Skip to comments.Who Has The Final Say: Pastor, Deacon Board Or Voting Members?
Posted on 05/22/2013 7:21:09 AM PDT by Laissez-faire capitalist
If a pastor says that he has prayed and sought direction from God, and yet is opposed by the deacon board, should the pastor be able to overrule them? Do deacons occupy a role beyond that of an advisor? Are they equal in authority to the pastor? I'm not saying that a deacon board is no better than dirt (by any stretch of the imagination, as they do have a necessary and Biblical role to fill), but I can't find any scripture where a deacon board has authority equal to that of a psator.
It has been said that the pastor is God's gift to the church, and the board the church's gift to the pastor. Yet the two cannot be equal, as God's gifts are greater than man's gifts, because God is greater than man.
Secondly, if the church is to embark upon a building program, should the decision be left up to the deacon board, with each of them putting down their assets as collateral (which is the case in some denominations depending upon the church's affiliation - be it district or national), or should each tithe-paying voting member have a vote (and thus a say) in any building program, and with enough yes votes, putting the church itself up as collateral?
Should any position (be it pastor or deacon) be permanent and never voted upon?
Just spitballing here but um .... I believe that God has the final say.
What say you?
If the pastor says he has paryed and sought God, says that it is God’s will on something, the deacons though say no, and the deacons somehow overrule the pastor, can/should the tithe-paying voting members override the deacon board?
It all depends on how that particular church is setup rules wise.
I the NT, deacons did NOT have that authority at all.
There are many questions to be answered before one can answer that question.
Strange question for this forum...but depends on the founding docs of the church I would think.
Pastor = CEO
Deacon Board = Board of Directors
Voting Members = Shareholders
I know a lot of people are uncomfortable with comparing churches and businesses. But that's the way things work.
Otherwise, it comes down to a "My God/Jesus is superior to your God/Jesus" mud slinging match.
Look at the Charter and Bylaws.
If you are going to play by the Govt’s rules of incorporation, etc. that is what you play by (failed man’s system).
That said, I believe in the unity of the Spirit, which I interpret as, if you and I disagree, one or both of us is wrong. Meanwhile, God is right. Finding His will may be difficult, or may take patience.
Recall Paul and his desire to go to Rome (I think), and the opposition by other Christians. The Holy Spirit worked it out.
I would like all leaders to agree in making a decision. Upper room — all of one accord. But Christianity is not a cut-and-dried set of rules that we humans desire, but obedience to the Spirit of God.
As do I...but I seriously doubt that Jesus will taken solid form and give His decision at a/any church meeting.
And so we have His word - the Bible - to go by.
I see no place where the deacon board and or church board has much of a say in anything.
Apples and oranges.
While a church has to be run like a business, it itself is not a business.
re: “Who Has The Final Say: Pastor, Deacon Board Or Voting Members?”
If your church belongs to a denomination that has a governing board outside of your individual church, such as Catholic, Lutheran, Episcopalian, etc. Those denomination’s ecclesiastical authorities usually determine who the pastor will be, funding, etc.
Other denominations, like Southern Baptist, or in “independent” churches (who have no formal denominational affiliation) the local church is independent of any outside authority. Each church elects its own deacons, elders, pastors, ministry staff (music, education, etc.). Also, these more independent churches usually have a church “constitution” which is supposed to give guidelines as to how the church makes decisions, the job descriptions of every position in the church (including the pastor, deacons, etc.)
In churches that do not have a constitution, often it is the founding group or pastor who decide all the decisions.
If your church is not affiliated with one of the liturgical denominations, you need to find out if your church has a “constitution” or some kind of formally voted on document that determines the role, the decision-making process, etc. If your church doesn’t have a constitution, then it is pretty much up to tradition within that church as to who has the authority to make decisions.
Of course, all decisions should be based on Scriptural guidelines, but unfortunately, that doesn’t always happen.
Interesting organizational chart Ping.
Excellent points, SA, and each answer will lead to further questions. For L-FC, you also need to understand that, in the original Greek, the word for deacon meant “minister” or “servant”, implying that a deacon has a ministry of service or work for a particular function. The words “pastor” and “elder” are similar and indicate a responsibility to have authority over the congregation for their spiritual well-being.
In an independent, congregationally-organized local church, the functions and hierarchy would be a group of elders that are local congregation members that would hire a minister or ministers for specific functions, i.e pulpit/preaching, youth, outreach/missions, etc. The elders would also select deacons and name them to specific works/ministries of the church. Within those functions, the elders would be seeing to the spiritual side of church operations but would also have executive authority for business operations. JMO, but I think this best follows the New Testament pattern.
In my (long and painful) experience, no matter what happens, someone's ox will be gored and they will leave with much acrimony. If enought oxen were gored the church will split with much acrimony. Either way it will be difficult.
This stuff is why I am seriously considering giving up on congregational churches.
Personal example. Our former Pastor brought in a speaker who by all measures was a heretic to speak for a week straight. Without knowledge of the council who the man was. The pastor vouched for him, because he prayed about it and said he felt led. The council, held a vote and said the pastor had lost our confidence, and we were going to bring evidence before the body of the church. The Pastor resigned and left the church. The body has the ultimate say so, because we have the word of God to test these men against scripture. There are wolves among the sheep.
Assuming they have all prayed as they should - their final vote should be in unison where someone, through prayer, saw the error of their ways. God doesn't give different answers. So someone is amiss here. I say they each go back until they are all in unison and comfortable about it. If nothing else, it's an exercise in hearing God correctly and being humble enough to admit you didn't hear correctly earlier. That kills any pride that may exist among them. Then the church will grow - new building or not.
What particular denomination has piqued your curiosity?
This happened in my old church. The elders quit, and many members quit.
I quit before the elders. My daughters didn’t like the youth group, and started going to another youth group on Saturday. That church is big and has Saturday services. For about 6 months, i went to both churches. Then my husband, started visiting the new church, and then my son.
The new church was so much happier. The sermons were so much better. They had so many opportunities to serve. I also liked that they has lots of guest speakers and other pastors that regularly spoke.
My old church was small, and I was increasingly feeling like it was the church of the pastor. One time, he said that if we didn’t feel called to go to Morrocco with a missions group, then we needed to reexamine our hearts. I was so discouraged by that sermon. My family has lots of medical problems (daughter with epilepsy, daughter with a movement disorder, husband with cancer).
My old church made me feel guilty that I wasn’t doing enough. The new church encourages me in my day to day activities, and given me lots of opportunities to serve that I have taken advantage of.
If you study the NT you will find no “Pastor” ever leading a church, no “Deacon Board” governing it, and no membership voting on anything.
The word “poimen” (pastor or shepherd) is always plural in the NT except when used in reference to the Lord Jesus; the early churches were governed by the elders - always plural again - who had final say.
A man as head of a church is from the world system, not scripture. Same for a voting membership. Deacons were not in church governance in scripture, but were servers in the practical realm.
Since your church (and the majority of others) do not follow the pattern given in scripture, but devised by man and his fleshly thinking and tradition, there is no answer to your question from scripture.
The good news is that God’s grace is such that He can still accomplish His will in spite of man’s doing things his own way instead of God’s way. It’s not so frequent though.