Tom Lane // The Impact of Church Governance on Your Church's Destiny // Arise Shine Conference 2019



well I want to open with prayer but if you brought your Bible or your smartphone or whatever if you'll turn the first Peter I'm gonna pray and then we'll read a passage they'll get us started this morning Lord we loved you we thank you God that we had the opportunity to talk about your church your bride Lord we just thank you for all that you do and I pray for every church that is represented in this group that Lord your hand would be upon them that Lord you would give wisdom or direction to them as we talk today that you confirm things that you've already been speaking to them through this time that you wherever there's been they've been in a conundrum trying to figure out how to resolve an issue Holy Spirit would you just supply what they need today in this session in Jesus name Amen 1st Peter 5 and verse 1 says the elders were among you I exhort I Who am a fellow elder and witness of the suffering of Christ and also a partaker of the glory that will be revealed Shepherd the flock of God which is among you serving as overseers not by compulsion but willingly not for dishonest gain but eagerly nor as being lords over those entrusted to you but being examples to the flock and when the chief Shepherd appears you will receive the crown of glory that does not fade away for all the years that I've been in church leadership and vocational ministry this passage has guided sort of the approach to everything that we have done and in I don't think it's a misrepresentation to say that for those of us that are in vocational ministry we will give an account for the way that we have shepherded God's people and and that it it speaks to the fact that delete our leadership our position of management or it's a fiduciary position being ultimately responsible to God himself we we minister to care for give direction we we Shepherd the the people that come into our church and we will give account for the way that we have done that because God is the one who owns the church or it's his flock it's not ours and so when we talk about church governance we're really talking about the systems or the processes that help make sure that we stay on track to run the church leave the church guide the church in a way that pleases God how do we do that you know I've been in both churches that I've been involved in I've been involved with the churches from the very beginning so literally when they started in somebody's house both churches and so yeah you know it's easy or you can think of the the systems of governance that become extremely necessary as the church begins to grow and you say well you know we didn't have to think about that when we were small well it may have been more organically expressed when you were small but you should have thought about it in fact the systems when you're small that that are the foundation for what happens in the church those become the things that the structure is built on as it grows and so a place that I want to want to start is to say it's been my experience that most churches start not out of submission to God and and out of a response that says says somebody independent acknowledged there's a call on your life and has laid hands on you and sent you to begin this church but most churches most pastors respond and start their church or respond out of a response to something so either they they were in a church that had a dominant leader and they were abused by by that dominant leader or controlled by that dominant leader and they leave and say that will never happen to me again I'll never be controlled or dominated by somebody else I'm gonna go out here and start my own church and do my own thing and nobody's gonna control me or if it wasn't that you've got a group of people that came together and they loved each other and we're serving each other as it began and and it became controlling as a group you couldn't do anything unless the group agreed and a singular leader was then mistreated by the group saying we don't we're not following you and you don't tell us what to do we tell you what to do and that person leaves and says nobody's gonna do that to me and because of those extremes we can't come to a place of balanced systems designed to lead us to the place of saying God what do you want for your church God how do we deal with these issues that relate to your your church and so there's two foundation principles that are a part of this and I started with the explanation I just gave just to say I'm not pointing fingers today at a system if you don't have a a system of government like I'm going to talk about I'm not pointing a finger to say you're wrong you're in error or sin I don't think the Bible gives that that degree of clarity to be able to to say that in reality I think that just about any system of government will work as long as there's a genuine love for God and a genuine love for people that are part of it it it where it breaks down apart from these systems let me say this what I've experienced in church leadership it can still break down but when it breaks down does it have the protective mechanisms to make sure that it operates out of and continues to function out of a question God what do you want even in the midst of this broken situation and so so there's two two concepts that are sort of the bedrock principles of this and the first is theocratic rule when when we we use the term theocratic rule we simply mean it's it's God's church it's theost it's God's government it's God's flock that we are managing and we are his under shepherds and so we want to know God what do you want us to do how do you want us to lead what is your vision for us theocratic rule acknowledges that God has established all governing institutions and has delegated authority in those institutions on earth so there's the institution of government there's the institution of family and there's the institution of the church when when we talk about the authority of the church it's not an all-encompassing Authority we when when a person becomes a member of the church we acknowledge that we God has vested within the church the the and we believe that when a person joins the church they are they are saying to us as elders and pastors we are coming to place our spiritual well-being under your influence or under your leadership it's it's ultimately God who's doing it but we believe God has brought us here for you to help develop us and so we take it with that level of responsibility as reflected by first Peter chapter 5 it let me get emphasized that all the governing institutions I believe are established by God and need to be respected so if I were to draw these in in circles sort of like the Olympic rings there's overlap in some of some of these but there's there's autonomy there's authority that they have apart from the South so I believe the government has authority to care for us as a as a nationality of people that provide responsibilities and we need to respect and pray for our governing authorities the the family has authority and it needs to be respected and and empowered to lead in that role and so does the church so these forms of government that I mentioned if you're a part of a church that is basically a one-man rule or one man led that I realized we talked about this in terms of there can be shadow government in that when you talk about it there's some structure that's in place but in reality one one God makes all the calls it's an oligarchical it's if it's not one man it's it's control that's held in the in the hands of just a few and they lead and everyone else follows and again will that government work yes if the people that are involved love God and love each other but when it breaks down there's not a system in place that that takes care of the brokenness and leads the church and so what happens is in the brokenness of a system like that there's devastation that happens in people's lives the other side is this committee rule congregational setup and again it'll work it'll you know we we love each other we love God we're trying to figure out in our committees how to best manage and operate things but without a balance between these two there needs to be a singular head there needs to be a plurality of leaders and if you if you followed to either one of those extremes there's weaknesses in both of those areas so the theocratic rule is the first concept that we believe in and and we encourage to stay to avoid the extremes of that singular rule and the group control the second one is what we would call the balance between singular headship and a plurality of leadership singular this singular headship by singular headship I don't mean singular control as in the oligarchy I mean a belief that according to a biblical pattern God calls an anoints an individual and gives a primary the primary vision before the the congregation that is established to a singular person it's not it's not ruled by committee it's not vision by committee it's one person and then that one person God surrounds with a group of people to help them flesh out the vision and and develop and impart the vision as it as it moves forward we call it savior headship with plurality of leadership this balance structure provides a singular recognized God appointed head that is surrounded and undergirded by a unified team of gifted leaders to support God's vision through him and who assist in implementing the vision and direction that's revealed by God this singular headship with a plurality of leadership we find it in the Old Testament with Moses and when Jethro comes to him and says what are you doing Moses this is too much for you all the people are coming to you a singular headship that was leading two million people out of Egypt toward the promised land he said you need to set a rule you need to appoint other leaders to carry this load to shoulder this load with you as a part of this so singular head with a plurality of leadership that surrounded them I believe the Godhead is set up exactly the same way a singular head God the Father with the plurality of leader of the Father and the holding the Son and the Holy Spirit that come together in unify in in unity to lead forward the direction of the Godhead Jesus and the disciples another example New Testament Jesus was singularly God's appointed leader and head and Jesus invested himself surrounded himself with twelve twelve primary leaders with which he poured himself in into them and ministered with and through them Peter and James leading the Jerusalem church in Acts chapter 15 some similar situation Titus Paul told him in Titus chapter 1 I the reason I want you I left you here is that you might appoint elders in every Church it was a singular movement singular head acting to build a plurality of leaders within the church just think for a minute the amount of effort just go back to Moses and the children of Israel the amount of organizational effort it took to lead three million people across a desert wilderness for 40 years and in in an attempt to try and hear believe in obey God the whole story of the Old Testament is the effort that was made to try and get people to hear believe and obey God as a part of this process it's it's still it's one of the the greatest things I think that we as as pastors and vocational ministers struggle with is this idea of how do we press in to hear what God is saying and to ensure that we are following as obediently as we can what we hear him saying to us singular headship refers to the primary person whom God has appointed and has revealed the vision values and direction of the work sometimes when we talk about this it confuses people because they say well that person is the only person that can get vision then does a singular head mean that there's only one person that get it gets vision because I feel like I'm visionary and I'm saying that about myself but you may be saying that about yourself like what do you mean the primary person well there's several examples that I can give you in this but I think that the church doesn't come into its fullest unified form when it's built on individual a collection of individual visionary efforts where I don't know if you'd be for me or mine when I was growing up we used to my mom used to make this thing she called pull-apart bread it would be in a bundt pan and she would take bits of dough and at balls have done and she would collect them you know put them in cinnamon and butter and stuff and then she she put them together in this pan and and baked it and when it would come out it would come out like a cake but you could pull it individually apart by the balls that were there well I think that's what happens when we look at somebody and say hey you got a vision for you they come come over here you got a vision for eyelids come come over here you you you got a vision for worship come over here and we connect we build this pull-apart organization that is not unified under a person that says a vision for this in worship is that similar to what you feel would you come and help me build that I have a vision to reach this next generation of young people and it's gonna it's gonna take on the idea we're gonna do these kind of things does that stir something in your heart will you come and help me build that that's entirely different than a pull apart organization that's a unified organization under one visionary leader does that make sense and so let me let me just tell you I think the most damaging things that can happen and it's it's easy to do is to out of love for somebody out of a desire to connect somebody if you say well that or not you're the primary leader but you really want this guy you recognize that he or she is very gifted and you bring them in and attach them to the outside of your vision thinking that it's connected so when I was at Trinity before I came to Trinity or before the church started before I left business I was in business and I was thinking one day if I weren't doing business if I weren't working for my dad a selling wholesale paper what I want to do and I was playing racquetball nearly every day I played tournament racquetball and I just liked the game and this was before the days of gold's gym or 24-hour fitness or what we have today there just wasn't many of those around that you could go to the YMCA and play racquetball but there were very few racquetball clubs at the time that I was thinking about this and I thought I'm gonna put put together a racquet club so I I I put together a business plan to build my my own racket club and it was going to be christian-based the name of it was gonna be Kings Court because the king was gonna be resident in that place 10 racquetball courts to to blast tournament courts with a running track and weights facilities and I got my business plan I'll put together got SBA financing arranged and a guy that I played racquetball with said when would you be interested in we want to build a record club would you be interested in talking to us and I said well sure and so would you consider selling your deal and I said maybe so I took my my business plan I presented it to him and his partner and what I got done presenting it his partner looked at my friend who contacted me and said he he said to me how much do you want it a lot for it so I quoted him a number and he looked at my friend and said writing the check I went shoot didn't asked enough and I walked out of there having sold the my business plan and then it wasn't long after that that I was approached by the church and I came on staff to be the business administrator well a couple of years into being in the business administrator we we took a retreat in Colorado for our men and so I had gone up to this retreat with my best friend and co pastor in the church Jimmy as Evans and we were rooming together and just before leaving on the retreat I had heard that the my friend who'd built the club and was operating it that they'd gotten into some financial trouble and that it may be there may be needing to sell so we go into this men's retreat and at the retreat we were asked to go through an exercise of hearing God and so I in the session I started focusing in on this racket club and I felt like God was saying you know what the vision that I gave you for this club is is a vision that came for me and now it's going to come first full circle and it's going to be a part of the church and it'll be the family life center of the church and I mean I've fleshed this vision out grandly as I was writing and so after session went back to the room and Jimmy was in the room and so I said hey Jimmy what what the Lord said to you so he read to me what the Lord said to him I said that's awesome I yes I believe that that's that is definitely God sufficient and he said what he said to you so I unpacked what the Lord said to me and and when I got done he said that's not God dumb I said yours was God you're supposed to say my was God and I didn't think of it this way but what was what was happening is the equivalent of I was trying to attach a pull apart to the vision of the church and he said no no I'm maybe I'm not saying it's not valid maybe maybe this is what God wants for you it's just not a part of the church it's tough it's not a part of the what I see the direction I see for the church he was the senior pastor and and I when I look back on that I'm so thankful that out of our friendship he didn't feel pressured or or compromised and say well you know you're my best but well let's see if we could make that work it wasn't a part of his heart which I believe ultimately is a part of the reflection of God working through him in that that scenario so over the years what I've come to describe and things like this is is when people new members or people join our staff in a position I say what you'll one of two things will happen for you either a gateway will be the greatest place you've ever worked you just think it's phenomenal or it'll be the most brutal that you've ever experienced and they look at me kind of funny in and I said what will make the difference is whether or not you embrace our vision and make it your own or whether you and you try and insert your vision into our vision if we will treat it like a foreign agent in the body we'll we'll surround it isolate it and try and eliminate it because we believe that that's counterproductive to what God the way God would introduce things we we we do have a process that you know people could say hey we ever thought about it could we could we pray about sure we can do that that's that's part of pursuing God but until there's a legitimate expression and the legitimate expression would be it gets formed in the heart of the senior pastor and then the as the senior pastor then begins to express it the plurality of leaders around him confirms it it's not a part of our vision and so this singular headship with plurality of leadership is a really big deal that provides the balance of structure within our organization we when I when I came to Gateway I'd been a part of from a distance I was still in Amarillo for the first three years I was just a trance local elder helping helping Robert from a distance and so when I moved down to be a part of staff the first thing I did is I said do you have a written vision and he said yeah and it was like three pages so I took what he had in three pages and I began to write paragraphs of two or three sentence paragraphs of things that not would not be so directive but with you know in worship this is the of worship atmosphere or expression that I think I've heard you say and then and then I turned three pages into about 15 pages and then I went back to him and say now will you read through this with me does this express what what do you believe the church is to be and and he said he he would change words or change the direction and we came came up with a document that expressed what he felt in every area of ministry children youth things that we didn't exist do we do we want to have a TV ministry do you believe and he had had been working with James Robinson and TV ministry is that a part of your heart to have that yes that what about a Christian school we gotta have a Christian school well yeah that's part of my heart I think what did you know what about a Family Life Center related to the church you know I think there's so many good things that they can do other than that and I don't want to pull them into the church that's really not a part of my heart okay you know so we would we would flesh we would identify what I would call the skeletal structure of the vision I believe the senior leader establishes the skeletal structure of the vision then we took what was written and we took it to the elder body and the elders then read through every line of the vision and we talked through well if we're gonna have a TV ministry what might the TV ministry look like you know with how will we know when we're supposed to start the TV ministry if we're gonna have a Christian school what kind of how big will the school be and what kind of the things we fleshed out the vision in the discussion among the the elders as a plurality of leaders does that make sense so it's it is a very balanced model I'll just give you a couple of examples so we wrote in the original vision that we have a we have a vision to be to preach the gospel to take the message of the church in television and the conversation with so when are we gonna do that and Robert said I don't know I think God will tell us about it he'll there'll be some catalyst event that'll right now I don't it's not on my heart to do right now but if I look long distance and that that's what the vision is to be is to be a long distance look I I do see that on the horizon I just don't know when know how much time so a number of years went by and I really hadn't even thought about TV ministry we were doing so many other things and we get a call from a guy who was a part of the church who is a part of day star the day star television network I do I'll get that in your air and he said hey we we have a we have a prime time available and we want to give it to you have you guys ever thought about being on TV and so he contacted Robert so then Robert brought it back to the elders and that initiated the conversations that launched us into television it was a there was a catalyst moment it was a part of the vision you know in in conceptual form but then got launched in a catalyst moment that that took elder discussion to bring about when when the elders discussed it it was like well we don't want if we're gonna do television let's don't do television where we spend on a 30 minute program we spend 15 minutes or 10 minutes of the program and we're asking for money let's teach and if we if God doesn't provide in a way other than that then let's only television and we all agreed that that's right so if you've ever seen our our television show we will offer resources that support what is being taught but we don't fundraise and it's amazing what God does in providing for the air time of the program it but it came out of the discussion of the plurality of leaders and the unity that was expressed as a part of that discussion I I was telling some before I started I have 15 grandchildren and when my my oldest grandchild now is graduating from high school and when she was five or six years old my son who was a part of the church and my daughter who has three boys with her family that their kids were starting to come into grade school and they were saying dad are we gonna do with Christmas school I mean come on we it's time we needed and so when one day I'm over said I said pastor are you you know we it's part of our vision to a Christian school do you think now is the time and he said no but are you sure I mean you know couldn't my kids servers in a catalyst be bit here to do it we still don't have a Christian school and I don't know if we ever will it was a part of the long-range vision aspect but there's just not been a cab there's not been a God said that's launched that that that need and just let me say it this way there were others other than my own grandkids but a need does not necessarily serve as the catalyst for the the expression the launch of a visionary need it it has to be a catalyst that is a God directed event so these two foundations the foundation of theocratic rule W it's your church we simply want to steward it on your behalf teach us show us help us hear and know how you do that and then a structure that is a balance between singular headship and plurality of leadership our elder body to sort of reinforce the structure we our senior pastor is the chief executive officer of the organization he's so he's he's the head what I say to people on our staff is we work for Robert and if that caused your problem you probably don't want to work here you know it you'll see how it how it works out I think Gateway is the most empowering place I've ever worked but the the idea is we are not independent we all have we all have people that we are accountable to and we have a job description that we fulfill and we do it to the best of our ability but we work for Robert Robert is so he's the CEO of the organization he's the chairman of our elder board he's the and in every way he is reflected as the singular head of gateway church now in saying that he doesn't have all authority he's not the senior head in that sense of having all authority so we say it this way we are elder governed senior pastor led staff and volunteer run and congregation owned elder governed so the governing responsibilities and he's the chairman of the elders the governing responsibility is to approve the annual budget to determine the initiatives of the organization from year to year what are we going to focus on this year what do we here believe God is saying that we need to give our attention to this year though those are the initiatives to approve the salary structure so we have something like 15 categories job categories every category has a high medium and low end that the elders approve the elders approve the control party salaries that would be Roberts salary my salary any of our kids any elder that is a staff person that they approved those salaries and the the family members of those people so that's what is what we call the control parties the owners approve that I said the the annual budget they determined spending limits and within the categories of the organization out of budget spending limits when they approve the budget they approve whatever has been in the budget to be spent or authorized to be spent by the staff as long as the months there and and then if it's out of budget they approve the the limits by category in the organization for that if it goes above the spending limits then so I would have a certain amount of authority financial Authority and if a decision exceeds my authority that I can go to Robert and another executive team member and that would give us a certain amount of financial authority and beyond that it has to go to the elder body for additional conversation and approval those that's what we mean by governing weight we we would not if Robert feels it's time to initiate let's just say he came in this week and said you know what I just have this during I think it's time to start a Christian school the place that that would go is to the elders for discussion and in that singular headship plurality of leaders relationship the sort of the most treasonous thing that you can do because we do everything in unanimity our bylaws state that we make decisions by majority but the the reality is we we have all agreed that we're going to be in unanimous agreement on any decision or we're going to table the decision and and the reason is because of several philosophies we it's built on the philosophy that relationship our relationship as leaders is more important than the issue that we're addressing so we're very passionate in our conversations they get very lively in in the approach but all one a person has to do is raise their hand and say you know I just am not there guys i I need more time to pray okay you got more time to pray I need more information okay you'll get more information yeah it's not gonna be rammed down anybody's throat in order to and then we'll say well we all agreed on this and because that's the case if we're having a conversation and and the whole group seemed the conversation seems to be going this way and you don't you don't feel good about it so but you don't say anything because it's like well I don't know so you don't raise your hand and say hey can we just slow down a minute I'm not I'm not quite there yet but you go outside the meeting and pull two or three people aside and say you know did you agree with what we were talking about in there I mean I wasn't for that were you well that's alright and you start having a meeting outside the meeting that's one of the quickest ways to get you removed as an elder if you're not brave enough or courageous enough to talk about it in the room you can't be in the room and so that's just a prisoner's act in our view we we are committed to do everything by unity and we will respect your your position if if you need more time we'll give you more time and that that function that functioning while it starts as a as an elder it works its way out in the in the livelihood of the organization we have very lively conversation in the organization it's not quite as we're making decisions in the organization sometimes in the organization the decision is we've decided to do this the elders have given us this directly we're going here well we we invite any kind of perspective honest open input but we may head out and ask them to come along in that from an organizational perspective does that make sense it's okay so the benefits of singular headship are these well it creates unity of vision and focus of ministry it produces high accountability for implementing God's vision without becoming distracted by other interests and good ideas it empowers the senior pastor and the team of leaders around him to lead with clarity of vision defined roles of responsibilities and accountable Authority now I didn't do this but so let me do this real quick elder governed senior pastor led that's primarily what we're talking about here the senior pastor is the visionary leader of the church he establishes the the leadership direction that then gets affirmed as we move forward a staff and volunteer run simply means that without the we have a large staff but in a large Church in any Church you can't do can't pay everybody that fulfills the ministry responsibilities there's just not enough funds and so we need volunteers we we recruit train and deploy volunteers in ministry our staff the the early on when the church was small well the war multiple hats and they did they they worked Rhett alongside the volunteers doing the very thing that the volunteers rotate as the church got bigger the responsibilities of the staff were to organize coordinate oversee recruit train and deploy they became more managerial in function as a part of the process so there there are there's organizational development is a part of the process of this but a singular head the headship empowers the senior pastor and the team around him to lead the organization in the way that it needs to go the benefits that come with the plurality of leadership is high buy-in with shared ownership of the vision even though Robert is the visionary person you know I passionately represent the vision of Gateway Church because it's mine I I love it I I I don't feel slighted as if I don't have a voice into the vision because I'm not the one who primarily set the structure of it does that make sense it allows input that gives great clarity and definition as it fleshes out the vision of the leader it ensures that the vision is owned and understood by a broad base of leadership not just the singular head when when you have passionate discussions about things that how are we going to reach the youth how are we going to how are we going to formulate our children's ministry what about our worship now what are our weekend services like when when those conversations come in and are fleshed out it's interesting what Robert represents in those conversations is it keeps us from kind of skewing off in a director you go no that's not one that's not what we're about oh yeah that's right you know he kind of brings us back into the parameters for the discussion the health discussion to take place it gives a broad base of support and shared vision for the ministry responsibilities because of plurality of leadership now I'm going to move off of this just just a minute but before I do is there anybody have a question is is this clear yes correct yep and now the reality is it's a very influential book right you know he he's a good communicator to begin with he's passionate in representing his his vision but it's the the elder body the plurality is not made up of yes people who say well because he's passionate and because he's articulate I'm not even gonna try and stand up to that right you know all you have to do you don't have to be articulate all you have to do is say I'm not there yet I need more time to pray and we'll stop the process so you have more time to pray now if you become a disrupter well then then the whole group's going to get rally around you and go what's up dude what why are you always the foot dragger we have well so the core elders I've known Robert I knew Robert 15 years before the church start so he was a friend a ministry friend of mine and many of the the core the original elders were that way but as we've gotten older we started incorporating a younger group of elders and they're you know we've we've known them a few years but not like that and and what's interesting from my saying I don't think of myself as an old guy but I guess I am okay and some of the younger thinking tweaks me a little bit thank you where did you come up with that you know but we don't say that we respectfully treat each other's perspective and and I might say I need I need you to talk some more because I don't understand where you're coming from you know but but we we honor and respect each other and it works not because we have this long tenure of relationships but because we're committed to this process yeah the elders select the elders that we are not congregation nominated and the elders in our Senate are appointed for life well they're appointed until they resign they move they they pass away or they disqualify themselves and now so we're just now I'm 66 and there's one other elder that's older than I am most I would say there's a group of elders that are in their 50s and then we've added a group that are now in their 40s and we're needing to look at adding some that are in their 30s so that they have long tenure in this process with with us and so we had not we have not addressed the idea of sort of mandatory retirement you know but even though I may be that one of the you know retired out ones I think that it probably needs to unless you're going to grow the eldership to some huge number we have 13 elders and and we think that's a good size so that means somebody's going to have to leave in order for somebody to come in so the process of selection is this on a usually it's at a retreat we take two elder retreats a year one in the spring and one in the fall but we don't necessarily have to go someplace we might be it might be an InTown retreat where we take a couple of days and but we're meeting all day and or involved we'll meet in the morning and then in the afternoon we'll do so we'll go to the Ranger game or we'll go play golf or well we'll do some relational bonding activity in the afternoon but as a part of those meetings we will say are there any any new elder candidates it would be Roberts say if someone resigned and we we were we needed to Philip it would be Robert's place to say okay this is an agenda item we're putting on we need we need to talk about new elders if you wanted to expand the number of elders it would be his to put on the agenda and then we would discuss do we need more elders and and there were a couple of years when we were needing to add elders and the response of the elders was there's too much of a unity that we exist right now that we we just don't feel good messing with that unity we don't want to add anybody and so okay you know there's a there's a mutuality of submission that's a part of the process when we actually do put names or begin to submit names anybody can submit a name any one of our elders can submit a name we go around the room the other name do you have a name dee ever name and and we will put in the name on our board no discussion just the name and and then once the names are on the board sometimes there's two sometimes there's ten you know it just depends once the names are on the board then we'll go back and we'll read off the name and then there's their discussion it just takes one elder to Satan I'm I have an issue and that name is it you know it could be I have an issue I think there's some things that are going on in his business I don't know that he could give the time okay well we'll just we'll eliminate for right now I think that there I think he's a great candidate but might be might need a little more development in the vision and sauna of the church so okay wolf delay and that means it could he could come up at another discussion of elders but not right now so then once we've read through all the names if there's not a name if every name has been cross through then we don't have any candidates for the this season and or if one is left then it initiates a process and the process would be with the the one of our elders would meet with this candidate to say we bit we've discussed you as a potential elder candidate and we would like for you to come and to a meeting to a fellowship dinner with a few of us elders and you can ask any questions you are asked us and with in fairness will probably ask you two or three questions as well you know just so that we we want you to know us and we want to get to know you and it includes the spouse because even though in our system we say there's only two places that women can't hold a gateway in that senior pastor or elder we acknowledge and we believe in the giftedness of women for sure the women can teach men and so on women can be campus pastors associate campus pastors because there they fall under the headship of the senior pastor being or one church with multiple locations but in saying that our wives have a very influential role in our lives and we we tell the elders you could tell your wife anything that we've talked about but she needs to know that what we talk about is confidential so she can't tell her best friend and if it gets out that we've talked about something in here and it came from one of your wives it could potentially impact your elder involvement so you determine what what's good what how to process and then our wives give us a lot of feedback a lot of input you know we're gonna be talking about so-and-so oh don't do that that'd be the you know so so we we represent our wives and you know I mentioned we take two retreats a spring retreat in the fall retreat usually on the fall retreat our wives are with us they have dinner with this we we meet in the morning the wives will have some activity to connect them as a group and then at night we'll we'll have dinner together and we'll report to them here's what we've been talking about today here's what we think what's your really you know how do you we give us your input and so they have they have that opportunity so that answer your question about how you control make sure that the pastor doesn't get yes yes men yep yes it was a combination so originally when Gateway started there were three what we call apostolic overseers trans local overseers it was me Jimmy Evans and Steve Doolin and so Robert brought a group that he wanted as elders and we participated in setting those elders in place so it was not they were not just independently established we laid hands on them prayed prayed over them and confirmed that yeah these are biblically qualified and relationally qualified I might say one other thing when we consider an elder that we start with biblical qualifications of Timothy and Titus but there's a lot of people in our church that meet those qualifications that are not elders and and so just on a practical basis what we say is okay so you we're looking for spiritual people people who loved God loved the church who loved their family who live out their their relationship with God in everyday life you know we and we observe that who have an involvement in the church so that brings them up on our radar screen but they need to have chemistry with the existing elders so if we don't want to go to dinner with them or to to a movie why would we bring him into a working relationship with it's gonna be for the rest of our lives and and so that that's another thing that can you know if you're a little quirky if you're if you're I mean you may be godly but you're quirky you know and and the chemistry doesn't fit you know you're gonna get rubbed off the board and and we we have many godly capable leaders members of our past all team that are our elder qualified that do not serve on our board and so it's it's just a part of the the process of the way that we govern does that make sense yes it was a very confirming like God walking me through the last 18 months I'm not a CEO I'm a shepherd so how do you in use a lot of that terminology how do you how do you kind of manage that tension between obviously there are some of those business roles and you know responsibilities there how do you keep that from seeping into the heart of that board and how do you take a so we have a board of directors we don't even use the word elders the board of directors and it functions like a board of directors it's very financially based it's not very spiritually based how you transition that to a board of elders and help keep that heart of shepherding is that something says yeah so at the at the basis of that question how do we keep how do we make sure that our elders are shepherding and not corporate minded yeah when you keep the focus when part of the the process of conversation is we're here to seek God and to ask him what he wants and were by individual and group we're committed to do whatever God says so that's the essence of shepherding you know if if we it's easy to define from a pastoral perspective shepherding as being and taking care of the sheep but you'll find people that if if they're asking you for benevolent help and you don't give it to them they're they're gonna tell you you're not taking care of me you didn't help me and so we have to think what is the best what would God want for your life your family and we don't control them by any means but we're giving them that level of input and we would expect that from our our elder body so while there's a lot of decision sort of financial we review the budget we talk about these initiatives but it's all within the context of what what God is saying in this and then our elders are responsible to minister so we're looking for them to teach and we're looking we're looking for ministry opportunities we get people that call us and say what I'm in the hospital I've got stage 4 cancer ken ken and the elders Cumbrae yeah that's that's a part is any among you James says sick let him call for the elders well we we've we interpret that and push it down to say well the that's the pastoral you know leader the shepherding leader true but there are some some instances where okay our associate pastors have been to pray they've been to minister we want an elder our elders are are not gonna back off of it so well I just handled the finances you know I just I just organized the ministry know we're we're invested and and praying teaching leading and in some area of ministry and that would be another aspect of it we're looking we don't think you'll become spiritual or invested in the ministry by appointing you as an elder you'll need to be that first and then we'll recognize it then huh yes yes I'll come to you just was that you have elders that are also on staff yes do you have specific criteria that would allow a person to take over rules and then also what safeguards do you have in place to make sure that you don't have some kind of abuse of power yep so we because we have a mix of staff and on staff elders I think the reason I think it works and the reason it works is because we've defined the roles we're as an elder we're governing and that's different than your staff role which is a role of implementing and so and then we define the limits of authority related to initiation of new vision and and budget issues and so internally in the organization conversations go like this and say well we're not I think I don't think we have the authority to do that I think we need to we need to get approval from the elders to do what we're talking about so there's that that give-and-take within the organization that that is there and as a staff person who becomes an elder you need to really be able to understand it's not us and then it's us and so you take your staff hat off you're not representing whatever area of ministry you're serving you you are your now you're representing the ministry and the vision and managing that on behalf of God and so when you define clearly elder governs senior staff senior pastor led staff and volunteer runs so now you're implementing the vision that that the elders have established and when you when you begin implementing and it it carries you to a boundary of something new do you have the authority to implement that no then it doesn't need to bump up within the organization or does it need to bump up within the owners that's the question and and we we are very intentional staff why's that when we talk about we don't talk about it from the perspective of the area we represent you know you you're taking off your staff hat right so don't don't be representing well the the youth or the adults or you know I'm passionate about this area they need budget on this if so I'm going to say no to you unless you say yes to this yes that none of that goes on we're governing for the the work of the ministry and trying to do what we hear God saying now we we have from time to time we thought well we need a balance we need at least three non staff just because there is there is some non staff on the salary issues the non staff guys are a subcommittee that deal with non staff issues so there's no no yeah conflict of interest you know on the staff side but other than that it's it's strictly chemistry yep yeah did you ever hand up before man yeah okay okay healthy nepotism most likely just like you're saying not making sure people don't have the DNA or the culture trying to cultivate then also within the senior level of leadership having that balance which is where I believe you're saying Gateway possesses and functions in job is there opportunity for the pastor to be though especially considering that you may have because he's under apostolic coveri or grace apostolic function so he may even feel like there's something he really feels anything about and say hey as much as I appreciate that I want to use my card for the year on this choice and nobody can offended because the well yeah it wouldn't be as one card for the year it it would he would have the same authority as any elder as where we're discussing a name and if he feels like you know I you know he's related to you or you know he's a and he's one of your best friends and I just don't feel good about that he could say I'm I'm not at peace with that and that name would be tabled or it would be eliminated from discussion just as any other person could do and it and if in discussion that somebody says well can you tell me why it seems like you know everybody likes him and there's these issues can you tell me why we wouldn't consider I'm just a little concerned that there may be too close of a relationship and we need some diversity or within the vision of the house like he want there because many planning to do a building where he wanted to push something forward through beyond the illness there's no veto power in that sense no there's no vetoing because it's all okay are we are we out of time okay I I have I have notes of what I've been talking out of that I will make available to the radiant staff so you can you can get them from the website or whatever however we we would do it make it

Maurice Vega

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