The land sale is complete...contracts have been signed, closing documents executed, and the money is "in the bank." Now, what do we do?
In good baptist fashion the congregation has already made decisions on two key issues: the proceeds are to be placed in an account designated for future building needs (our Finance Committee meeting is meeting this week to start the process); and we have sixty days to form a site planning committee to develop a plan for future land and building use that will maximize our remaining space for ministry.
In good baptist fashion the Finance Committee's proposals will be brought to the congregation for input and approval. In good baptist fashion the Site Planning Committee and its recommendations will be discussed and approved by the congregation.
What's missing from this process? One, there is no internal group or individual making decisions for the congregation. Our committees study and recommend- the congregation makes decisions. As pastor, I will have input and provide support- the congregation makes decisions. Second, there is no outside group or heirarchy making decisions for or imposing its will on the congregation. Our association and partner conventions offer support and resources- the congregation makes decisions. All this is in good baptist fashion.
Congregational church government is something of a spiritual democracy. It can be messy, slow, and appear inefficient. For it to work effectively members must be informed, involved, and intentional about seeking God's direction... in good baptist fashion.