The Transaction of Church Business
Memory Verse: 1Corinthians 14:40
Prayer: That our members will interest themselves in all the business affairs of the church and that there will be harmony in our work at all times.
Verses: Acts 6:1-7, 11:22-24, 29,30; 1Cor. 16:1-3, 14:26-38; 2Cor. 8:18,19; James 3:16; 1Tim.
2:8; Phil. 4:18.
The Scripture commands that all things are to be done decently and in order (1Cor. 14:40). While every thing has not been laid out in minute detail in Scripture, yet wherein details have been given about church order, these are to be obeyed, and only where no commands or examples are given are we justified in reasoning it out. Good order in God’s House manifests respect for the God of the House, and slipshod methods and disorderliness show disrespect.
Someone has said that there were at least five different forms of church government in apostolic times, all based upon the local conditions. Yet between all these churches of differing politics, there was intercommunication and fellowship. It was really only one generic type - democratic - with two orders of officials, and two ordinances. Christ is the head of His kind of churches and the Pastor is the under-shepherd; but the government of the church, so far as regards the interpretation and execution of His will by the body, is an absolute democracy. In which the whole body of members...“the whole multitude” ( Acts 6:5)…is entrusted with the duty and responsibility of carrying out the laws of Christ as expressed in His Word.
The business meetings of a church should be conducted as much as possible in the spirit of devotion. Meetings for business should not be needlessly multiplied, nor should they be unwisely neglected. It may not be wise to insist too rigidly on the observance of standard parliamentary rules, yet it is still worse to drift into a loose unbusinesslike way, which wastes time, accomplishes little, and does wrongly much that is done. Usually, the Pastor is, by virtue of his office, moderator of all church business meetings. In Romans 12:11, we are admonished to be “not slothful in business; fervent in spirit, serving the Lord.” Since God’s business is the biggest business in all the world, His business should be cared for in a businesslike manner. Business meetings can be held anytime that it becomes necessary, but after the Wednesday evening service seems to be the best time for most meetings. In the first place, the people are already there. Then also, the people are in a spiritual frame of mind after a good service and fellowship around the Word of God.
The following constitutes the generally accepted rules of order for churches and other deliberative bodies in business proceedings (adopted from Roberts Rules of Order):
1. All business shall be presented by a motion, made by one member, and seconded by another.
2. No discussion can properly be had until the motion is made, seconded, and stated by the chairman (Pastor).
3. A motion having been discussed, must be put to a vote, unless withdrawn, laid on the table, referred or postponed.
4. Only one question can properly be before the meeting at any one time.
5. any member desiring to speak on a question should rise in his place and address the moderator, confine his remarks to the question, and avoid all unkind and disrespectful language.
6. A question is put to vote by the chairman having first distinctly restated it, that all may vote intelligently. First, the affirmative, then the negative.
7. All members should vote.
8. Voting is usually done by “aye” and “nay”, or by raising the hand.
9. A motion to adjourn is always in order when business is completed.
10. Try to keep everything simple, short and to the point.
When business meetings are held frequently and as needed and people are encouraged to speak on all motions, they know that nothing is being done under the table and that they have a voice in the ongoing of the church. Because people know that they have a right to speak, many times they do not exercise that right. A right that is taken away is exercised more than a right that is granted. A pastor or deacons can make recommendations - but they are just that - recommendations. The pastor and deacons have no authority. All the authority rests with the church body. However when the church has confidence in the leadership of the Pastor and the deacons, they will most happily follow the recommendations made. When there is an informed membership there is a happy membership. An uninformed membership can be an unhappy and rebellious membership. One final note here. It is wise to have a two week's notice before calling a business meeting of major importance. In something of major importance such as the calling of a pastor, the building of a building, the borrowing of money, the buying of property, etc., an announcement should be made at least two Sunday mornings before the business meeting is conducted so as to give every member of the church adequate knowledge of what is to be transacted.
Pastors and deacons, the only divinely appointed church officers, should be duly ordained and brought to understand the sacred duties devolving upon them (Acts 14:23, 6:1-6, 2:42). Neither preachers nor deacons are to be “bosses” over the church (1Pet. 5:3). The word “Deacon” means a “servant.” Baptist churches that allow a pastor, a group of preachers, a “board” of deacons, or any other clique to run them has ceased to be scriptural in it’s government and has left Baptist principles, and has become basically Episcopal (preacher rule) or Presbyterian (rule by a presbytery or board), instead of congregational in it’s church government. Granted, pastors are to be followed (Heb. 13:7,17,24), and godly deacons command much respect by their dedicated lives, but all major decisions in a church must be by the vote of the whole membership.
There surely can be nothing more vital to the interests of a church than the reception, exclusion, and restoration of members. This is the foundation principle of congregational church government (Matt. 16:19; 18:15-17; Rom. 14:1; 1Cor. 5:9-13). Even Peter, the first pope (HaHa) asked for a vote before receiving new converts (Acts 10:47). If a church has this right, some form of voting is necessary to exercise it, and different forms of voting is shown in other business matters (Acts 6:1-6, voting by lot), (Acts 14:23 “ordain” - to elect by stretching out the hand).
In the first chapter of Acts there is an account of the election of Mathias to the apostleship. The 120 disciples of this first church gave forth their lot for Mathias to replace Judas. In Acts 6, where servants (deacons) were needed, not only the disciples, but the whole multitude of the disciples (church) acted, and voted for the seven men recommended. In support of the fundamental principle of congregationalism, the following facts are stated:
· The “whole church” - the “brethren” - are named in connection with the “apostles and elders” (Acts 15:22-23).
· The churches of apostolic times sent forth ministers on missionary tours (Acts 11:22, 13:1-5, 14:26-27).
· After a long journey Paul and Barnabas, returned and reported to their church of their many labors.
· The apostles, so far from exercising lordship over the churches, did not control their charities (Acts 11:29-30; 1Cor. 16:1-2; 2Cor. 9:7).
· The churches selected messengers to convey their charities (1Cor. 16:3; 2Cor. 8:18-19; Phil. 2:25, 4:18).
The church body also votes to grant a letter to dismiss a faithful member that they might join a sister church of the same faith and practice in a distant area (Acts 15:19-27; Rom. 16:1-2; Acts 18:27).