I had an interesting conversation with a member of one of our churches the other day. The member was dismayed at what he perceived as a small minority of the church though powerful, but stagnant lay leadership standing in the way of the progress of the church. These people should simply step asided and let the church progress.
I think this is an interesting question that comes up often. A few thoughts immediately came to mind. First, all leadership is considered backward and not effective by someone. I know I have been considered that by some. Perhaps I was. At any rate, when you are voted to leadership of the church, you are expected to act in ways that you think are in the best interests of the church. If you vote someone as an Elder, don’t get mad if they run the church in a way that you don’t think is best. Simply vote them out when the time comes.
Here the member seemed to be upset with the church elected officials doing what they think is right. Yet, it seems that the church wants to keep them in becuase they keep electing them. If these people are truly in the minority, then why doesn’t the majority just vote them out?
Well, perhaps it is becuase the majority does not wish to speak. Maybe they just want to enjoy the benefits of a Sabbath morning entertainment session rather than taking ownership in the church they attend. Whatever the case, most of our churches are run by a vocal 10% of the church simply becuase they are the only ones that show up at the business meetings.
That elder who we assume is backward is doing what he thinks is right. Don’t get mad at him, he is working and buidling up the church to the best of his ability. He or she is not getting paid for that effort that is invested in the church. And as one who has been a local elder, he or she is not getting the respect that you think he or she is. At any rate, don’t get mad at the elder, get mad at the 90% of the church who think that church is something that you just show up for. Get mad at the 90% who do nothing and don’t want to do anything. Get mad at the 90% who think it is too much to show up for a once a month business meeting.
In short, vote the elder out and put in effective leadership. But the elder is only a symptom of the larger problem. When you build a church based on those who only wish to consume religious entertainment, then you will be disapointed trying to turn those “consumers” into “producers” of anything. In many cases, they will simply move on to the next “young powerful preacher” who has a better “show” on Sabbath morning.