Friday, December 31, 2010
[An email exchange]
Our congregation is without elders. Without going into details, we are in desperate need of some teaching on church government.
I just completed my 1st year as minister of this congregation and feel I have built enough rapport with the members to begin speaking on this matter. However, I feel someone else may be more qualified than I am to speak on this subject.
Do you have any suggestions? Where do I start?
I like to go slow in situations like this. I choose not to choose sides with people. If some people are doing wrong (and all are: 1 John 1:8), it is because they do not know what they are doing (Luke 23:34). If they do not know what they are doing, I surely do not know what they are doing. I try to find out what they are doing by asking questions to learn for my benefit – not to change them. If, in the process, I find out what they are doing, they may find out what they are doing and want to do something differently.
When people criticize other people in the congregation – especially leadership – I like to ask, “How long has it been that way?”. If the situation has been that way for a long time, I then like to find out, “Why do you like it that way?”. Their reply usually is, “I don’t like it that way.” But they do. They like it the way it is more that what it would take to change it.