That’s right...those of you that have been in church life for any amount of time know what this time of the year brings. I remember when, Tracy and I first got Radiant Fellowship...re-launched after only a year and a half of it’s first launch (don’t ask). With a new leadership team, we wrestled with the term “membership.” I had people on the leadership team (long time church goers) in their 50’s down to their 20’s. All of us agreed we would rather chew on glass than become a “member” of a church ever again. This is when we decided to adopt the wording “partner.” This was an idea borrowed from Mars Hill church (the biblical one in Grand Rapids, MI.). It really takes away the elitist mentality that the word “member” implies.
Politics are alive and well in churches today...I could write a book about my first youth pastorate position...oh wait....I am! Politics are alive and well throughout many denominations as well. I have had people politic to me about being a part of “the board” at Radiant Fellowship. Sadly they don’t see that this is not impressive to me. In fact, to me, it reeks of a person wanting to be a controller. These are the ones that usually end up leaving to pull a power play somewhere else. Again...the very thought of a normal church board makes me throw up in my mouth a bit each time I talk about it. Typically, what a person equates a church board to, is a group of stodgy men NOT doing ministry while making decisions that effect ministries within the church. Think about that for a minute. EPIC FAIL! What inevitably happens when it’s annual church business meeting time? People begin to nominate others they would like to see on the church board. After a few weeks of “prayer” the church votes which really turns into a popularity contest. Someone is going to win and guess what...someone is going to lose. This is not healthy for a church. In other words...someone is going to be encouraged and likewise someone is going to be let down.
I am happy to say that at Radiant Fellowship we do not nominate and vote. Last year at our church business meeting it was unanimously voted that I appoint our team. We changed our bylaws to reflect this change. If you think we are a bunch of yes people...you obviously have never been to one of our staff meetings. Creative differences are what makes ministry flourish if “the chair...usually the pastor” is willing to back down once in awhile. The same implies for others on the team. You know what came of that decision to appoint? Those DOING ministry (pd. staff and spouses) are now the board. We have another person who is not on staff as an acting board member to bring insight from outside of the bubble. I am pretty loose on a lot of things but am a raging stickler that if you are going to be on the board than your life and family life must be exemplary before God. I am so happy to say that these families/individuals are living that. Each one unique and yet honoring God in a way that works for them. Remind me to someday talk about how I view the word “exemplary”.
Annual church business meetings can be one of the greatest meetings held within a church. They can also be, for some, the most ungodly, non-scriptural, power-hungry meetings someone will ever attend. I literally have prayed with other pastors that go into these meetings because they are living on Malox due to the stress. This is not of God.
I am so thankful for a church that gets it. We have a great time and love God. We keep the main thing the main thing which is serving and reaching out. This makes this pastor VERY happy to serve and quite honestly I do not and cannot see myself being anywhere else.