family business.

The very first "church" employed relatives. Even though he wasn't one of the original twelve Apostles, James took over the leadership of the church from his brother Jesus in Jerusalem. In ancient times, it wasn't uncommon for the relative of a rabbi to take his position should he die. Furthermore, if Hegesippus (c.110-180) is to be believed (as quoted by Eusebius), James' successor upon his martyrdom was Jesus' and James' cousin, Simeon

1. After the martyrdom of James and the conquest of Jerusalem which immediately followed, it is said that those of the apostles and disciples of the Lord that were still living came together from all directions with those that were related to the Lord according to the flesh (for the majority of them also were still alive) to take counsel as to who was worthy to succeed James.

2. They all with one consent pronounced Symeon, the son of Clopas, of whom the Gospel also makes mention; to be worthy of the episcopal throne of that parish. He was a cousin, as they say, of the Saviour. For Hegesippus records that Clopas was a brother of Joseph.

Eusebius repeats this in book 4 as well. Also notice that the apostles and disciples came together with the other relatives of Jesus which hints that they were in leadership roles as well.

Truthseeker
04-18-2014, 07:54 PM
What, specifically, did you have in mind with a "contract"?In this post

http://www.theologyweb.com/campus/showthread.php?1704-How-Shall-We-Do-Local-Chuch&p=45560&viewfull=1#post45560 you listed 3 kinds of governing documents. You didn't mention the contract with the pastor. I wonder why. Another reason is, I was curious.

Truthseeker
04-18-2014, 08:07 PM
King's Gambit, maybe change "chuch" to "church" in the thread title?? And after fixing the spelling, maybe delete this post??

KingsGambit
04-18-2014, 08:14 PM
King's Gambit, maybe change "chuch" to "church" in the thread title?? And after fixing the spelling, maybe delete this post??

I don't have the right to edit posts to correct spelling, sorry.

Cow Poke
04-19-2014, 05:56 AM
In this post

http://www.theologyweb.com/campus/showthread.php?1704-How-Shall-We-Do-Local-Chuch&p=45560&viewfull=1#post45560 you listed 3 kinds of governing documents. You didn't mention the contract with the pastor. I wonder why. Another reason is, I was curious.

Ah! I didn't list a "contract with the Pastor" because, in my personal experience, I have never had to deal with that.

The Bylaws and/or the Policies & Procedures line out what is expected -- how to call a Pastor, what his duties and responsibilities are, compensation package, termination, etc.

The only time I've seen this as a separate document would be in the case of an "intentional interim". Where the Church is without a Pastor, but is not yet ready to call the next permanent Pastor. Perhaps the previous Pastor was a bad experience, so they need some time before another Pastor. In that case, there will often be an "intentional interim" --- a Pastor (bivocational or retired) who will "fill in" for an agreed upon definite time period, and who, by contract, will NOT seek, or be considered for, the position as Permanent Pastor.

Thoughtful Monk
04-19-2014, 07:44 PM
King's Gambit, maybe change "chuch" to "church" in the thread title?? And after fixing the spelling, maybe delete this post??

I hereby pledge to no longer post when tired :zzz: or rushed :juggle:.

Bad things happen.

Cow Poke
04-19-2014, 07:51 PM
I hereby pledge to no longer post when tired :zzz: or rushed :juggle:.

Bad things happen.

Meh... I went through a period when EVERY THREAD I STARTED had a misspelling in the title. :grin:

rogue06
04-19-2014, 08:11 PM
Meh... I went through a period when EVERY THREAD I STARTED had a misspelling in the title. :grin:
I got to point out nearly every one http://images2.wikia.nocookie.net/__cb20110909000149/potcoplayers/images/8/83/Celebrate.gifhttp://www.happilythinnerafter.com/images/smilies/celebrate.gifhttp://www.smileyvault.com/albums/userpics/13911/350x700px-LL-1b5b4ce3_smileys-dancing-076627.gif



Good times. :smug:

Cow Poke
04-19-2014, 08:13 PM
I got to point out nearly every one http://images2.wikia.nocookie.net/__cb20110909000149/potcoplayers/images/8/83/Celebrate.gifhttp://www.happilythinnerafter.com/images/smilies/celebrate.gifhttp://www.smileyvault.com/albums/userpics/13911/350x700px-LL-1b5b4ce3_smileys-dancing-076627.gif



Good times. :smug:

What's a brother for? :smile:

rogue06
04-19-2014, 08:18 PM
What's a brother for? :smile:
:hug:

May you have a blessed Easter.

Cow Poke
04-19-2014, 08:30 PM
:hug:

May you have a blessed Easter.

He is RISEN, indeed!

Jedidiah
04-19-2014, 10:37 PM
Amen.

Cow Poke
04-20-2014, 04:44 AM
CHRIST IS RISEN and gives HOPE to the Hopeless!

Jedidiah
04-21-2014, 12:08 AM
If they only trust Him.

Cow Poke
04-21-2014, 11:36 AM
Yeah. :pray:

Thoughtful Monk
04-21-2014, 05:10 PM
Take 2.

Laying aside our legal documents, let us strive after God as individuals and community.

I wish I could frame my question the right way. So please bear with me as this is going to be more stream of thought. It seems to me that we need to close the gap between leadership and members. It seems to me that too many places the leadership doesn't know their members and the members don't trust the leadership. Have we lost the sense of being a community?

One feature of the early church is how much they cared one for another and how outsiders perceive it. And it still exists in some places. My mom was telling me some stories of what her local church does for its members. I'd join in a moment but its a 5 hour drive to church every Sunday. Is it a city thing? Is it living a more liberal part of the world where the outsider gets more attention than the member? It just seems to me that members are most expendable thing around here. Have we forgotten how to be a we and not a bunch of I's who happen to worship at the same time and place?

Is it partially we need a change in emphasis like Pope Francis is doing? Despite some media claims to the contrary, he hasn't changed single doctrine yet but suddenly the RCC looks more attractive. Is that our issue - we emphasis the following God's law rather than His love? Its been since I've really seen a loving community that is still intent on obeying God. I've gotten on or the other but not both.

Maybe we've forgotten to put God first. We'll open in prayer and then talk about the things of man for the rest of the time. We say God centered but don't practice it. We find ways to hear the Word of God but excuse ourselves from following it.

Is it the discarding of sin from our doctrines? We expect each other to be so perfect that we don't admit our failures and condemn others when they fail. So our relationships are built on a false basis of a lie of who I am and who you are. I know some people say that they are new creation in Christ, but I'm an old sinner saved by grace. I want mercy when I fail and I want to learn to show mercy.

I don't know...so I'll be quiet now and let you talk.

Thoughtful Monk
04-24-2014, 03:54 PM
Three days later and no response to my previous post. :huh:

Cow Poke
04-24-2014, 03:59 PM
Take 2.

Laying aside our legal documents, let us strive after God as individuals and community.

I wish I could frame my question the right way. So please bear with me as this is going to be more stream of thought. It seems to me that we need to close the gap between leadership and members. It seems to me that too many places the leadership doesn't know their members and the members don't trust the leadership. Have we lost the sense of being a community?

One feature of the early church is how much they cared one for another and how outsiders perceive it. And it still exists in some places. My mom was telling me some stories of what her local church does for its members. I'd join in a moment but its a 5 hour drive to church every Sunday. Is it a city thing? Is it living a more liberal part of the world where the outsider gets more attention than the member? It just seems to me that members are most expendable thing around here. Have we forgotten how to be a we and not a bunch of I's who happen to worship at the same time and place?

Is it partially we need a change in emphasis like Pope Francis is doing? Despite some media claims to the contrary, he hasn't changed single doctrine yet but suddenly the RCC looks more attractive. Is that our issue - we emphasis the following God's law rather than His love? Its been since I've really seen a loving community that is still intent on obeying God. I've gotten on or the other but not both.

Maybe we've forgotten to put God first. We'll open in prayer and then talk about the things of man for the rest of the time. We say God centered but don't practice it. We find ways to hear the Word of God but excuse ourselves from following it.

Is it the discarding of sin from our doctrines? We expect each other to be so perfect that we don't admit our failures and condemn others when they fail. So our relationships are built on a false basis of a lie of who I am and who you are. I know some people say that they are new creation in Christ, but I'm an old sinner saved by grace. I want mercy when I fail and I want to learn to show mercy.

I don't know...so I'll be quiet now and let you talk.

:nc: