Guest Author - Dountonia S. Slack
Most church meetings are anything but about “my Father’s business” (Luke 2:49). Often, we incorrectly place matters of insignificance, such as building projects and curtain colors, as priority over the spiritual development of the congregants or the evangelism of the lost. I have witnessed and researched enraged incidents of brethren vying for positions or embittered because the “proper” chain of command was not followed. I have heard speech that is less than gracious used by church leadership and excused by others who choose not to address the sin because of the one who committed the sin. And, I have experienced seemingly sincere corporate worship then watched the very same people almost come to blows at an after-service special call meeting.
Needless to say, I am not a fan of church business meetings. Maybe it is the name we call it that causes the chaos and confusion. Just because there is a summit to discuss the non-spiritual business affairs of the church should not make the gathering any less concerned about being Christ-like (Colossians 3:23). As a matter of fact, discussing and resolving these issues with grace and the wisdom of God is an expectation of those who have been placed as good stewards over all that has been given to us by God. So, to be clear, I am not dismissing the necessity of such meetings but I am outraged by the content and conduct of participants at some of these assemblies.
The church is not a business or an organization and should not be run as such. According to the Bible, the church is the body of Christ. It is an organized organism of all those who have placed their faith in Jesus Christ for salvation (John 3:16; 1 Corinthians 12:13). Local churches are gatherings of members of the collective church. The local church is where the members of the collective church can fully apply the “body” principles of 1 Corinthians chapter 12: encouraging, teaching, and building one another up in the knowledge and grace of the Lord Jesus Christ even when we meet for the purpose of church business. Thus, these meetings are supposed to be another form of worship because all of life is worship for the Christian.
In Acts 1:15-26, we find a model of how to conduct a biblical business meeting. Pastor Robert J. Sergent of Bible Baptist Church in Oak Harbor, Washington summarizes this passage into seven key principles we should keep in mind as the blueprint for church meetings: 1) Pastoral Initiative (verse 15a); 2) Biblical Purpose (verse 16); 3) Pastoral Leadership (verses 21-22); 4) Qualified Proposals (verse 23); 5) Fervent Prayer (verse 24); 6) Congregational Decision (verse 26a); and, 7) Heavenly Ratification (verse 26b). If we keep these precepts at the forefront of our renewed thinking, then our meetings would be less political, power-thirsty, and oppressive and more like the called out assembly Christ established.
My spirit grieves whenever the agenda of a church is more concerned about the unnecessary beautification/expansion of a temporal dwelling than helping others develop a passion for Christ. While we bicker over things that will wither like the grass, our children go off to college and do not return to our churches; new converts disappear before we know their names ; and, far too many sinners believe that their sins are too grievous to be forgiven by our Loving Father. Hence, we need to move on Christ's Agenda and daily die to self (mortify our rights, demands, and will for Christ’s life to be lived through us) everyday in every situation including when we come to the table for the "meeting to be called to order" (I Corinthians 14:40).