Monday, March 29, 2010


Governing Church

9Marks Blog did several posts on how to run a church. The essential question was whether it was better to have one guy calling the shots, or some vote of elders/pastors voting. Needless to say, as a Presbyterian, I am deeply committed to a democratic model. There is a lot of good discussion about the practical considerations of the various models.

One comment in particular stuck out for me:
A plurality with no senior pastor is better structured for protection than for expansion. This model is often appealing to those seeking to prevent the repetition of past leadership mistakes, but the perceived safety often carries a trade-off: protection for productivity, and preservation for progress.
There is wisdom in noting that such is structured for "protection" but protection is not antithetical to expansion. Admittedly the political necessity of democratic procedure make things move much more slowly, but that why is that bad?

There are two things that I think we should bear in mind.

Firstly, God works on a really long time scale - much longer than our perceptions allow us to truly understand. Having to see "growth" is a highly self-involved insistence. Consider that much we take for granted, The Grand Canyon, the Sierra Nevada...took eons to come to the state of beauty they exhibit - EONS! and they do so as the result of billions of small events none of which truly knows its place in the grand scheme of things.

Frankly, the hubris of demanding to see results is amazing.

The second point is also really about hubris as well. How dare any one individual assume they uniquely know what God has in mind for a church? That individual, like all of us, suffers with sin, and is therefore by definition, often mistaken.

My friends tell me that I have a tendency to believe that I know everything. I actually do, but that is beside the point at the moment. I need other people to check that tendency. When I harness my energy with others - then I can have some confidence that my lower tendencies will be checked.

Humility demands some democratic approach to leadership.

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