The Good, the Not-So-Good, and the Hoped For

I wanted to say a few words about our annual business meeting last night, and share some thoughts it prompted.

First, the good news is that all deacon candidates were overwhelmingly affirmed, and all matters put to a vote passed by similarly overwhelming matters.  Even our constitutional amendment, which was questioned by a number of people (legitimately and respectfully, I might add), passed with an 84% majority.  With all the prayer and preparation that the staff and deacons put into this process, it is encouraging to have the strong affirmation of those members voting.

I also want to thank everyone for making this another peaceful business meeting.  That doesn’t always happen, especially when people may have differing viewpoints, but this was a very good meeting dealing with issues where differences are to be expected.

The “not-so-good” aspect, for me, is that out of 587 local, active, voting members, 185 were present to cast ballots.  There are 400 members out there who didn’t make it.  Now, I know from talking with some that unavoidable conflicts kept a number away.  That is understandable.  But 400?  That would be a lot of conflicts!

Congregationalism is a form of church government that relies on the people of God praying and then weighing in on those matters where they are asked for a decision.  The belief is that God’s will and wisdom is manifested through the Spirit’s work among the body.  We have rejected the idea that a special hierarchy possesses this wisdom and authority, and even though we select leaders and ask them to lead, that selection itself, as well as some key decisions, are left to rest with the congregation.  Many of you chose not to participate, and that means we don’t really know what you think, or more importantly, how God’s Spirit may have led you to vote after prayerful consideration of the issues.  Maybe outcomes would have changed, or maybe affirmations would have been much stronger.  We just don’t know.

What I “hope for” is a greater sense in the future that we all need to be a part of congregational processes, because in a very real way this expresses our commitment to each other and to a particular means of determining God’s will in our midst.  If all those not providentially hindered were to participate, we could feel a much larger sense of consensus and direction.  That would be a good thing for us all.

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Published in: on November 20, 2008 at 11:59 am  Leave a Comment  
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