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Keralabrethren.net: General Forum: Which is Scriptural - Oversight Meeting or Mens Meeting?

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# 07563 :  Which is Scriptural - Oversight Meeting or Mens Meeting?

Is it scriptural to replace the New Testament pattern of "Elders and Deacons" as leaders of the Church with "Board/Men"s meeting according to our convenience? Should Elders yield/approve the decisions made by the Board (President, Secretary, Treasurer...) or by all Men above the age of 18? Should all men above the age of 18 be involved in the decision making of the Church? Are Elders only to make decision in spiritual matters and nothing else?

Post by : samj  View Profile    since : 4 May 2014


Reply by : guide   View Profile   Since : 5 May 2014 3:35:46 PM Close

samj

IT IS NOT scriptural to replace the New Testament pattern of "Elders and Deacons". Therefore the alternatives are not scripural too.

Regarding the latter part of your posting:

In some Assemblies decisions are made in the following pattern:

- The Elders take all decisions

- The Elders and the Deacans take all the decisions

- All brothers together take the decisions.

The last option in most cases were found to be difficult and impossible to practice.

 

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Reply by : samj   View Profile   Since : 5 May 2014 8:59:16 PM Close

Thanks Guide. Would you please provide me with some scriptural references to prove that decisions made by Board or Mens Meeting are unscriptural.

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Reply by : paulthomas1   View Profile   Since : 5 May 2014 10:15:25 PM Close

There is no position called president, treasurer, VP, SVP, chairman etc in a local church setting and hence no scripture to quote.. hope this helps.

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Reply by : samj   View Profile   Since : 5 May 2014 11:42:05 PM Close

Bro. Paul, 

What about having a mens meeting for making decisions for the Church instead of an oversight meetings? Is it biblical?

 

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Reply by : guide   View Profile   Since : 6 May 2014 9:55:28 PM Close

samj,

How can one give a scriptural reference if the "Board or Mens' Meeting" is not mentioned at all in the Bible?

[A Logic - Does all men in India sit together and take decisions eventhough there are the elected Law Making bodies?

             - In a corporate body do all the employees sit together and make decisions?]

I mentioned earlier; "

- All brothers together take the decisions.

The last option in most cases were found to be difficult and impossible to practice."

I know some churches practiced this and failed utterly and reverted to Elders and Decans meeting.

In some assemblies it may work out well where there is brotherly love and the fear of God.

Even though the Elders' and Decans' numbers are small, in many churches we sometimes see that it runs into trouble.

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Reply by : samj   View Profile   Since : 7 May 2014 4:51:45 PM Close

Dear Guide,

"In some assemblies it may work out well where there is brotherly love and the fear of God." 

If its unscriptural, are we to have a Men's meeting even if works out well in some places? Isn't that like replacing the divine pattern with man-made ideas?

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Reply by : guide   View Profile   Since : 7 May 2014 9:19:06 PM Close

samj

There are certain patterns/practices followed by the local Assemblies/Churches. The Scriptural pattern is Elders and Decons.Let the Local Assemblies resolve their problems if any by themselves prayerfully rather than on the opinion derived from a discussion Forum like this. Let us not generalise it and make rules for our own convenience for the Church of God.

If your Assembly has a problem be on your knees in prayer. Our Lord will resolve it.

This is my earlier statement "IT IS NOT scriptural to replace the New Testament pattern of "Elders and Deacons". Therefore the alternatives are not scripural too".

 

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Reply by : moses2006   View Profile   Since : 8 May 2014 1:36:10 PM Close

Dear 'samj'

There is nothing unscriptural with a local church having a men's meeting to make decisions that affect all members of the church.

Everything depends on what is being decided. Is it about disposing current building or property and buying a new property? Obviously two elders cannot make this call by themselves. Is it about how much money should be set apart for a specific mission work? Obviously, all men in church over 18 are not needed to make this decision. My opinion is that the elders should make a judgment call, as to which decisions need a mens meeting versus, which ones can be decided among themselves. Rule of the thump would be to seek consensus, when the impacts of decisions taken, affect everybody in the church.

God is a God of order and we have to sometimes use our sensibilities to achieve order and harmony in the church. That is why the leadership group in a church (elders, deacons, teachers, etc) need to be practical men, not just men who staunchly hold certain doctrinal positions.

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Reply by : joyboy   View Profile   Since : 15 May 2014 9:14:18 PM Close

Why are deacons considered leaders in the church?  Sure, their qualifications are pretty strict, but there are no passages in the scriptures indicating them as leaders. Some use Paul's greeting to the Philippians where he greets the saints, the elders and the deacons as justification to say that deacons are a form of leadership.  

Deacons are servants who do service for the local assembly.  They are not "substitute" elders or serve as elders when elders are absent.  This distinction we have in the KB assemblies where deacons are held above the "laity" (used for lack of a better word) and the "elders" is not scriptural in my view.

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Reply by : beracah   View Profile   Since : 16 May 2014 11:46:09 AM Close

What NT says about Leadership, it’s Structure and Practices for Local Assembly applies only to NT Churches.  Just because people claim their set up to be an NT Church, it need not be so. There could be NT believers in such set ups.

NT Churches submit to the Lord Jesus Christ and are guided and controlled by the Holy Spirit. There are Overseers in such Churches and it is the Holy Spirit who makes them overseers. These Overseers have to keep watch over themselves and the flock, which the Lord bought with his own blood. The flock recognizes them as Shepherds and the Shepherds take care of the flock as the Lord’s sheep. The shepherds feed the flock and the sheep are fed and not fed-up. They “serve” as overseers not under compulsion of any human authority but because they are willing; they are shepherds not because they covet that position sinfully but they do it as God wants them to be. They are eager to serve as examples to the sheep and not as those lording it over the sheep.

Some KB Churches don’t have Shepherds accepted and respected by all its members. Problem could either be with the Flock or with the Shepherds. Many Churches have a very active opposition working against the Leadership. The opposition to the leadership could be for various reasons.

There is a tendency for ordinary folks to see everything done by those they don’t approve as bad! Some may overlook wrongdoings of their “own folks” by showing partiality. There are also instances where bad practices are opposed in spite of who the person concerned is. Interested parties may portray opposition to an “evil practice” subjectively as opposition to a “person or group of persons”, a kind of personalizing. Thus, there are all pitfalls a normal believer must steer clear of.

Regarding Men’s Meeting:-

What motivates the holding of Men’s meeting?

The guiding force of Men’s meeting is the longing to have a kind of democratic administration of a Church and a desire of the members to have a role and say in the decision making process. This happens when the general membership loses trust and confidence in leaders. Also the decisions made appear to others as unfairly favoring some and unjustly discriminating some others.

What are the issues generally presented before a Men’s meeting for Consideration / Decision?

Mostly Men’s meetings are held for overruling the Oversight.

These are some sample issues:

  1. Restraining Leadership from taking action against delinquent members.
  2. Revoking disciplinary action taken against delinquent members.
  3. Pressuring Leadership for taking disciplinary action against members without valid scriptural reasons.
  4. Compelling Oversight for inviting preachers for special meetings generally considered by the leadership as undesirable.
  5. Securing time for itinerant visitors for preaching.
  6. Distribution of various positions and deciding on functionaries in the Church.
  7. Spending of money from common fund belonging to the Church like Civil construction etc.
  8. Distribution of Funds among Trusts, Evangelists etc where different groups have conflicting interests.
  9. Fund collection for projects / parties favored by some but not fully convinced by Leadership.
  10. Divorce / Remarriage related issues

The sustaining factor for Men’s meeting is Group Mechanics; where a church is composed of different groups. Few churches have become collection of participating small groups at various extents and levels.

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Reply by : moses2006   View Profile   Since : 16 May 2014 5:42:55 PM Close

Dear ‘beracah’

You said, “The guiding force of Men’s meeting is the longing to have a kind of democratic administration of a Church and a desire of the members to have a role and say in the decision making process.”

By democracy we usually mean, governance by elected representatives. I wonder if that is what you implied by your statement above. If so, then that concept is completely unscriptural. In the church, there only One Head who governs, that is Christ. Church members submit to the Head, just as individual body parts submit to the physical head of the body.

Having said that, if you may have used ‘democracy’ to imply decision making dynamics, then democracy is not the right word. A better term is ‘congregationalism’ in which every member of the congregation has a voice in the decision making process.

A proper review of the concepts and terms used in NT will lend much support to the congregational set up of a church polity. There are numerous articles and books you can read, if you are interested. Church leadership is meant for “service” and it is expressly not for executive powers and decision making (with certain caveats, of course). The Lord did not intend for the elders of a church to exercise “authority” and “lord” over His body. Unfortunately, many churches allow this to happen.

Now, on a practical basis, it is more efficient and orderly to delegate decision making to certain individuals, depending on the scope what is being decided. All members are not necessary for every decision made in a church – most decisions can be made by the elders, who are trusted by the congregation to do so. But here is crucial point – Every member has a scriptural right to express his or her voice on all matters of the church. That fundamental right of every believer is implied when Paul appealed to the Corinthian believers, “Now I plead with you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that you all speak the same thing, and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment (1 Cor 1:10)”

If all believers were meant to blindly follow the dictates of a couple of elders, Paul would have no need to write as he wrote above. The scriptural direction is for every believer to come together with other believers, surrendering and submitting to the Spirit of God, and jointly make decisions, in the leading of the Spirit of God. Such decisions are not “democracy”, because every believer is seeking to prayerfully unite under the leading of Spirit of God, putting aside selfish motives (that are a hallmarks of democratic set ups) and embracing outcomes that will most benefit others (and not themselves), thus, bringing glory to the Lord.

For example, in Acts 4:32, the decision to sell everything and share their proceeds with each other was made by each believer and was not forced on them by anyone in authority (i.e. apostles or elders). It was painful to each one, but they were able to unite together in that decision. That is the scriptural model – not easy to follow, but we cannot dilute scriptural principles, with our own inventions.

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Reply by : beracah   View Profile   Since : 17 May 2014 4:04:20 AM Close

Dear Moses,

Referring to your quote from what I posted:

It was my observation of what is going on among some KB churches and not my proposal.

I have also observed multi level leadership hierarchies among KB as described below:

  1. At the top - the “Elder of Elders - EE”
  2. Below him - the “Confirmed Elders - CE”
  3. At the bottom -the “Apprentice Elders - AE”
  4. Counterpart of EE, of almost same rank is the Main Opposition Leader -  OL

The EE works closely with the OL in the local Assembly; and openly they may be opposed to each other; but behind the scenes they are together.  Unless the CEs & AEs are approved by both the EE & OL, there will be total chaos and deadlock in the Assembly Leadership functioning.

These are only my observations put in my words. This need not be the universal pattern everywhere. I am not talking about the functioning of any secular organization but of some KB churches.

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Reply by : samj   View Profile   Since : 22 May 2014 11:39:48 AM Close

I agree with Beracah on several things. He made a good observation of what is going in many of our assemblies.

Many of our Elders are unwilling to bring more people to leadership even when there is a need. They fear that their supremacy will be lost if they bring qualified people to the leadership. Some of them, who consider themselves as dictators wants to control the whole Church. In those churches, although unscriptural, mens meeting is a blessing. They can atleast say their opinion somewhere. 

One thing is for sure, NT pattern is Elders governing (rather Shepherding) with the assistance of Deacons and Mens/Business meetings which are democratic in nature are totally unscriptural. In so-called mens meetings, all the men who are eligible (18+) to attend, gather and make decisions for the Church based on majority and those are implemented by the Elders. This is not at all scriptural.

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