Three Pastors

Discussion in 'Churches and Ministries' started by eric m williams, Jul 31, 2015.

  1. Note: The following guidelines are for the formation of church policies and management that I developed about 7-8 years ago.
    What are your thoughts on it?

    The Three Pastors
    The pastors will be equal in authority, responsibility, accountability, and pay.
    1) Policy decisions (excommunication, property purchase, church spawning, equipment purchase, etc…) will be decided by majority vote of the pastors. In the event that one pastor is unavailable/incapacitated and a non-emergent decision must be made before all pastors are available, but the two remaining pastors cannot agree, then the two available pastors and the deacons will vote on the issue. If only one pastor is available when the decision is needed then that pastor will make the decision.

    2) Emergent decisions (natural disasters, hospitalization, vehicular breakdowns, stranded people, life and death, etc…) that cannot wait will be made by the pastor or pastors present at the time.

    3) Pastor’s pay (if any) will be 10% of church offerings up to an absolute maximum of $12,000.00 monthly. This total includes any additional benefits (travel allowance, pastorium, etc…). Pastors will be considered self-employed and will be personally responsible for providing individual benefits (insurance, retirement, education, etc…), and resolving personal tax and finance issues.

    4) These pastors will not be confined/restricted to specific duties (youth minister, music minister, finance minister, etc…), but will also not be restricted from acting in a primary capacity in any given ministry.

    5) The pastor’s will be able to step in and “fill the gap” should another pastor be unavailable or incapacitated to avoid unneeded breaks in service. To facilitate this, there will be regular communication between the pastors and the following procedures will be enacted:
    a) There will be at least one meeting weekly between the pastors to discuss assembly business and ministries as well as individual ministries that each pastor has taken on. This meeting will be in addition to any social or assembly gatherings.
    b) There will be at least one meeting every two weeks between the pastors and the deacons (note: this meeting will not be conducted concurrently with the pastor’s meeting described above) for discussion of assembly business, ministries, and general review of the deacons’ areas of responsibility.​

    Management of church funds and handling of offerings
    1) There will be a box/basket/container kept in an accessible but not obvious (not where everyone can watch who gives what) area and will have a closed top with a smaller opening to deposit items.

    2) The offerings will be counted by two people after every assembly. The treasurer/administrator and one other or an elder and one other if the treasurer/administrator is unavailable.

    3) As soon as is feasible the funds will be deposited after being counted.

    4) The funds will be deposited in an account with no less than three names including those of the pastors but should include the deacons as well. The account will require two signatures to withdraw funds and/or will give notifications of all withdrawals to all those listed on the account.

    5) There will be no record kept of who gives, what they give, how much they give, or how often they give.

    6) No funds will be earmarked for specific purposes. The total will be managed for the needs of the body as those needs present.

    7) If a need is presented to the church, all plausible efforts will be made to meet that need, but every feasible effort will be made to avoid handing out cash.
    a) If it is money that is specifically needed, a check or money order will be made out by an authorized individual to the creditor or organization requiring the funds. A receipt will be required, but only to insure that the one with the need has a record of payment.
    b) If it is a material need (food, shelter, transport, clothes, etc…) then the need will be met by an assembly member. This is not restricted to the pastors and deacons. The member meeting the need will go with the person to purchase the materials or get the items from assembly stores.
    c) If a person/family/group makes multiple requests over time, then one or more pastors will counsel those involved and review the situation with the intent of providing a long term solution.
    d) If counseling or application of long term solutions is rejected, then no further assistance will be provided.​

    Tax status
    More research is needed to determine best feasible tax status for a specific assembly, but non-profit status is not an option.

    Meeting times
    1) Hard times and locations for meetings will be set prior to the meetings.

    2) The primary assembly will meet once every two weeks on Saturday morning.

    3) The small groups will meet no less than once a week in addition to all other assembly meetings.

    Appointing Pastors and Deacons (1 Timothy 3:2-12)
    As pastors retire, die, or are called to move on to other ministries, new pastors will be appointed after review by the remaining pastor/s and the deacons. When possible this will be done before the leaving pastor moves on. Pastors (Elders) will be chosen by the following qualifications:
    1) Blameless – not actively living in sin (adultery, illegal drug use, idolatry, etc…)

    2) Husband of one wife – Ideally, he will have only been married once, but if he has a prior divorce then he cannot be supporting (alimony, child support, etc…) or managing two households (no children with divided custody). Remarried widowers will be treated as having one wife.

    3) Temperate (does things in moderation and with thought), calm, not prone to argument, and not concerned with having what others have. Active addicts (meaning those engaging in their addiction), those who are prone to unneeded conflict or who argue for the sake of arguing, and those whose primary concern is money or keeping up with others are ineligible.

    4) Well behaved and hospitable even to others who are not.

    5) Able to teach – He is not required to have the gift of teaching, but must be able to teach effectively.

    6) One who rules his own house well – If he is married, his wife should be interviewed as well. He should be observed with his wife and children (if any) in a relaxed setting. Unless his wife has been given a specific calling to work, her primary responsibility is to support her husband and family (the fact that a woman is a deacon’s or pastor’s wife does not mean that she is assuming a ministry position and she will not be expected to assume church duties.

    7) He must not be new in faith and should have some experience with leadership/ministry with in the assembly. Formal education can be helpful, but will not be a requirement or deciding factor.

    8) Must have a good testimony – The world hates those who follow Jesus, but we should give no unnecessary cause for complaint. The pastor/deacon should have a good reputation.
    Ideally a pastor should come from within the assembly or a sister assembly since this would mean they are a known individual and most of the requirements will already be known. Deacons will be chosen from within the assembly as they are needed.

    1) All counseling will be handled in as gentle and loving a manner as is possible and functional.

    2) On the spot counseling will be handled by the individual who sees the need for it.

    3) A pastor will not counsel women or youth without another adult (preferably of the same sex) present or nearby (close enough to get there within seconds). When possible the person being counseled will have their parent, spouse, sibling, or another member of the body present with them.

    4) No doors will be closed during counseling sessions.

    5) Appointments will be made known to the other pastors. If there is no other pastor available then appointments will be made known to the deacons.

    Facility Work Environment
    1) At no time will a man and woman work alone in an assembly facility unless they are related (husband/wife, brother/sister, father/daughter, mother/son, etc…).

    2) Unnecessary power usage (Ac, heat, lights, etc…) will be terminated when the facility is unoccupied.

    3) Short term employees/services will be hired as needed (determined by the pastors) if the work cannot be done by members of the body.

    4) There will be no long term employees and the number of short term employees will be kept below the number of employees at which federal/state regulations mandate who can or cannot be hired. If there is no set minimum number at which government mandates apply then all pertinent mandates will be adhered to as much as biblical principle allows.

    Conducting the primary assembly
    1) The primary assembly will begin and end with prayer.
    a) This will signal to the assembly that the gathering has begun.
    b) It will help to focus the assembly on what the Holy Spirit has to say.
    c) It will lead by example as prayer should be a constant activity in our lives (1 Thessalonians 5:17).​

    2) There will be no offering taken as offering containers will be present in the facility for those who wish to give (as has been previously covered).

    3) Any invitation that is given will be done without musical accompaniment. We are to appeal to their conscience and not to their emotions.

    4) While the assembly will have a set start time it will have no such restriction for the end of the assembly. When the message/s and the worship are done the assembly is done. Note that this could also mean a short assembly as well.

    5) The rows/seats/pews will set far enough apart that a large adult can walk between them without having to adjust stride or turn sideways.
    a) This will create a more open atmosphere and will reduce the tendency to hide in the crowd or to feel lost in the crowd.
    b) It will also limit the number that can be seated, but this is not about numbers.
    c) Every row will be offset so as to create space for wheelchairs and strollers.​

    6) There will be only one teacher (not always the same person), but space and time will be given for discussion, clarification, and prophecy (which will be tested).

    Conducting the small groups
    The meetings will be conducted in homes or other casual gathering areas (parks, etc…)
    1) The meeting will begin with prayer for the same reason that the general assembly will.

    2) There will be no offering taken. If a person wishes to given they may do so at the general assembly. Provisions will be made for those who wish to give, but have time restrictions where they cannot attend the general assembly.

    3) The small groups will be attended by pastors/deacons on a rotational basis.
    a) This will serve to ensure that teaching remains biblically sound.
    b) It will allow for assisting of teachers who may be having a difficult time and/or to correct those who are unable to teach (a warm body or a good effort is not enough).
    c) It will help to isolate (and prayerfully correct) false teachers before greater damage is done.
    d) It will aid in the identification of those who have leadership gifts (prophecy, teaching, etc…) with in the body as well as allowing for the observation of assembly members in a less formal environment.​
    Establishing this procedure at the beginning will help to avoid giving the impression of ‘targeting’ specific individuals later on.
  2. In practice - the things you are suggesting are more or less ineffective and frequently destructive.

    For example - Leadership needs A leader.. Leading by consensus tends to breed paralysis and destructive "Politicking" to reach decisions.... It also tends to breed attitudes where no one is responsible for bad decisions or even heading down the wrong direction because "Everyone agreed".... and since "Everyone agreed" - no one is free to say "That was a stupid idea, we need to turn around the opposite direction"

    What you end up with is a group that dithers and doubles down on stupid, entrenched behaviors rather than simply assigning responsibility and authority to ONE person to accomplish ONE thing - and then holding that person accountable to achieve the results.

    So - for example.. Pastor 1 may spend much more time in the Christian Education... He sees issues cropping up with his bible study leaders - but has no AUTHORITY to simply deal with these issues immediately while the "Ship can be turned"... He has to wait for the blessing of the group - who have not spent the time in the groups, but still have 2/3 vote on whether or not to act... All the while - his Christian Education program is running straight down the tubes and he is powerless to just fix it.

    and I see this tendency through this entire dissertation... For example - rotating pastors through bible study groups to "Check up on them".... In practice - you really need people to be plugged in to ONE thing... To "BE" part of the group... Instead - this "In and out" sort of thing breeds an "Us" and "Them" mentality and an expectation that the job of the pastor is to swoop in and fix things.... Worse - the pastor really doesn't get a solid idea of what's really going on because he isn't "One of us" - so the group acts differently when the fellow is around...

    This sort of thing prevents your pastors from getting plugged in themselves and receiving the ongoing dose of "Living water" that they need so desperately but seldom receive - because they are always bouncing in and out trying to "Keep tabs" on everything...

    In reality - TRAIN your leaders up well... Spend time with them in the beginning to make sure they get off in the right direction... Disciple them... Hold them accountable to LEAD one thing they are plugged into and be committed and then they must also be plugged in to PARTICIPATE in another group - then back away to let THEM take the group. Hold the leaders accountable to identify, disciple, and prepare the next line of leaders....

    What we are really running into now is a lack of ACCOUNTABILITY. I see this all over the place... Leadership dithers and fails to act - and no one holds them accountable... Leadership drives the train right off the tracks - and no one holds them accountable... Leadership fails to disciple under-leaders and as such - ends up accomplishing maybe 1% of what they should accomplish - because they are having to DO 100% of the work themselves.... They are afraid to delegate and prepare leadership under them... They are afraid to let others make decisions... Etc.

  3. I wrote this out some time ago and have since come to understand that the liturgies we typically think of as needed in the church are usually non-biblical.

    In a family, military, or business structure I definately agree that a designated leader is required.

    Given that the descriptions of the early church seem to point to a plurality of leaders (elders), what biblical support do you have for stating that the church needs such a thing?
    Grant Melville likes this.
  4. 6) No funds will be earmarked for specific purposes. The total will be managed for the needs of the body as those needs present.

    I think all offerings should be divided into three parts,
    1. payment for buildings, equipment, books, educational material, bills. etc.
    2. payment for pastors wages, gospel outreach programs, missions, soup kitchen, food baskets etc
    3. payment TO THE CHURCH BODY. FOR: widows, orphans, the unemployed, assistance with purchases, assistance with payment of debts,
    assistance with emergency funds. This third item would ONLY cater for members and NOT for any person outside the congregation, eg soup kitchens.

    Too often I see the church functioning like an organisation and not a community, the principle of deut 14, 22 to 28, in tithing
    was for YOU to consume the tithe not give it to a body for them to consume.
    Too often the Gospel is seen as a system a progam of outreach but neglect to
    INREACH, to build up the LOVE within the body by
    the relief of want,
    the relief of debts,
    the relief of financial burdens. These are New Testament ACTS principles as practiced by the Early Church.
    If your church is powerless, its not because your programmed systems are failing its because you have failed to grasp this FUNDAMENTAL PRINCIPLE
    On Sunday the pastor should ask,, who has financial needs, okay lets see if we can fix those needs from our church budget, oh no horror,
    what about the Gospel outreach? if your sick on the inside how are you trying to make others well?
    if you never fix up your own house how will you be a shelter to others?
    if your own marriage is a wreck how will you counsel others?
  5. Funny in all these money matters dealing with a church I have yet to see where any one writes. We always seek God in prayer and allow Him to show us where He wants what. Nope all you ever see is mans thoughts on how his way is better or he knows best. Funny how the ministires who seek God in everything and allow God to direct their steps seem to prosper in all things in all ways way above the man ran chuches.............Hmmmm go figure
    Euphemia likes this.
  6. hey yeah here's my INREACH policy statement....

    INREACH POLICY principle to Love one another within the body. Subject to authorisation by the pastor and elders.
    1/3 Minimum of church budget.
    1. Target: lower income half of congregation, except Church combined activities.

    2. Available to CHURCH MEMBERS ONLY [ie exclusively]:
    • Youth education. No repayment.

    • Adult education. No repayment.

    • Debt relief, small: [credit card, loan, bills]. Repayment: labour for money or cash.

    • Bond subsidy, rent catchup, mortgage catchup: Repayment: Labour for money or cash.

    • Purchase subsidy 1. Free item, dependant on circumstances. [example single mum needs a car, limited to a second hand car, phone, computer?]

    • Purchase subsidy 2 for those with ability to repay. Assistance to purchase, then repaid without interest. Example need to buy a new fridge. Avoids the need of payday lenders or credit cards.

    • Food / clothing items. Free [limited amount] item No repayment.

    • Transport: Petrol/Gas/bus/train. Free [limited amount] item No repayment.

    • Legal subsidy: limited small assistance for Just cause.

    • CHURCH ACTIVITY. Feast barbeque/ Camps/holidays/conference. FREE, no payment or repayment.
    • note. I don't agree with just giving away money to people who have capacity, they may need assistance but should repay that assistance if not by money then by doing something of worth for someone else. [Labour for money: household cleaning/mowing lawns, yard/transportation/etc repaid at about a third of the minimum wage at a repayment schedule. [examples: church maintenance, assisting older people, graffiti removal, soup kitchen, driving someone somewhere, rubbish pickup etc]

    A small church having only say 100 members might only have an offering of 500 dollars if everyone gave $5 each week. So the budget for INREACH would only be $166. That won’t go very far but it may make a difference to someone as a monthly amount would be $664.
    So each month one member of the congregation is helped by this amount that is over 10% of the whole church.

    Too easy.
  7. See this is the do not ever want to get into the numbers with church offerings. You do not want to try and set what should be there for that is a good way to see the river all but dry up.

    You do not ever want to say hey we take this for that only unless God said take this for that only. The offering is Gods. No room to question this. God will direct you steps with it.
    You might get the biggest offering ever recorded in yur little church and God says give it all to that guy right there.

    You obey - God will bring forth a harvest unto you in another place - you dis-obey and God will cut off from you what little you thought you had. It belongs to God.

    Yes we have a right to some - this does not mean we function as a natural man in handling Gods offering. There is mans way and Gods way.........
    Euphemia likes this.
  8. Just my two cents, but it seems so legalistic... Where is God in all these multitude of words? The scriptural concept of meeting in a place is one's house, not tens of thousands under the same roof. It's a fatal error to that of the desires of the Holy Spirit in my opinion. The Church is a people not buildings. This is why there are 41,000 "Christian" denominations. Not what God wants.

    *[[Joh 17:11]] KJV* And now I am no more in the world, but these are in the world, and I come to thee. Holy Father, keep through thine own name those whom thou hast given me, that they may be one, as we are.
  9. Yes I see this,
    however I think as a group already most churches are subject to legal conditions governing the use and transparency of how they handle money from donations,
    the pastors wages, the rent/maintenance of buildings/public liability insurance, which missions they will contribute to, even the songs that are sung are sometimes subject to royalty conditions.
    Once a year our church is required by law to present a report to the congregation outlining the amounts and purposes of moneys raised showing how much money we paid the pastor, his pension entitlements, his car allowance etc money raised for missions, the building fund etc
    It was odious for the Apostles to wait on tables in the support of widows at the neglect of the Gospel so for that reason they appointed deacons who would administer the offerings and distribution.
    Faith is always at the head like a horse, but he is always dragging a cart which is the business of running a church.
    You might say you can't legalise love, but laws are the framework in which love operates...huh, did I say that, I don't even know what that means.
    I know how to love my brother at church, its a doing thing not a feeling thing, is it?
    a decision to reach inward to others inside the church in practical ways.
    Churches that have secret finances are little more then cults obsessed with 'their' wealth, they have forgotten what love is
    or where love even starts or what openness and honesty are...are there such churches? probably not I just put that in for the post, sounds good.
    At our church we have a carry clothes basket which doubles as a food basket which members are told to when they go shopping buy something for someone else
    then once a month someone is given the basket, I dont' who, I think an old pensioner lady gets it if no name has been put forward.
    So it, the basket is there as a thing to do, but not an rule except is sort of a rule that it exists, its more a if God moves you to buy.
    You could say let everyone do their own thing and then everybody would not, we are all lazy....okay, I am.
  10. We don't tithe to get back, nor give offerings/alms to receive.
  11. I judge no denomination, I'm just questioning how the Church is built...via men instead of the Holy Spirit. I see so many run like a business and the leaders of those buildings act on decisions as a business instead of via the what the Lord wants. That's just my opinion.
    Fish Catcher Jim likes this.

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