Tuesday, August 07, 2012

Church Governance (2)

Governance and authority are a big deal in modern churches, yet the New Testament is strangely silent on these issues. The concept of governance is not mentioned at all. Most references to authority relate to worldly governments (Acts 26:12: Rom 13:3) and to demonic powers Eph 6:12; Col 2:15; 1 Pet 3:22). References to the authority of church leaders are missing.

The business world has a fairly standard model of governance and mangement. A board of directors provides governance and oversight. It makes strategic decisions and appoints the CEO, who is usually becomes a member of the board.

Under the CEO, there will be several divisional managers or vice presidents. The divisional managers will have operational managers reporting to them. The number of management levels varies with the size of the organisation. The CEO is tasked with the management of the business.

In the business model, the CEO has authority delegated by the board and is accountable to the board. The various managers have authority delegated down to them and are accountable to the CEO through the manager in the hierarchy above them. Authority and accountability go together and come from the same source.

Most modern churches, just copy this model, but change the names to hide the similarities. The CEO is usually called the senior pastor or apostle. The Board of directors is often referred to as a board of elders, leaders committee or oversight team. The divisional managers and operational managers are given religious names, but their status is much the same, even if they have different roles. Their authority and accountability is delegated by the senior pastor.

We need to understand that this is the world’s governance model. If a church is going to operate a series of large programmes, with a big budget and professional and/or trained staff, it probably has to adopt this model. However, it should not pretend that this is a biblical model.

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