Lesson 2

Continuing my series on lessons learned from my last church, lesson #2 would have to be: Church leadership is much more important than church government.

When I wrote my 34 Theses for the Contemporary American Church (available here) about 3 years ago, I had a couple of entries on issues of church government. I said that I thought the most effective way govern a church was to have several elders as the spiritual leaders of a church. I still stand by that. I think that is the best way to set up the way a church operates.

However, I've just been through a 6-month battle over a church constitution that was driven mainly by a desire to install elders in a church. The battle was waged by men who may have known how to govern a church, but fell far short of knowing how to lead one. Feelings were hurt, members were alienated, disunity reigned during this battle. Something of a church split has occurred as a result.

One thing I learned from this whole episode is that I'd take a church well-led but poorly-governed any day over a church thats well-governed but poorly-led.

What has this taught me as I look forward to he pastorate? I'll likely be called to a church that is not led by a group of elders. And thats ok. That fact may not change while I am a pastor. And thats ok. Its not that big of a deal. Leading a church well is at the top of my priority list. Reforming church government is not.

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