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ChangedByHim
Oct 15th 2013, 10:32 PM
What kind of Church Government does your church have?

Traditional types:

Episcopal (one ruling elder)
Presbyterial (plurality of ruling elders)
Congregational (democratic)

teddyv
Oct 15th 2013, 11:07 PM
Presbyterial, although certain matters may be brought to the congregation for voting, or affirmation of a decision.

Balabusha
Oct 16th 2013, 12:03 AM
Homechurch, not much in the way of government, other than the Bible I guess. No pastor either.

Bro Berryl
Oct 16th 2013, 12:27 AM
What kind of Church Government does your church have?

Traditional types:

Episcopal (one ruling elder)
Presbyterial (plurality of ruling elders)
Congregational (democratic)

Interesting discussion, should be some great posts on this subject coming up. The abuses in church government is probably the most common reason a person seeks a different church to associate with.

I am a member of the church of Christ where church organization has a biblical foundation. Paul's letter to the church at Phillipi
gives the pattern used in the 1st century and in my opinion should be the pattern in the 21st century as well.

Philippians 1:1 Paul and Timotheus, the servants of Jesus Christ, to all the saints in Christ Jesus which are at Philippi, with the bishops and deacons:

Paul identifies saints, bishops, and deacons. Just as a side note so as to not be confusing the term bishop is used simultaneously with elder, pastor, or overseer.

ChangedByHim
Oct 16th 2013, 12:32 AM
I believe that Acts chapter 15 contains some magnificent truths regarding the dynamic of church government.

What's interesting about that chapter is that I believe one can see a blend of all 3 of the traditional forms of government in there, drawing on the strengths of all 3.

ChangedByHim
Oct 16th 2013, 01:45 PM
Bumped for some more serious responses.

keck553
Oct 16th 2013, 04:10 PM
Read Titus.


.

episkopos
Oct 16th 2013, 05:33 PM
I believe that Acts chapter 15 contains some magnificent truths regarding the dynamic of church government.

What's interesting about that chapter is that I believe one can see a blend of all 3 of the traditional forms of government in there, drawing on the strengths of all 3.

I agree! The Holy Spirit uses different forms of oversight over the church affairs. I think as long as we are open to God's leading we will see different manifestations of governance. It is when we become rigid in any one of the 3 types listed that we have circumvented the Spirit's leading. Arguing a democratic approach over an eldership of a single overseer approach could be seen as humanistic. A single overseer could be seen as tyrannical. In fact there is error in any fossilized approach. How many churches have been split over a split eldership?

If we take the time it takes to see what God's council is on any given matter, and remain open as to the outcome...then we can hope to be led by the Spirit. There are many ways of getting it wrong. And we normally have to go down the wrong roads first. But the bible is clear that at times the whole body decides a matter...sometimes a eldership decides...sometimes a single man.


It is also interesting to note that for matters of a temporal nature (like money) we are to get the youngest and most immature members to decide. Sort of a comment on the unimportance of temporal things in the church...

1Co 6:4 If then ye have judgments of things pertaining to this life, set them to judge who are least esteemed in the church.
1Co 6:5 I speak to your shame. Is it so, that there is not a wise man among you? no, not one that shall be able to judge between his brethren?

carboy
Oct 16th 2013, 06:50 PM
I agree! The Holy Spirit uses different forms of oversight over the church affairs. I think as long as we are open to God's leading we will see different manifestations of governance. It is when we become rigid in any one of the 3 types listed that we have circumvented the Spirit's leading. Arguing a democratic approach over an eldership of a single overseer approach could be seen as humanistic. A single overseer could be seen as tyrannical. In fact there is error in any fossilized approach. How many churches have been split over a split eldership?

If we take the time it takes to see what God's council is on any given matter, and remain open as to the outcome...then we can hope to be led by the Spirit. There are many ways of getting it wrong. And we normally have to go down the wrong roads first. But the bible is clear that at times the whole body decides a matter...sometimes a eldership decides...sometimes a single man.


It is also interesting to note that for matters of a temporal nature (like money) we are to get the youngest and most immature members to decide. Sort of a comment on the unimportance of temporal things in the church...

1Co 6:4 If then ye have judgments of things pertaining to this life, set them to judge who are least esteemed in the church.
1Co 6:5 I speak to your shame. Is it so, that there is not a wise man among you? no, not one that shall be able to judge between his brethren?

I agree, There really isn't a set form to follow but there are principles at work. All of coarse being led of the Spirit. As an example accountability. We see a two by two aspect through out the scriptures. Abraham and Lot, Moses and Aaron, Nathan was sent to straighten out David and Samuel to Saul. Paul and Barnabas then Silas with Paul and John Mark with Barnabas. It doesn't mean that we won't be singular at times for specific reasons but it would seem a strict one man show isn't biblical. As I said even Moses had Aaron. And Jesus sent out the disciples two by two. Circumstance at times brings exception to the rule but it does seem to be a standard.

Chuck Smith for a time had a side kick named Romain for many years from what I understand. I've heard teachings from both that gave much credit to the other for their personal growth in overseeing the discipleship of the flock of God. From what I understand they were two opposites in character and approach.

Where the Holy Spirit is working in the body we will see this kind of spiritually natural buddy system happening. The worse thing is to oversee the paring of people together as one leader sees fit. That's what cult like groups would do.

It's one of the aspects of iron sharpening iron. Whether it be six weeks, six months, six years or life on this earth, God will bring people into our lives and ours into theirs for a purpose.

Francis Drake
Oct 18th 2013, 10:49 PM
Mark10v42Calling them to Himself, Jesus said to them, "You know that those who are recognized as rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them; and their great men exercise authority over them. 43"But it is not this way among you, but whoever wishes to become great among you shall be your servant; 44and whoever wishes to be first among you shall be slave of all.…

I find it strange that virtually all versions of leadership found in the church offends this scripture. I have yet to see a church leader being anything other than a master over his flock.
People frequently describe their pastor as having a "servant heart", yet the truth is that the flock always have to ask his permission before doing anything. He or they stand at the front and orchestrate the meeting. He decides what goes. He rules over them despite Jesus saying it should not be so.

Since when did anyone ask permission of a servant before doing something?

ChangedByHim
Oct 18th 2013, 11:55 PM
Mark10v42Calling them to Himself, Jesus said to them, "You know that those who are recognized as rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them; and their great men exercise authority over them. 43"But it is not this way among you, but whoever wishes to become great among you shall be your servant; 44and whoever wishes to be first among you shall be slave of all.

I find it strange that virtually all versions of leadership found in the church offends this scripture. I have yet to see a church leader being anything other than a master over his flock.



That's a pretty scathing remark. Perhaps you should walk a mile in their shoes being issuing your harsh critique.

I would love for you to ask my congregation that question.

Francis Drake
Oct 19th 2013, 09:03 AM
It is also interesting to note that for matters of a temporal nature (like money) we are to get the youngest and most immature members to decide. Sort of a comment on the unimportance of temporal things in the church...

1Co 6:4 If then ye have judgments of things pertaining to this life, set them to judge who are least esteemed in the church.
1Co 6:5 I speak to your shame. Is it so, that there is not a wise man among you? no, not one that shall be able to judge between his brethren?

This is plain wrong. Maybe its the King James translation though.
The NASB, as do most translations, reads verse4 as a question
1Cor6v4 So if you have law courts dealing with matters of this life, do you appoint them as judges who are of no account in the church?

So, to go back and read the context. Paul is absolutely not advocating we set the youngest over temporal decisions. He is condemning their actions of going to state law, in front of ungodly judges, rather than their fellow saints, to settle disputes between brethren.

ie. For church decisions, and disputes between brothers, the law courts should be considered of no account whatsoever.

That being said, today is different to some extent. As a divorcee, I had to go to the law courts to get my divorce recognised by the state. My Christian wife had an affair and left me. Then she took me to the cleaners, so although she was a believer, she acted like an unbeliever.
I give this example to avoid condemning those believers who have gone to court because of disputes with the brethren. Even the best and wisest christian counsel is useless in the face of ungodly rebellion.

RevLogos
Oct 21st 2013, 04:09 AM
I looked at this a few months back and came to some conclusions regarding leadership in the church.

I expect most churches have something like a Council and a board of Elders. The Elders handle spiritual matters and the Council handles secular matters, like property and finances. Paul discusses the qualifications of Elders in some detail (as in 1 Ti 3), but there are no separate qualifications for Council members. In one case, IIRC an Elder was handling the treasury. So it seems to me that everyone in some leadership position should at a minimum meet the qualifications of an Elder.

The other thing I looked at was voting. Is it proper for the congregation to be voting on things, and if so, does that vote have the final authority? Best as I can tell there is no instance where a congregation itself has authority over the overseers. In my church if there is a formal vote on something, the outcome stands regardless of what the Pastor and Council want. I do not think that is a Biblical model. Any thoughts?

The other issue with congressional voting is who is allowed to vote? Each member? Head of household only? Spiritual Head of Household only?

This becomes an issue with the women. 1Ti 2:9-15 discusses the role of women and 1Ti 2:12 specifically says women should not have authority over men. The specific word used for authority has negative connotations, such as dominate or usurp. Often this means men only in Elder or Council positions. But what about voting?

Does casting a single vote constitute exercising authority over men? I am not convinced it does.

Even if it did this becomes a problem only when the voters have authority over the overseers.

From what I have read so far I think the right Biblical model is:

All positions of leadership, Elders and more secular positions such as Treasurer, must at a minimum meet the qualifications of Elders.
Once the overseers have been determined, they have final authority. Voting, if done, would be used only to get the "voice of the congregation", not to make final decisions.
The Spiritual Head of Household would get to vote. Normally this would be the male. Sometimes this is the female. If for example, the woman is not married, or the husband has passed on, or the husband is not a member of the church.
Overseers should be male.

Anyway this is where I am with my reading.

WITDNM
Oct 21st 2013, 02:22 PM
I believe that Acts chapter 15 contains some magnificent truths regarding the dynamic of church government.

What's interesting about that chapter is that I believe one can see a blend of all 3 of the traditional forms of government in there, drawing on the strengths of all 3.

I am having trouble seeing "all 3 of the traditional forms of government in there". The church in Jerusalem had 'elders' (15:2,6,22). This would exclude, 'one ruling elder'. The 'whole church' is mentioned in 15:22 but the 'whole church' under the oversight of elders would exclude a 'democratic' type of government.

It has been suggested the letter to Titus be read. Titus was charged with setting in order what was 'lacking' and appoint qualified 'elders' in every city. Obviously, churches existed prior to elders being appointed and some type of congregational means of decision making was in place. The problem with a strict 'democratic' system is the vote of the young and inexperienced would carry the same weight as the older and wiser. Churches without elders are described as 'lacking'. Decision making by voting, with elders in place, destroys the oversight of the elders. Elders could make a decision against the majority of the congregation. The 'one ruling elder' is unscriptural unless you count Diotrephes in III John.

ChangedByHim
Oct 21st 2013, 03:30 PM
I am having trouble seeing "all 3 of the traditional forms of government in there". The church in Jerusalem had 'elders' (15:2,6,22). This would exclude, 'one ruling elder'. The 'whole church' is mentioned in 15:22 but the 'whole church' under the oversight of elders would exclude a 'democratic' type of government.




Presbyterial: Acts 15:6 Now the apostles and elders came together to consider this matter.
Episcopal: Acts 15:19 Therefore I [James] judge that we should not trouble those from among the Gentiles who are turning to God
Congregational: Acts 15:22 Then it pleased the apostles and elders, with the whole church

carboy
Oct 21st 2013, 06:19 PM
The Spirit spoke to the church and said "Set apart for Me Barnabas and Saul." Notice at this point Barnabas is still listed first. Paul was still under Barnabas. Equal but first.

Leadership is functional and linear. Equal. The first among equals if I may. Let the weaker vessel receive the most honor. (The babes in Christ who need taken care of, or those hurting in the numerous ways.) The higher you go the lower you are or in christianese "the less of you." A crucified life. Leaders are to be training up their replacements with the intent that they would do far greater things than they. As Jesus said you shall do greater works than these.
Plural, accountable and tested. Hence the term elder. The exception would be a young leader. Most will be elder.

I believe what trips us up is the term government. There are principles of leadership and church dynamic. There are people who love organizing a project and those who love participating but never want to see a pie chart or cost analyses of materials. Some are better at the nuts and bolts and others at driving. Our joy is found in where we fit. Bricks held together in the wall that make up the house. We just need to find where we fit.

We are all called to disciple, we are all ministers, councilors, some have been given the grace to oversee, the grace to deal with the building up of the body 24/7. Most of us will not have the gifting to do so, but we all have gifts. And leaders will be held to a higher standard and will also come under the enemies attack more than the rest of us and they need our prayers always.

WITDNM
Oct 22nd 2013, 03:54 PM
Presbyterial: Acts 15:6 Now the apostles and elders came together to consider this matter.
Episcopal: Acts 15:19 Therefore I [James] judge that we should not trouble those from among the Gentiles who are turning to God
Congregational: Acts 15:22 Then it pleased the apostles and elders, with the whole church


When we read a passage of scripture, are we free to draw whatever conclusions we choose from it? When we read what James had to say on the matter, is it necessary to conclude he was acting as "one ruling elder"? When we read the whole church was pleased, is it necessary to conclude that some kind of "democratic" process was in place?

ChangedByHim
Oct 22nd 2013, 04:09 PM
When we read a passage of scripture, are we free to draw whatever conclusions we choose from it?

You seem to imply that your conclusions are more valid than mine. We are to draw the conclusions that the Holy Spirit reveals to us. Shall I give you chapter and verse for that?



When we read what James had to say on the matter, is it necessary to conclude he was acting as "one ruling elder"?

James took in the counsel of the apostles and elders and MADE THE DECISION.



When we read the whole church was pleased, is it necessary to conclude that some kind of "democratic" process was in place?

There was no vote, nor should there have been. However, the people did voice their feelings on the matter. Otherwise, we would not know that they were pleased.


My point is that there are aspects of all three within this process in Acts 15. None of the 3 are strong enough on their own merit, but when applying the best parts of the 3, it creates a balance that is needed.

Reynolds357
Oct 23rd 2013, 01:23 AM
What kind of Church Government does your church have?

Traditional types:

Episcopal (one ruling elder)
Presbyterial (plurality of ruling elders)
Congregational (democratic)

Congregational. Though all systems are flawed, I see it as the least flawed. Seen too many dictators in the pulpit over my years of being in Pentecostal and Charismatic churches. It always seemed to me that the less administrative and financial power the pastor has the better things always worked in the long run.

Reynolds357
Oct 23rd 2013, 01:25 AM
That's a pretty scathing remark. Perhaps you should walk a mile in their shoes being issuing your harsh critique.

I would love for you to ask my congregation that question.

You seem to be the exception to the norm. I dont mean that sarcastically.

ChangedByHim
Oct 23rd 2013, 02:34 AM
You seem to be the exception to the norm. I dont mean that sarcastically.

Thanks Reynolds but I really don't see how that could be. People get an image of ministers based on TV personalities, but there are thousands of God's servants within the body who have true servant's hearts.

Reynolds357
Oct 23rd 2013, 02:59 AM
Thanks Reynolds but I really don't see how that could be. People get an image of ministers based on TV personalities, but there are thousands of God's servants within the body who have true servant's hearts.

I dont get my image based on TV pastors. I get my image through those I have dealt with personally over the years. I have known and continue to know some very humble, very servant minded, baptist pastors. Most, and I do mean most and not all, Pentecostal pastors I have dealt with are very authoritarian. Most want people to blindly follow them. I will have to say that in my geographic area, the vast majority of Pentecostal church members are poorly educated. I do not know if the pastors feel they have to be dictatorial due to that fact. It reminds me of the Nicolaitans.

ChangedByHim
Oct 23rd 2013, 05:14 AM
I dont get my image based on TV pastors. I get my image through those I have dealt with personally over the years. I have known and continue to know some very humble, very servant minded, baptist pastors. Most, and I do mean most and not all, Pentecostal pastors I have dealt with are very authoritarian. Most want people to blindly follow them. I will have to say that in my geographic area, the vast majority of Pentecostal church members are poorly educated. I do not know if the pastors feel they have to be dictatorial due to that fact. It reminds me of the Nicolaitans.

It's hard for me to speak to that other than to say I don't doubt you. Church government is a real balancing act and some fail to maintain proper balance. I'm not sure that it's always due to lack of a servant's heart though.

Ta-An
Oct 23rd 2013, 10:55 AM
What kind of Church Government does your church have?

Traditional types:

Episcopal (one ruling elder)
Presbyterial (plurality of ruling elders)
Congregational (democratic)
And then there are the Methodologists ( A set rule of thumb for doing things)
And the deep water Baptizers :D

WITDNM
Oct 23rd 2013, 02:36 PM
You seem to imply that your conclusions are more valid than mine. We are to draw the conclusions that the Holy Spirit reveals to us. Shall I give you chapter and verse for that?

Are you saying it's not possible for the Spirit to lead me to more valid conclusions than yours?

Boo
Oct 24th 2013, 09:09 AM
Don't most people who are very authoritarian in their interpretation eventually go to the "because the Holy Spirit told me so" position?

There are those who are convinced that they know what is true, and those same people cannot see how anyone else can think differently. The accusations of error run rampant in many threads.

I guess we forget the parts of the Sermon on the Mount about meekness and humility.

Since most churches choose a Pastor and look to him as their king, the flesh sticks out and that person starts talking like one. Give a man an office, and soon he becomes a CEO over whatever that office administers, and everyone else becomes his or her employee.

Avoiding error in the church is better done through a council of Christians who can lovingly determine a path. That is rare however. We were not "brought up that way.

It is possible, I suppose, that a one-Pastor-and-no-Elders church can be Godly in Administration. If I ever find one, I'll start a post about it.

ChangedByHim
Oct 24th 2013, 11:22 AM
Are you saying it's not possible for the Spirit to lead me to more valid conclusions than yours?

I'm saying that you appear to assume that position.

WITDNM
Oct 24th 2013, 03:17 PM
I'm saying that you appear to assume that position.
And you appear to assume the position it's not possible for my Spirit lead conclusions to be better than yours.

Earlier you posted.

I believe that Acts chapter 15 contains some magnificent truths regarding the dynamic of church government.

What's interesting about that chapter is that I believe one can see a blend of all 3 of the traditional forms of government in there, drawing on the strengths of all 3. I said the presence of elders would have excluded any democratic process. You now say.

There was no vote, nor should there have been. However, the people did voice their feelings on the matter. Otherwise, we would not know that they were pleased.

We have reached the same conclusion.




James took in the counsel of the apostles and elders and MADE THE DECISION.

Did the apostles, and the elders, and the whole church, go along with James because he was the "one ruling elder", or was it because they were pleased with James' judgement? What if they were not pleased with James' judgement, would they have to go along with it because he was the "one ruling elder" ?

ChangedByHim
Oct 24th 2013, 03:45 PM
Did the apostles, and the elders, and the whole church, go along with James because he was the "one ruling elder", or was it because they were pleased with James' judgement? What if they were not pleased with James' judgement, would they have to go along with it because he was the "one ruling elder" ?

James was the ruling elder among equals. They did nothing without seeking the Lord. They discussed it openly and I'm sure prayed through the matter. In the end, James knew the mind of the Lord and gave the final word. The elders and apostles were in harmony and the congregation was in agreement... This is a model we should seek to attain.

teddyv
Oct 24th 2013, 03:49 PM
BTW ChangedByHim, what model does you church use?

ChangedByHim
Oct 24th 2013, 04:03 PM
BTW ChangedByHim, what model does you church use?

We attempt to follow the Acts 15 model. We have elders and we seek the Lord and get in agreement before we do anything. As the leader, I will give the final word. We don't do "congregational votes" and we don't have a "deacon board." I would challenge anyone to find an example of either in the NT.

teddyv
Oct 24th 2013, 05:13 PM
We attempt to follow the Acts 15 model. We have elders and we seek the Lord and get in agreement before we do anything. As the leader, I will give the final word. We don't do "congregational votes" and we don't have a "deacon board." I would challenge anyone to find an example of either in the NT.So as the pastor (IIRC), are you a de facto elder?

ChangedByHim
Oct 24th 2013, 05:17 PM
So as the pastor (IIRC), are you a de facto elder?

Per Peter and John's own statements in their epistles, all five-fold minister are elders. However, not all elders are five-fold ministers. Five-fold is called and appointed by God alone, but we read where Paul told Titus to appoint elders to help set things in order.

teddyv
Oct 24th 2013, 06:00 PM
Per Peter and John's own statements in their epistles, all five-fold minister are elders. However, not all elders are five-fold ministers. Five-fold is called and appointed by God alone, but we read where Paul told Titus to appoint elders to help set things in order.
Just reading up on five-fold ministry, since it's not commonly used in my denominational tradition, but seems common to Pentecostalism (again if I recall, that's your denomination). How is the determination that one is called and appointed by God alone? Perhaps this is a bit of a derail.

ChangedByHim
Oct 24th 2013, 08:40 PM
Just reading up on five-fold ministry, since it's not commonly used in my denominational tradition, but seems common to Pentecostalism (again if I recall, that's your denomination). How is the determination that one is called and appointed by God alone? Perhaps this is a bit of a derail.

Hey Teddy. I started a thread on the five-fold a while back. Within, I have posts on each of the five gifts. Here's a link:

http://bibleforums.org/showthread.php/248336-Five-Fold-Minstry-Gifts?highlight=fold

Boo
Oct 25th 2013, 09:41 AM
I find it interesting that one can be a preacher but not a teacher. One can be a teacher but not a preacher. One can be a prophet yet not a preacher or a teacher. Still one can be an evangelist - listed separately. Also, one can be an apostle, and somehow that is different from being an evangelist.

Are these skills or job assignments?

Which one of these is a pastor?