What ever happened to the guidance of the Holy Spirit when it comes to making decisions in the church? Do we really believe that voting on something is the way to go? Shouldn’t we be trying to discern God’s will rather than the will of the congregation? Are academic credentials really more important than charismatic, Holy Spirit-filled leadership?
These are just some of the questions I continually raise when I see the way most church structures have been hijacked by modernity, democracy and Robert’s Rules of Order. Our way of organizing and running the church is so far removed from what we see in the Acts of the Apostles that one wonders how we could have strayed so far from the path. We seem more enamored with secular business practices than we are with God’s way of doing things.
In the Acts of the Apostles, which should be called the Acts of the Holy Spirit, we see a very different form of church administration than we do today. If we were to rely more on the Holy Spirit than on modern, democratic models, the following would take place:
- We would throw Robert’s Rules of Order out the door and never allow them back in.
- We would place more emphasis on determining God’s will rather than the will of the congregation.
- We would be more like a charismatic organism, believing that spontaneous response to what God is already doing is more important than voting on what the majority wants to do.
- Our structures would be flexible and our job descriptions would be fluid enough to allow the Holy Spirit to redirect our actions like it did with Stephen. The Holy Spirit shifted his job from waiting tables to preaching the Gospel.
- Denominational structures would be replaced by church-to-church structures based on what is needed to transform each church’s community.
- Those in leadership would only be those who were demonstrating serious servanthood: those who lead by example rather than telling others what they can and can’t do.
- Rather than being a democracy, administration would be invested in a few godly people who were trusted by the congregation because of how they lived.
- The most important tasks of the official leaders would be exploring how to interpret and deliver the message that Jesus Christ is risen.
- Decisions would be made communally rather than top-down – discernment rather than voting.
- Prayer, in the form of collective listening and discernment based on Scripture, would take the place of voting.
- Ripened and disciplined leaders who have a loving relationship with the congregation would replace academically trained leaders.
Now if you think this is pie-in-the-sky thinking, just read the Acts of the Apostles and you will see that not only is it possible, but it has happened. It if happened once it can happen again.
If you want to read more about this type of administration, read the book Foundations of Church Administration, written by Bruce L. Petersen, Edward A. Thomas, and Bob Whitesel.
Question: How do you implement Holy Spirit-influenced values in your leadership? Share your ideas in the Comments section below.