Skip to main content

What are the best practices for church governance? For example, what is a good governance model?


Governance models differ to a certain extent around the size of congregations. In his book "One Size Doesn't Fit All" Gary Macintosh points out that different size congregations need to think about governance in different ways. The challenge is to discern how to live out those differences within Reformed polity. 

At least as important as a good governance model is the way the leadership views itself. Is it basically a non-profit board, a gatekeeper, or do they view themselves as a community of Spiritual leaders discerning God's call to mission for the local church and how God is calling them to care for one another. Charles Olson’s book Transforming Church Boards into Communities of Spiritual Leaders looks into how councils/boards view themselves (see this post on Vibrant Congregations) and why it matters. You can find a summary of his book in a series of blog posts at Vibrant Congregations

If you'd like to explore this more in terms of councils and church size  and spiritual communities you can connect with me via the Vibrant Congregations website. We have a one hour PPT presentation that explains church size and governance. 

How do we wish to see the church? o we wish to see it primarily as a building and a highly organized structure, or do we wish to see is as an assembly of believers, which the biblical word we translate as "church" actually means? If we desire to be what the gathering of believers was, and which our Lord formed, then we must begin with the ecclesia, the assembly, and for that I would suggest that "best practices" begins with what has traditionally been called mutual censure. By this I mean that in my idea congregation, leaders would have a bond between them that is more than superficial. They would meet to "confess their sins and pray for one another," tio build one another up, to bear each others burdens, weeping with those who weep and rejoicing with those who rejoice. Having behind me nearly 50 years of ministry in 3 denominations as both pastor and in executive positions, and now with the CRC, it is my conviction that a truly spiritual or godly congregation cannot be effectively led if its leadership is not seeking to exemplify a life of faith. It is fundamentally not the talk; but the walk. And no, I am not a fundamentalist, just trying to get on board with what I her my Lord teaching.

Let's Discuss

We love your comments! Thank you for helping us uphold the Community Guidelines to make this an encouraging and respectful community for everyone.

Login or Register to Comment

We want to hear from you.

Connect to The Network and add your own question, blog, resource, or job.

Add Your Post