|By: Bill Easum|
|Most of my ministry (a span of almost fifty years) has been accomplished within the framework of two denominations whose polity was some form of democratic rule. In other words, to get something done it had to be voted on either by the congregation or a group of elected representatives of the congregation.
I say most of my ministry because, before settling into a denominational context, I had several years where I preached on the streets and in street missions or trans-denominational evangelistic ministries. Then the last fifteen years, as a consultant, I have served in a wide variety of venues – both denominational and non-denominational.
As I look back on these nearly fifty years of sharing the Gospel, one thing stands out above everything else – the most fruitful periods of my ministry were the years in which I functioned outside of any form of democratic rule and did what I felt God wanted me to do – whatever the interference of democratic rule – my early years and the last fifteen years. I have to conclude that the number one enemy to the effectiveness of God’s ministry through me was the fact that I had to waste time dealing with the effects of democratic rule. But that’s not all I observed.
As I examine the effective churches I’ve seen these last fifteen years, it’s painfully clear that the less effect democratic rule has on them the more of an asset the churches are to the advancement of the Kingdom of God. What I mean by that is this:
On the one hand, if those churches were within a framework that required democratic rule, the pastors had found a way around having to vote on things. On the other hand, the vast majority of the great churches do not live by democratic rule. Instead, they function around pastoral authority. The pastor is the spiritual leader. But this isn’t the whole story.
Add to this the fact that democratic rule isn’t God’s plan for the church in the Scriptures.
The moral – the less reliance on democratic rule the more authentic and effective the church becomes.
Let’s get honest for a moment. The vast majority of the great churches in this country (anyway you want to describe great) either have found a way around democratic rule or never practiced it in the first place.
So what’s a leader suppose to do if caught in a system that requires democratic rule?
For more see my book to be released in April 2006 “Go Big: How to Have Explosive Growth”. You will be able to get it in our store or at Abingdon or Amazon.