question : LUSENET : A.M.E. Today Discussion : One Thread

Why do the elderly members that are officers in the local church feel afraid or imtimidated to teach the younger members how to become good and right officers? And when will the policiting stop?

-- Anonymous, December 06, 2001


I believe it is all a matter of solid Biblical teaching. This will help all to understand their roles in church development.

-- Anonymous, December 06, 2001

This problem occurs most often when there is poor administration and failure to follow procedure already outlined by the Discipline.

Stewards ought to be appointed by the pastor on an ANNUAL basis. While the pastor might choose to appoint the same persons for a number of years, this could change at his or her discretion and should certainly warrant the change when it is necessary to do so.

By the same token, Trustees should be nominated ANNUALLY by the pastor. The nomination should be twice the number needed and the voting members of the church should then proceed to elect from that nomination an odd number ranging from 3 to 19. This should always be done by SECRET ballot and should continue until all persons receive one more than half of all votes cast.

In most congregations 9 of each is sufficient. Neither Stewards nor Trustees should be "Yes Men or Women", but should both serve in an advisory position to the pastor and vote their conviction as representative of the members of the church. There ought to also be regular scheduled meetings of the Official Board and occasional Church Conferences. Where this is not being done appeals should be made, the Presiding Elder should be made aware, and the question ought to be settled at the First Quarterly Conference--which should also confirm ALL officers before they become officially set.

Finally, it is a Disciplinary requirement that every local church should have a Lay Organization. Where this is met, one of the duties of the Lay Organization to teach. Contrary to popular opinion the Discipline is not difficult to read or understand, but it must be read, studied, and often taught to our members.

God is certainly a God of ORDER and the Discipline is designed to bring order. When we ignore it confusion reigns.

-- Anonymous, December 06, 2001

Brother Matthews has answered so astutely. I'm hoping that we'll get some input from others.

What Brother Matthews has brought to our attention in my estimation, is the basic problem, non-compliance to the discipline. When you have a pastor, steward board or whatever board, and/or a presiding elder who doesn't perform their duties according to the discipline, i.e., official board, church conference or holding quarterly conferences, there is division and chaos.

Let me share with you a story that's now in hind sight funny, but at the time no one thought it so. The present pastor of an AME church in this fair city would always have 38 names on the ballot for trustees. The church truly doesn't need 19, but... anyway. On the left side were names of persons on the membership roll but they were not active or were rarely seen, most folk didn't know who they were. On the right side of the ballot were names of the present 19 members of the trustee board. This happened every year and it's still happening. For several years one young man's name appeared on the list eventhough he was hardly ever there. But one year at election time, he showed up and was shocked to find his name on the list. I wish I could say that he won but he did get some votes, which caused the election not to go as planned.

When you have people serving on boards who form "cliques" and their only reason for coming to church is to make sure that their clique is still clicking, unless you're a member of the clique, you are left out of the decision making process of the church. What bothers me about the cliques is the fact that these people use the discipline when it fits their agenda. Other than that the discipline doesn't even come up. It's the my way or no way attitude.

In the particular church I referred to earlier, the chairman pro tem was replaced by the pastor because he didn't always agree with him, The man was full of wisdom and sound doctrine. When he was replaced, the people then had no advocate. There is no one in that church who will ask a question as to why things are happening the way they are. When you do, you are perceived as a troublemaker. I must admit, I'm with the troublemaker group and I believe I'm in good company.

The point here is that when the pastor has given over his authority to a certain few who run everything or go along to get along, who hand pick the ones they will work with, and when the pastor is not pastoring or preaching just there to draw a check - watch as well as pray! "For as by one man's disobedience many were made sinners, so by the obedience of one shall many be made righteous. Moreover the law entered, that the offense might abound. But where sin abounded, grace did much more abound". Romans 5:19,20

Thank you, Lord Jesus for your amazing grace. Frankly dear sister, the older members can't teach what they don't know. "They have a zeal but not according to knowledge."

-- Anonymous, December 07, 2001

I don't know when this activity is going to stop, but I will say that this activity is not stopping our "young people" (ages 21-40) from attending church. These young people just are not attending AME churches. the "politicking" does need to stop, and it needs to stop soon.

-- Anonymous, December 08, 2001

Because the church is the Body of Christ, it's basic principles, goals, and visions should reflect the characteristics of Christ. It is imperative for persons desiring to become leaders in the church to "seek ye first the kingdom of God and His righteousness and all other things will be added to you", you don't have to blow your own horn, Psalms 75:5-7, promotion comes from God.

Although, the Bible instructs us to teach our children (Deut. 6) and the Book of Titus instructs us that the older women and men ought to be teaching the younger, the bottem line is unless what is being taught is rooted and grounded in the scripture, we defame God's house and His agenda.

Brother Matthews has adequately given us an overview of the discipline, how it's premise is scriptually based; but all to often, our leaders begin leaning to their own understanding. In order to be a good and right officer, step one begins with prayer, step two is "in the book" (Bible), step three is back to steps one and two, then step four is study the discipline, back to steps one and two and three. It matters not how many steps you have to go through, just please remember, in order to be an effective leader, you always have to go back to steps one and two (prayer and the Bible).

My sincere prayer is for the pastor and the pew to be equipped to do God's work, God's way.

Many of our people have a zeal/desire to be leaders, but their zeal/desire is not according to knowledge. When God puts that desire in your heart, there is a name, address and phone number where you can know of a surety that that's His desire for you. That's the name of the book in the Bible, the chapter (address) and verse (phone number)where you can find yourself -- seek ye first...

Like Mary, the mother of Jesus said "Let it be done according to your word." Lord, let it be!

-- Anonymous, December 17, 2001

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