There is a discussion going on out in the Reformed Blogs about church government and ministers who shame the church through a lack of integrity. Go here, Jolly Blogger and I imagine you can follow the links around and get in on this discussion.
Anyway, a bit of my story. 1. Our church is elder or council led and it is great!! 2. Many people in our church come from pastor as king churches that had all kinds of problems. All too often the problems are about money. 3. The structure itself can bring about the attitudes that lead to the problems.
Now, #1 is actually the reason I decided to post on church government. As a pastor, I can tend to say. This elder led church government needs some changes. I feel like this when I am being impatient with the implementation of change process. Basically, I want more power. That is a pretty bad sign that my heart is not in the right place. As a leader, I need to work with the team and communicate and get buy in on ideas etc. etc.
The big point is this process in and of itself is great. Friendships build. It keeps us focused on people and not success. It forced the pastor to pray and trust in the Lord. It creates team and actually keeps a workaholic like me from doing all the work. The experience of team work itself can be the kingdom. In other words, meetings in church settings if done prayerfully are a joyful and kingdom thing. God shows up at the meetings themselves.
Last night, I had a worship planning meeting. If you don't know what this is, this is when a group plans the service. The meeting was just a total God thing. When it goes well and you know that the team is in sink with the Lord, this is the way to go!!
I come from a "pastor" led type church background (third wave churches). I was a worship leader, and I never had to ask anybody for any input on anything. As an artist, this is great, but as a Christian, I am not so sure. Did I have to build team? No. Did I have to listen to the gifts of others? No. Was I free to do as I was "led"? Yes. You see as a leader who just wants great music and artistic creativity, the gifted guy as king model works, but for all the qualities of the kingdom like love (hello) and honesty and communication (hello) and accountability (hello), the committee led church structure is the way to go.
A year ago, I was totally in the "give me all the power" camp. I saw churches running in this mode l were growing all around me, but the pric eto the soul is too high. The pastor of the church I really was looking up to has since had a moral falling.
The bottom line is that it is tempting for the gifted person be it in music or in preaching and teaching to want more control but the end of this system is far too risky. So my vote goes to the egalitarian and democratic model of the council led church.
Hallelujah, I am a convert.