Saturday, July 24, 2004

Why Churches Should Have Policy Against Having A Policy Manual

Of course my title in tongue in cheek, so don't take it literally. The leadership in my church is called a Session. As Presbyterians we have an elder form of church government. As a group of elders, what is our job? There are many models of leadership that people bring into the church. Occationally the coach model is brought into the church. Ususally the leadership model comes from our employement. Teachers I find tend to lead through schedule and procedure. Those who work for the government tend to work off a policy manual. There is nothing wrong with schedules, procedures and policy manuals inherently. Some people who are used to writing policy, when reach a position of leadership in the church want to use that as a means of good leadership. However, when I look at the Biblical model of eldership, I don't think a policy manual should be the main activity. The main thing church leaders should know is God and scripture. Good decisions, including those in a policy manual, should come from a deep prayer life and knowing God's Word. Dr. Powell says that a Session's job is to interpret the Bible not write law. He says that the Session is a church court, not a legislative body. While the term court has more legal connotations than I am comfortable with, I do agree, the job is to rightly apply the Word of God, not write policy. In providing leadership, one must actually make decisions, and what is the difference between that and policy? Well, policy is merely well thought out decisions. So to be totally consistent, one really cannot rule out making a policy manual as a part of maintaining good order, but my real issue is the mindset that church leadership takes. The main activity for church leadership is really applying the Word of God to the life of the congregation.
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