Monday, September 28, 2009

Church Government

I think that even my title begs the question. We are so used to thinking that the church needs government that such a title passes under gaze so easily that we do not even give it a moments thought. But do churches need government?

My answer is yes, they do. Any time you have more than one person doing things, joint decisions have to be made. The larger the group, the greater the need to be able to coordinate and decide. Who sets the meeting times? Consensus? Ever try to set a meeting time that everyone wants? Someone always has to give in because it will not be the optimum time. What happens when a dominating person, someone who loves to be first as John wrote, keeps hijacking the meetings and trying to draw disciples after themselves? Who deals with this person? What of a person who is sexually seducing people and won't quit, although they have tears when caught? Someone needs to have the authority to handle these situations for the group.

But this is not the type of government that pops into your mind when you read the title on this article, is it? The kind of government that has a sole purpose of serving the group through leadership. The kind of government who's delight is finding and doing the will of our Lord Jesus - not in ordering everyone around so the governors vision and hope gets accomplished to the expense of everyone else's.

But is even this vision of leadership simply a product of the egalitarian age we American's are now living? It very well could be. I can see how in some other culture you can have loving, servant leadership and yet have it come in the form of a hierarchy. It is remarkable how little the Bible actually teaches on how to implement church leadership in practical ways.

But the Bible has lots to say on the ATTITUDES of a leader. We can know the heart of a leader. As so often the case, the Bible is interested more in the attitude by which we do something that what we do. I doubt if we be judged on what we accomplished as much as by the motivation from which we did them.

Jesus warned us of those who would do great miracles and prophecy in His name yet he would tell them that He never knew them. Nothing wrong with what they did, just the way they did them.

We can have all sorts of culturally relevant ways to govern - to provide leadership. What is more important is how and why are we doing it.

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