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We have a new minister. Since she has came to our congregation things have been so changed and turned around its like I'm at new church. I would like some answers/opinions/ideas from pastors and church officers. I have been an AME for most of my life (I'm in my 30's) and never have I seen such disorder and unorganization as I am witnessing now In my church. My questions are: When ministers are accepted into the AME and sent out to pastor are they not trained to be Knowledgable of the Discipline, the AME order of service, and basic overall administrations of a AME church? Our pastor does not seem to know to much about the AME churcho or the order of service, we dont even do the decalogue. Are pastors required to submit their social security numbers for tax, insurance, and other legal purposes? Our pastor asks for money for bills to pay and when we asked to submit teh bill she gets angry. Are there guidelines as to what the church is responsible for besides salary and benefits? How often does one change the finance committee members? Every few weeks there are changes to the committee, where someone is removed and replaced at a moments notice. I notice this happens after official board meetings when there has been a disagreement over something. Can non-Official Board members or non-church people vote in the official board meetings? Also what is the proper way to take up collection? Does it matter whether the stewards or ushers present the plate for prayer? When money is donated to the church from a local business should it be presented to the church body and a receipt given? Some of these questions may seem trivial to some, but they are important to me. I participate in my church as an Usher, YPD youth advisor, Choir member, Class leader, and Steward-in-Training. I attend all official and steward board meetings, quarterly and church conferences on a regular basis. I have voiced some of these concerns to my Pastor in addition to other things, however, I always get generic answers, such as "That the way the AME church is set up or In my theological training this is what church is all about." We have even had meetins with the Elder. Her actions and way of running the church (from the order of service, to various meetings, financial matters, etc.) lead me to believe she doesnt know what shes doing or that she is not familiar with the AME church and how things work. My last question is are not these new preachers trained to deal with the different types of people they will be in contact with? I have more concerns but I dont want to take up more space. anyone wishing to correspond with me, please email me back. thank you. April

-- Anonymous, September 11, 2000


We are trained in the Doctrine and Discipline of the AME Church. Please review a copy of the Discipline and it has the answers to most of your questions.

-- Anonymous, September 11, 2000

First, pray--then see your presiding elder.

-- Anonymous, September 12, 2000

the time when pastors came and said I am the pastor is long time gone. Pastors are only there to be the shepherd of the fold. To harness the energy and ideas of a congregation. It is their duty to ensure that the church is travelling on the road it should. The Officers and members of a congregation ensure that the route the church has been travelling on is maintained. Far too many of us allows pastors to come and do what they want, allow them to run amock and then complain when everything is upside down. Let us help the pastor as he endeavour to be a help to us.

-- Anonymous, September 13, 2000

April I have heard the kind of questions you asking before. It sounds like your church is going thru a new change. If you have not notice the AME Church is going thru a change. It was just a matter time before it got to your church. Increase your knowledge of the AME church and the Bible. Read Rick Warren's book "The Purpose Driven Church". Pray for your church and especially your pastor. You be the member and let the pastor be pastor. I have served in the church for many years and under several pastors. Each one is charged by God to to spread the Good News. How they do it differ from pastor to pastor. Study your church and don't worry about who, why and how. I get the impression that you think your pastor is doing something wrong. From the question you asked I do not think so. But the church is so structured that if something is wrong there is a judicial recourse. Your pastor and elder is aware of this. Give the pastor a chance. "Let Go and Let God".

-- Anonymous, September 13, 2000

I am truly sorry for the distress that you are feeling over the appointment of the new pastor. However I am also concerned that your spirit is upset over somethings that may need to change in your local church. Perhaps the current finance committee and officer set is so dictatorial that the pastor felt she had to move quickly and cut out the cancer eating at the church. You make mention that she no longer does the decalogue. In many of the churches in our Zion the decalogue has become liturgical tripe. We go through the motions and we don't even hear what thus says the Lord. My sister it is time you got real with God and let him speak to your heart and mind and your soul and then start loving your pastor with a love that extends beyond her faults. God loved her enough to call her into ministry. She went through the Board of Examiners and was impressive enough that the Bishop in his Godly judgment sent her to the charge in which you serve. Since you are "steward in training" a position not found in the Discipline. Learn one thing to put God first and he will do the rest.

-- Anonymous, September 16, 2000

I am not persuaded by the answers given to April's question. I may be wrong, but I get the impression that those folks that have responded thus far are either pastors, or on their way to becoming pastors. April raises a great great question with regard to her pastor's ability to affect change in a reasonable manner. What good does it do the congregation to have an educated and informed spiritual leader if she cannot communicate effectively with her charges? The pastor is negligent in her duties if she alienates the congregation, no matter how well-intentioned she might be.

April, I think you should continue to seek answers to the questions you have. Yu might try couching those questions in different terms. The last thing you should do is to take a confrontational approach. Ask your pastor to sit dow with you and go through the Discipline on those points that you and she differ. Ask her to help you understand her position. If this is not sufficient, invite the Presiding Elder to meet with both of you and go through the Discipline. This should all be done in the spirit of edification, and not trying to show-up the pastor. In fact, if I were in your position, I would approach this from the standpoint of complete and utter ignorance of the Discipline on my part. If what they say does not coincide with what you read in the Discipline, then the issue warrants further study and clarification.

Of course, you should always seek God's counsel in everything that you do. God created us in His image, and thus has endowed us with a portion of His wisdom. Once we understand how to tap into that wisdom, then all will become clear.

Stay strong, my sister!

-- Anonymous, September 18, 2000

April may need to sit down with her Pastor to discuss her current feelings. As someone who has held various lay positions within my local church and now I am on the Ministerial staff I have seen both sides of the administrative side of the church. One of the things that I found on both sides is a lack of communication between the Pastor and the membership. Many times we never ask specific questions or define what is the vision and message we want to give. The Pastor is the Chairperson of the Steward Bd, Trustee Bd and President Ex-oficio of all clubs, auxillaries, and organizations. Many times I have found that everyone wants to run ahead of the program of the local church. It involes prayer and conversation to reach an understanding. Sit down with your Pastor yes, but first make sure that you know your discipline first because you do not want to enter into a situation and not have all of your questions and answers in order. Pray about all of this first. Set an appointment with you Pastor and be honset about the emotions you are feeling, but first be honest with yourself as to why you are feeling this way. Ensure that it is not because others are feeding you information and attempting to get you onto their side or in the middle of a disagreement. In regard to the Presiding Elder, the stewards the only ones that should have any form of contact with the Presiding Elder in a situation like this because if the Stewards do not go to the Elder than he cannot act if it is called for. He he responds and it did not go through the proper channels per Discipline than the Presiding Elder can be brought up on charges for Pastorial Inteference. No Elder wants to be in this kind of position. Do the mature thing Pray, ask God for guidence. Approach your Pastor in a manner befitting a Christian and an Officer and take it from there. Conflict resolution needs understanding, patience, and conversation.

I hope this is a help to you.

-- Anonymous, September 18, 2000

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