Today, I read a blog article titled “19 Reasons Baptists Should Stop Voting on Stuff.” I’m not sure what made the author, Brandon A. Cox, a pastor at Saddleback Church, give Pentecostals, Apostolics, Methodists, and Presbyterians a pass, but shucks, we have it bad, too – especially we Pentecostals and Apostolics!
We tend be governed by Pastoral Rule, and not by a board of deacons, elders or a presbytery. One person typically calls the shots in Pentecostal churches, so we tend not to vote on the little things like whether or not to implement casual attire for the warm summer months or whether or not to push the service time up an hour when daylight savings time ends. Shoot, many of us don’t even vote on the big things like how tithes and offerings are administered. *shrug* Okay so we definitely don’t vote as much as the Baptists – maybe that’s why Cox let us off the hook. But, we do have our share of nasty, anything-but-Godly, knock down, drag out, go-for-blood campaigns, which can easily include all the filthy elements of a typical U.S. Presidential election. We are known to get downright dirty if a pastoral position is up for grabs, and don’t let a bishop or superintendent become ill. Folks will be campaigning in the hospital waiting room before the Beloved Bishop even takes his last breath.
And I won’t even get into all the resources (money, time, and people) spent to campaign for these “ministry positions” when those resources could be spent on evangelism and outreach (which are actual Biblical mandates).
But as a friend and fellow blogger asked today, what’s the alternative? If we don’t vote in our leaders, how do we go about filling a vacant position?
I’d love to dig into what the Bible shows us about selecting (or electing) leaders, singular leadership, plural leadership, New Testament church leadership and all that good stuff. But alas, I’m on the iPad and typing on this thing is no fun… Plus, I haven’t done a great deal of research yet anyway. So how about you check out Brandon’s list (and by the way, I do NOT agree find merit with all his points), and I’ll promise to dig a little deeper soon. Fair enough?
What do you think about voting in the church? Should it be acceptable? Is it Biblical? What, if anything, do you think should be voted on? In lieu of voting, how would you propose leadership and leadership matters be decided? Let me know what you think!
- Voting never brings unity, it actually calls for division. Who is for and who is against?
- Voting is democratic – government by the people. Church should be theocratic – government by the Holy Spirit.
- Voting plays right to the flesh and personal preferences. We typically vote what we want or prefer, regardless of what God wants or what leaders are leading us to do.
- Voting gives equal weight to every member, regardless of investment in ministry.
- Voting leads us to believe that the majority must be right. According to some presidential elections, that obviously isn’t true (I’ll leave you to sort out which ones make my case).
- Voting gives the impression that a plurality of approval is the same as unity. It’s not. One deeply hurt family prevents real “unity.”
- Voting supersedes God’s intended order of leadership within the structure of the local church.
- Voting risks friendships needlessly.
- Voting equals leadership by polls. Since when did Jesus ever ask the audience their opinion? Even with His shepherd’s heart, Jesus never polled the sheep to find out which direction to go.
- Voting doesn’t work too well for Congress!
- Voting is man-made, there isn’t a single scriptural example. And Mattathias is not an example (Acts 1).
- Voting keeps us business-minded, not ministry-minded.
- Voting suggests the church has a political side. It’s the only time we really see power plays within God’s family.
- Voting is governed by rules but church is governed by relationships.
- Voting creates confusion and invites the opinions of 15, or 150, or 1500 viewpoints. No real problems are ever solved.
- Hanging chads.
- People were pretty much unanimous to crucify Jesus.
You’ve got to admit, I have at least a dozen good points, right? What’s your vote?”