I’m still in awe of a meeting we had at church last night. A group of 100 leaders from our church have been gathering together to pray and to plan in this One Initiative our church has been going through. Last night, we discussed some possible changes that would affect everyone. From the report that I get from friends, if those type of changes were being discussed in some congregations, it would have gotten ugly.
Let me give you an example.
A friend called me a couple of years ago after a church business meeting. In tears, he retold of the ungodly things stated among the people of God. He told me concerning personal attacks that took place. He told me of the name-calling, the cursing, and the selfishness that pervaded the entire meeting.
He asked me what I thought went wrong.
I asked him to describe how the meeting got started. Taken aback, he said the beginning of the meeting was fine, it was the latter that got ugly. I asked him to still describe it to me in detail. He finally shared a piece of information with me that I was looking for.
After praying for that particular business meeting, a moderator took the platform, grasped the pulpit with his hands, and then told the people of God that they would conduct their meeting according to Robert’s Rules of Order. If you are unfamiliar with this volume, it is the standard for how most public meetings and civic forums are conducted. It gives formalities to seconding a motion or speaking out of turn or those business phrases you hear in certain gatherings.
My response to him was that the church business meeting didn’t have a chance for success when they relied more on Robert’s Rules of Order than they did the Word of God. Many would argue with me that you need structure and systems in meetings like these, and I would agree, but the Bible has plenty of instructions on that matter. God says to regard one another as more important than yourself (Phil. 2:3-4). God says not to let any unwholesome word come out of your mouth (Eph. 4:29). God says to respect and to honor spiritual leaders (Heb. 13:17). God says there is an order about confrontation in the church (Matt. 18:15). And so much more!
What needs to happen in many American churches is that they get rid of Robert and put Jesus back in his rightful place! Robert didn’t die on the cross for your sins, so I would let the one who did say how the people of God should conduct themselves.
I don’t know how many church business meetings you have ever been to in your life. You may be at a church where that doesn’t happen. You may be at a church where that is the thing that has the most attendance. Whatever your situation may be, don’t allow our culture or the words of man to dictate how you conduct yourselves. Let God’s Word be the standard by which we live.
Last night’s meeting was a reminder of our need for God’s Word. Listen – we had very strong-willed people in that room. The topic is a hard one. People spoke up. We were free to disagree, but we disagreed in a godly way. We spoke with grace. We were able to start and end in prayer. And that is all possible when you keep the Word central.
Which book more guides your church’s business meetings?
If Robert has been guiding your meetings, maybe it’s time to give Jesus a shot at it.