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How Shall We Do Local Chuch?

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  • How Shall We Do Local Chuch?

    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.
    "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
    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?
    "Neighbor, how long has it been since you’ve had a big, thick, steaming bowl of Wolf Brand Chili?”

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    • #3
      I'm squishing the two together. Based on your definitions, I'm thinking Bylaws which is fine for the purpose of this thread.
      "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


      • #4
        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.
        The greater number of laws . . . , the more thieves . . . there will be. ---- Lao-Tzu

        [T]he truth I’m after and the truth never harmed anyone. What harms us is to persist in self-deceit and ignorance -— Marcus Aurelius, Meditations

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by Thoughtful Monk View Post
          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. (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?
          "Neighbor, how long has it been since you’ve had a big, thick, steaming bowl of Wolf Brand Chili?”

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by Truthseeker View Post
            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.
            "Neighbor, how long has it been since you’ve had a big, thick, steaming bowl of Wolf Brand Chili?”

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by Cow Poke View Post
              I don't think it's good to compare a local Church with a government that's too big to succeed.
              I was writing about the efficacy of checks and balances. I cited the USFG as an example of failure of checks and balances.
              The greater number of laws . . . , the more thieves . . . there will be. ---- Lao-Tzu

              [T]he truth I’m after and the truth never harmed anyone. What harms us is to persist in self-deceit and ignorance -— Marcus Aurelius, Meditations

              Comment


              • #8
                Cow Poke, what about the contract between the pastor and the church?
                The greater number of laws . . . , the more thieves . . . there will be. ---- Lao-Tzu

                [T]he truth I’m after and the truth never harmed anyone. What harms us is to persist in self-deceit and ignorance -— Marcus Aurelius, Meditations

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by Truthseeker View Post
                  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. 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.
                  "Neighbor, how long has it been since you’ve had a big, thick, steaming bowl of Wolf Brand Chili?”

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Truthseeker View Post
                    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"?
                    "Neighbor, how long has it been since you’ve had a big, thick, steaming bowl of Wolf Brand Chili?”

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      TM, I went ahead and zapped the other copy of the thread per your request.
                      "I am not angered that the Moral Majority boys campaign against abortion. I am angry when the same men who say, "Save OUR children" bellow "Build more and bigger bombers." That's right! Blast the children in other nations into eternity, or limbless misery as they lay crippled from "OUR" bombers! This does not jell." - Leonard Ravenhill

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Thoughtful Monk
                        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

                        Source: Eusebius of Caesarea, Church History, Book III, Chapter 11

                        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.

                        © Copyright Original Source



                        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.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Cow Poke View Post
                          What, specifically, did you have in mind with a "contract"?
                          In this post

                          http://www.theologyweb.com/campus/sh...ll=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.
                          The greater number of laws . . . , the more thieves . . . there will be. ---- Lao-Tzu

                          [T]he truth I’m after and the truth never harmed anyone. What harms us is to persist in self-deceit and ignorance -— Marcus Aurelius, Meditations

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            King's Gambit, maybe change "chuch" to "church" in the thread title?? And after fixing the spelling, maybe delete this post??
                            The greater number of laws . . . , the more thieves . . . there will be. ---- Lao-Tzu

                            [T]he truth I’m after and the truth never harmed anyone. What harms us is to persist in self-deceit and ignorance -— Marcus Aurelius, Meditations

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by Truthseeker View Post
                              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.
                              "I am not angered that the Moral Majority boys campaign against abortion. I am angry when the same men who say, "Save OUR children" bellow "Build more and bigger bombers." That's right! Blast the children in other nations into eternity, or limbless misery as they lay crippled from "OUR" bombers! This does not jell." - Leonard Ravenhill

                              Comment

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