Monday, September 17, 2018

On Incompetent Business Model Churches

Detroit

In my church we have a team of five who oversee our finances. They all have gifts and wisdom in this area. They are fiscally conservative, which I like. 

They put together a proposed budget, sometimes including a proposal from our Elders. They may become aware of a need, and insert it into the proposed budget. 

They are one of our discerning teams. They provide me with reports on budget spending every quarter. 

They are not responsible for making decisions about the direction of our church, although they may discern direction.

Thank God, I don't attend their meetings. They are more than capable of overseeing our finances. More capable, in several ways, than I am.

How grateful I am for them, their commitment, their excellence! I view them as a Discerning Team.

I don't like calling them a "committee." That's a business model term, and we don't do church by a business model. But many churches use business models and have "committees."

Now brace yourself, because I am going to quote A.W. Tozer. Consider this interesting, possible food for discernment. Tozer writes:

"God in His condescending love and kindness often sends a Moses, or maybe a Joshua or an Isaiah, or in latter times a Luther or Wesley to show us that the work of the Lord is not progressing. Times are bad in the kingdom and getting worse. The tendency is to settle into a rut, and we must get out of it...
Someone says, “Let’s form a committee to consider it.” The Baptist preacher Dr. Vance Havner says, “A committee is a company of the incompetent chosen by the unwilling to do the unnecessary.” Perhaps he stated that a little too radically." (Tozer, Rut, Rot, or Revival: The Problem of Change and Breaking Out of the Status Quo, Kindle Locations 174-176)

Perhaps.

And yet...   I suspect many of my pastoral colleagues, who have inherited Business Model Churches, will agree.

Tozer admits a committee may, under certain circumstances, be helpful. But when times are bad and the church is in a spiritual rut, let's form a committee?

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My book on leadership is Leading the Presence-Driven Church

The alternative to the Business Model Church is the Discerning Community. See Ruth Haley Barton, Pursuing God's Will Together: A Discernment Practice for Leadership Groups.