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Church Leadership

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  • Church Leadership

    Over in CIVICs, tabibito said the following about church leadership. To get the focus off SBC, I'm starting this thread.

    Originally posted by tabibito View Post
    So what is the practical solution?
    Wesley had one, but it didn't last much longer than his own lifetime, which shows that there were major deficiencies.

    It's all very well to call for and enact excommunication, but how do you deal with the repentant person?

    The congregations should be appointing people to leadership from their own number, but that approach would require a major reboot in most, if not all, denominations.

    If you are to enact the requirements for leadership along scriptural lines, it can't be done half way - the requirements would need to be met in full. To do that, the congregation would first have to acknowledge the possibility of living without sinning. (and that is only the first step)
    I'm not familiar with Wesley's solution. My initial take is his deficiency was he failed to communicate how important it was to his successors.

    I'm not ready to deal with a repentant person wanting to go back into a leadership role. My initial inclination is no.

    My experience in most congregations is the leadership of the church appoints the new leadership of the church. There may be a formal vote of the membership but that tends to be a formality. In other words, the set-up will create a good-old boys network. I have in one case been in a church where the pastor appointed all the leaders. In another case, I watched the denomination bring in their candidate for the new pastor. (A few years later, that pastor split the church.) As I think about it, I really haven't seen leadership selection done well.

    I think I would start though by attacking the low view of church membership. Being a member of the church means more is expected of you, In too many churches, the main requirement for membership is "Are you breathing?" I think if the membership has a higher view of what membership means, it could eventually translate into better leadership as eventually the members expect more out of their leadership.

    There's my start on the matter.
    "For I desire mercy, not sacrifice, and acknowledgment of God rather than burnt offerings." Hosea 6:6

    "Theology can be an intellectual entertainment." Metropolitan Anthony Bloom

  • #2
    Originally posted by Thoughtful Monk View Post
    Over in CIVICs, tabibito said the following about church leadership. To get the focus off SBC, I'm starting this thread.

    I'm not familiar with Wesley's solution. My initial take is his deficiency was he failed to communicate how important it was to his successors.
    Agreed. That seems to be the point where the church has failed most obviously going all the way back to the second generation (if not the first). However, it is also necessary to make sure the congregations are educated in the factors that they should be looking for in a leader. That concept would require the appointment of bishops to make sure it got done. At the organisational level, I can't see any occasion for a rank higher than bishop, but congregations and individual members do have a need for a "court of appeal" when things go wrong.

    I'm not ready to deal with a repentant person wanting to go back into a leadership role. My initial inclination is no.
    {I didn't expect it to be read that way.} I would agree: the leader who has failed and demonstrated repentance should be required to start again at the beginning, not where he left off.

    My experience in most congregations is the leadership of the church appoints the new leadership of the church. There may be a formal vote of the membership but that tends to be a formality. In other words, the set-up will create a good-old boys network. I have in one case been in a church where the pastor appointed all the leaders. In another case, I watched the denomination bring in their candidate for the new pastor. (A few years later, that pastor split the church.) As I think about it, I really haven't seen leadership selection done well.
    One among a number of factors that lead to failures, but perhaps not the most critical.

    I think I would start though by attacking the low view of church membership. Being a member of the church means more is expected of you, In too many churches, the main requirement for membership is "Are you breathing?" I think if the membership has a higher view of what membership means, it could eventually translate into better leadership as eventually the members expect more out of their leadership.
    And there we have the most critical factor. Membership needs to be two tiered: legal residents and citizens, so to speak.

    1Cor 15:34 εκνηψατε δικαιως και μη αμαρτανετε αγνωσιαν γαρ θεου τινες εχουσιν προς εντροπην υμιν λεγω
    Come to your senses as you ought and stop sinning; for I say to your shame, there are some who know not God.
    .
    "when the church no longer teaches its people why they believe what they believe, the world will often step in and fill in the gaps." Ryan Danker

    "The synoptic gospels claim that Jesus was crucified on the 15th day of Nisan and buried on the 14th day of Nisan:" Majority Consensus

    Comment


    • #3
      Originally posted by tabibito View Post

      Agreed. That seems to be the point where the church has failed most obviously going all the way back to the second generation (if not the first).
      If the church has failed from the very beginning, it's rather presumptuous of us to think that we might finally get it right 2,000 years later, no?
      Enter the Church and wash away your sins. For here there is a hospital and not a court of law. Do not be ashamed to enter the Church; be ashamed when you sin, but not when you repent. – St. John Chrysostom

      Veritas vos Liberabit<>< Learn Greek <>< Look here for an Orthodox Church in America<><Ancient Faith Radio
      sigpic
      I recommend you do not try too hard and ...research as little as possible. Such weighty things give me a headache. - Shunyadragon, Baha'i apologist

      Comment


      • #4
        Originally posted by One Bad Pig View Post
        If the church has failed from the very beginning, it's rather presumptuous of us to think that we might finally get it right 2,000 years later, no?
        As the saying goes - "hindsight is 20-20."

        If we look around ourselves and find that everything is as it should be, all is well and good. If we find otherwise, we need to be looking to identify the problem, its source, and how it might best be corrected.
        1Cor 15:34 εκνηψατε δικαιως και μη αμαρτανετε αγνωσιαν γαρ θεου τινες εχουσιν προς εντροπην υμιν λεγω
        Come to your senses as you ought and stop sinning; for I say to your shame, there are some who know not God.
        .
        "when the church no longer teaches its people why they believe what they believe, the world will often step in and fill in the gaps." Ryan Danker

        "The synoptic gospels claim that Jesus was crucified on the 15th day of Nisan and buried on the 14th day of Nisan:" Majority Consensus

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by tabibito View Post

          As the saying goes - "hindsight is 20-20."

          If we look around ourselves and find that everything is as it should be, all is well and good. If we find otherwise, we need to be looking to identify the problem, its source, and how it might best be corrected.
          That auto-magical link to Blue Letter Bible is more trouble than it's worth.
          Geislerminian Antinomian Kenotic Charispneumaticostal Gender Mutualist-Egalitarian.

          Beige Federalist.

          Nationalist Christian.

          "Everybody is somebody's heretic."

          Social Justice is usually the opposite of actual justice.

          Proud member of the LGBFJB community.

          Would-be Grand Vizier of the Padishah Maxi-Super-Ultra-Hyper-Mega-MAGA King Trumpius Rex.

          Justice for Ashli Babbitt!

          Justice for Matthew Perna!

          Arrest Ray Epps and his Fed bosses!

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by NorrinRadd View Post

            That auto-magical link to Blue Letter Bible is more trouble than it's worth.
            Tis amazing the number of times that people inadvertently cite Isaiah.
            1Cor 15:34 εκνηψατε δικαιως και μη αμαρτανετε αγνωσιαν γαρ θεου τινες εχουσιν προς εντροπην υμιν λεγω
            Come to your senses as you ought and stop sinning; for I say to your shame, there are some who know not God.
            .
            "when the church no longer teaches its people why they believe what they believe, the world will often step in and fill in the gaps." Ryan Danker

            "The synoptic gospels claim that Jesus was crucified on the 15th day of Nisan and buried on the 14th day of Nisan:" Majority Consensus

            Comment


            • #7
              I have a lot of thoughts on the topic of "what church should look like," but I'm having a lot of trouble concentrating.

              Marg Mowczko posted this article by a young-looking pastor to her Facebook page. It at least touches on a lot of things on my mind.

              Gordon Fee has a couple of good essays from a while back -- "Laos and Leadership Under the New Covenant" and "Reflections on Church Order in the Pastoral Epistles." I think they're only available in his books.
              Geislerminian Antinomian Kenotic Charispneumaticostal Gender Mutualist-Egalitarian.

              Beige Federalist.

              Nationalist Christian.

              "Everybody is somebody's heretic."

              Social Justice is usually the opposite of actual justice.

              Proud member of the LGBFJB community.

              Would-be Grand Vizier of the Padishah Maxi-Super-Ultra-Hyper-Mega-MAGA King Trumpius Rex.

              Justice for Ashli Babbitt!

              Justice for Matthew Perna!

              Arrest Ray Epps and his Fed bosses!

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by One Bad Pig View Post
                If the church has failed from the very beginning, it's rather presumptuous of us to think that we might finally get it right 2,000 years later, no?
                Maybe. However, it should not be used as an excuse to not try.
                "For I desire mercy, not sacrifice, and acknowledgment of God rather than burnt offerings." Hosea 6:6

                "Theology can be an intellectual entertainment." Metropolitan Anthony Bloom

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by tabibito View Post
                  Agreed. That seems to be the point where the church has failed most obviously going all the way back to the second generation (if not the first). However, it is also necessary to make sure the congregations are educated in the factors that they should be looking for in a leader. That concept would require the appointment of bishops to make sure it got done. At the organisational level, I can't see any occasion for a rank higher than bishop, but congregations and individual members do have a need for a "court of appeal" when things go wrong.
                  I think we're agreed that the congregation needs to be better taught. As I said in another thread, I was glad to hear the pastor of my church is planning to spend the next few weeks preaching on fundamental doctrines. I think to do that we need to get away from sermons that resemble life coaching.

                  I haven't seen courts of appeal work well either. Denominations seem to be as broken as individual churches. Maybe it's just a sign of how much we don't trust organizations anymore. Maybe it's yet another sign that society is heading for collapse.

                  I think the focus still has to be on training the individual members about their faith. We may be looking at an age where a church is maybe 10 people in a house.

                  Originally posted by tabibito View Post
                  {I didn't expect it to be read that way.} I would agree: the leader who has failed and demonstrated repentance should be required to start again at the beginning, not where he left off.
                  I'm not sure about he would have to go all the back to the beginning. I suggest he may have to accept a ministry or position that doesn't have the same risks as what he held. For example, a man who had an inappropriate but consensual relationship with an adult woman might be allowed to have a teaching ministry but no one-on-one sessions. This is a hard one to generalize on. It would certainly have to be handled on a case by case basis.

                  Originally posted by tabibito View Post
                  One among a number of factors that lead to failures, but perhaps not the most critical.
                  And there we have the most critical factor. Membership needs to be two tiered: legal residents and citizens, so to speak.
                  I see legal residents are the regular visitors. They're always welcome to come but have no leadership in the church. Citizens are the ones who have joined. I think becoming a member should be tougher. I seem to remember in the early church, it took a year to join. Membership classes should be less passive (the church leadership talking and the potential members sitting there nodding their heads) and more interactive. Get the potential member to reveal more about themselves and what they believe. Also have the courage to turn down someone for membership at least at this time if there are questions about them. Hopefully this would be infrequent.

                  None of this directly solves the problem of church leadership. I am going to consider that for awhile yet.
                  "For I desire mercy, not sacrifice, and acknowledgment of God rather than burnt offerings." Hosea 6:6

                  "Theology can be an intellectual entertainment." Metropolitan Anthony Bloom

                  Comment


                  • #10


                    I think to do that we need to get away from sermons that resemble life coaching.
                    agreed.

                    I haven't seen courts of appeal work well either.
                    They will only work if members have ready access and understand procedures. It isn't something that will have any effect if they are unapproachable, so the members of that court need to circulate among the congregations under their care. At a guess, 10 congregations max per bishop, the bishops comprising a board with no permanent chairman. Organising that would be a nightmare.

                    I think the focus still has to be on training the individual members about their faith.
                    agreed

                    We may be looking at an age where a church is maybe 10 people in a house.
                    It wouldn't work in the long term, and small numbers aren't any defence against waywardness. It would work for leader groups though, and it is possible that fellowship between leaders would be a good hedge against burn out. Conversely, mega churches seemingly can't provide a good environment long term.

                    I'm not sure about he would have to go all the back to the beginning. I suggest he may have to accept a ministry or position that doesn't have the same risks as what he held. For example, a man who had an inappropriate but consensual relationship with an adult woman might be allowed to have a teaching ministry but no one-on-one sessions. This is a hard one to generalize on. It would certainly have to be handled on a case by case basis.
                    Some agreement there, but I'd still want the person to show himself (or herself) to be in good standing before I would be comfortable with allowing a leadership role.

                    I see legal residents are the regular visitors. They're always welcome to come but have no leadership in the church.
                    Agreed.

                    Citizens are the ones who have joined. I think becoming a member should be tougher.
                    Same as for a repentant leader.

                    I seem to remember in the early church, it took a year to join.
                    I'm guessing that it would take about that long to get the feel of the person, so agreed.

                    Membership classes should be less passive (the church leadership talking and the potential members sitting there nodding their heads) and more interactive.
                    Certainly, and giving as much instruction on walking the walk as on doctrine. Sound doctrine can't be assimilated by people who aren't walking the walk anyway, though it can be taught.

                    Get the potential member to reveal more about themselves and what they believe.
                    I'm not sure where to go with that one.

                    Also have the courage to turn down someone for membership at least at this time if there are questions about them. Hopefully this would be infrequent.
                    Start with membership by invitation, and consensus of existing members before the invitation is issued. I suspect that will become a forced necessity within the next twenty or so years anyway.

                    None of this directly solves the problem of church leadership. I am going to consider that for awhile yet.
                    Addressing the problems of church leadership starts with addressing the problems of membership - otherwise there is no pool of potential leaders to draw on. The difficulty is of course finding leaders of the required calibre to get the ball rolling.
                    1Cor 15:34 εκνηψατε δικαιως και μη αμαρτανετε αγνωσιαν γαρ θεου τινες εχουσιν προς εντροπην υμιν λεγω
                    Come to your senses as you ought and stop sinning; for I say to your shame, there are some who know not God.
                    .
                    "when the church no longer teaches its people why they believe what they believe, the world will often step in and fill in the gaps." Ryan Danker

                    "The synoptic gospels claim that Jesus was crucified on the 15th day of Nisan and buried on the 14th day of Nisan:" Majority Consensus

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by tabibito View Post
                      They will only work if members have ready access and understand procedures. It isn't something that will have any effect if they are unapproachable, so the members of that court need to circulate among the congregations under their care. At a guess, 10 congregations max per bishop, the bishops comprising a board with no permanent chairman. Organising that would be a nightmare.

                      It wouldn't work in the long term, and small numbers aren't any defence against waywardness. It would work for leader groups though, and it is possible that fellowship between leaders would be a good hedge against burn out. Conversely, mega churches seemingly can't provide a good environment long term.

                      I'm not sure where to go with that one.

                      Start with membership by invitation, and consensus of existing members before the invitation is issued. I suspect that will become a forced necessity within the next twenty or so years anyway.

                      Addressing the problems of church leadership starts with addressing the problems of membership - otherwise there is no pool of potential leaders to draw on. The difficulty is of course finding leaders of the required calibre to get the ball rolling.
                      Sorry it's taken me so long to get back to you on this. June has been a strange month for me and finding time for posts that take thought has been hard.

                      I'm not sure what to do with church size. I have experienced both too small (the church tends to close up) and too big (too impersonal). I think I've read the optimal size is somewhere around 100 members.

                      That being said, I don't think there is a direct correlation between size and waywardness. Probably the best defense is an educated and involved congregation.

                      I said "Get the potential member to reveal more about themselves and what they believe.". What I'm trying to get at is trying to identify wolves (Acts 20:29) trying to come into and change the church. I think there are people (not necessarily leaders) out there who go into a church with the intention of changing it towards doctrine they favor. There are many factors why the "mainline" denominations have changed but certainly one seems to be they have moved away from core doctrines. I'm sure at least in part these changes came from influential lay people.

                      You have to be careful on this. Any new person in an organization will change the organization. Sometimes the change is for the better, too. Yet proper care of the flock means paying attention to this.

                      How we have done church for the last 100 or so years isn't going to work much longer. Leadership and membership will both be changing. The Bible is clear the church is to proclaim the Gospel including what the Gospel is and isn't. It's not as clear on the how and I think that's good. It allows for flexibility depending on the circumstances.
                      "For I desire mercy, not sacrifice, and acknowledgment of God rather than burnt offerings." Hosea 6:6

                      "Theology can be an intellectual entertainment." Metropolitan Anthony Bloom

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by One Bad Pig View Post
                        If the church has failed from the very beginning, it's rather presumptuous of us to think that we might finally get it right 2,000 years later, no?
                        We could be less wrong.
                        The first to state his case seems right until another comes and cross-examines him.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Interesting development with me over the past couple decades --- I've been using the "Wednesday Night Crowd" as a de facto sounding board for Church leadership, as they (The WNC) tend to be the devoted, the faithful, the givers*, the involved...

                          And I have an opportunity to do Discipleship with them once a week. They tend to be the pool from which we select heads of committees and programs.

                          During COVID, they really shined. Even though the Sunday Morning crowd narrowed down, the WNC pretty much stayed faithful, and actually grew.

                          *I purposely don't know who gives what, and don't want to know, but you often just have a sense
                          The first to state his case seems right until another comes and cross-examines him.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Cow Poke View Post

                            We could be less wrong.
                            Rather unlikely. If people a mere two or three generations from the apostles in the same cultural milieu couldn't get it right, someone 2,000 years later in a completely different culture and language isn't, absent the guidance of the Holy Spirit - but that same Holy Spirit's been operating for the last 2,000 years. And Protestants non-Orthodox/Catholics aren't exactly in agreement on how to interpret things, yanno?
                            Enter the Church and wash away your sins. For here there is a hospital and not a court of law. Do not be ashamed to enter the Church; be ashamed when you sin, but not when you repent. – St. John Chrysostom

                            Veritas vos Liberabit<>< Learn Greek <>< Look here for an Orthodox Church in America<><Ancient Faith Radio
                            sigpic
                            I recommend you do not try too hard and ...research as little as possible. Such weighty things give me a headache. - Shunyadragon, Baha'i apologist

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by Thoughtful Monk View Post

                              Maybe. However, it should not be used as an excuse to not try.
                              IMO it would be rather more profitable to reconsider whether the church has indeed failed for 2,000 years.
                              Enter the Church and wash away your sins. For here there is a hospital and not a court of law. Do not be ashamed to enter the Church; be ashamed when you sin, but not when you repent. – St. John Chrysostom

                              Veritas vos Liberabit<>< Learn Greek <>< Look here for an Orthodox Church in America<><Ancient Faith Radio
                              sigpic
                              I recommend you do not try too hard and ...research as little as possible. Such weighty things give me a headache. - Shunyadragon, Baha'i apologist

                              Comment

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