Skip to main content

The primary criteria we used for the church bulletin (or Worship Guide) as I prefer to call it, was, "can a visitor read it and completely understand it?" Today churches have several means of communicating information to it's members and all communications need to be carefully prepared because it reflects and impacts the church image. Any church that uses any of it's communication as "a dumping ground for information" is probably having other problems also.

Meredith, I assume you are speaking to the writer, Jerod, however you are incorrect. Many churches have a bulletin clerk who only types the announcements which are given to her/him. How often haven't you read an announcement something like this: "If you would like to included in the new small groups being set up, see Bill or Connie in the basement after the morning service." Only old time church members understand what to do and it is offensive to a first time visitor who automatically feels excluded. In too many church bulletins spelling and grammatical and punctuation mistakes are common...a poor reflection on the church. The point of this discussion is to encourage improvement.

It has already been said that communication is imperative especially when the Council is segmented. I would like to share a simple "reporting" form that I have found effective and saves much time. Divide a sheet into three sections and use this one form for every group/committee/ministry team that reports to the Council. Question #1 is, "What are you doing (working on)? Question #2, "where are you going (planning for)? Question #3, "What do you need from us (how can we help you be more effective)? This report can be filled out as often as the Council meets (monthly or quarterly) and insures that each Council member is informed about all work being done in the church on a regular basis. It also means that the only reports which the Council needs to spend time on are the reports asking for Council action.

Vern, as President of the Council, I always prepared the agenda and distributed it to the council members on the Sunday preceeding the meeting with all reports attached. The expectation was that all members came prepared to act, having read all the information. I followed a simple agenda:
Welcome and opening remarks
Opening prayer (by Pastor)
Minutes of last meeting
Clerk reads all correspondence
Pastor's activity report
Staff reports - sometimes oral, typically written
Deacon's report
Elder's report
Treasurer's report
Committee reports
Any new business
Closing prayer by a member

Regarding "new business", immediately after the opening prayer I request ANY mattsr that is not on the agenda that any member woukd like to discuss. This enables all members to give some mental thought in advance to these matters).

Sorry, no job descriptions...

I think that the question reflects the changing nature of the CRC. Back when the local congregations worshipped with almost the identical order of worship from NJ to CA, hard and fast "rules" gave us comfort. Today, especially with new church development congregations made up of a majority of it's members from outside the "reformed" tradition, flexibility is necessary. The truth is that many of those "rules" are still important to life long CRC members but absolutely meaningless for new Christians. As "reformed" Christians we know that the "laying of hands" is symbolic...we are not dispensing grace, therefore it is right to follow tradition and have ministers for ministers, elders for elders and deacons for deacons, however it is just as correct to have ministers and elders and deacons to be included in the symbolism. ..and I think it is even richer and more meaningful for all.

"OUCH" Keith...this is suppose to be a diagogue...I'm not arguing for "one size fits all" and acknowledge that different pastors have different gifts. If you look at many of the ads in the Banner seeking a Senior Pastor, they use words like energetic...dynamic...enthusiastic. Most often they are seeking someone who will motivate and lead them from where they are to where they want to go (and most of the time that is from an "inward" oriented church to an "outreach" oriented church.

I will tell you that it would be a pastors answer to prayer to go to a church which is as you described, with goals and vision statements already articulated, but in 9 out of 10 churches that is not how it is.

Thanks for the discussion.

Keith, looks like Henry's open question has turned out to be a coffee talk between us...that's OK. I think that if we were in the same church we'd get along like two peas in a pod. Before seminary I had a BBA degree with.majors in management and marketing. I functioned as manager, regional manager and VP of field operations in the home health care. I attended CTS for five years from age 37-42. I served two established churchs and started a nee one.

I say this sincerely, if only a minister could come into a congregation which had developed a visiion and were enthusiastically pursuing it and the pastor could just concentrate on preaching, teaching and pastoral care, you'd have to beat off the candidates with a stick! The problem too often is that the members believe the church is "theirs" and they would prefer that the minister function more like a country club pro than the shepherd of the flock who leads them from one green pasture to the next.

I believe Jesus was very clear in telling us the "vision" of the church: go into a the world BAPTISING (growing) and teaching them what I have tagh you. Then go to Acts 1:8 and he lays out the expansion plan of "start where you are at and progressively move out (outreach and growth.

I appeciate your thoughts and feelings and am sure you are a blessing to your congregation...have a great day!

I strongly believe in individual spiritual gifts and think that it applies to this discussion.  There are many ministers who possess the gifts of administration and leadership and when a church calls him/her to give leadership to the body, it is most appropriate that he "lead" the Council.  There are other ministers who do not possess such gifts and would prefer to devote their time and energy to other essential areas of ministry, who would be most relieved to have such leadership of the Council handled by an elder.

It must also be kept in mind that it is the minister of the church that eats, sleeps and lives for and with the church, whereas the elders and deacons have other areas of life as their higher priority.  Praise God that while the minister is no longer the most educated person in the church, he is the only one who has had the spiritual, Biblical, theological and church organizational training at Seminary qualifing him/her for such leadership.

Lubbert, I'm on vacation in Montana and don't have my books (like CO), however is thd ruld you cited for Canadian churches? For my 22 years I was the President of the council and also the elders. I certainly did not have a kingly role.

Consider new church development, the pastor functions as the visionary leader and as the body matures, he teaches and trains the office bearers to assume more and more responsibility. I won't make a sweeping generalization however many of the GROWING and MISSIONAL CRC churches are "pastor & vision" driven, not lay leader driven.

Now just to clarify, when I say "pastor & vision" driven I don't mean that the pastor is a lone ranger doin his own thing, but rather that he is in tune with God's will regarding the church and works with his leadership team and is affirmed by them.


Ideally leadership and vision should come from the congregation/council as the pastors come and go. Too often, when vision and leadership is left to the pastor, (s) he implements appropriate changes but the congregation balks and pastor/congregation conflict results. When calling a new pastor the church needs to present it's mission/vision and make their calling decision based on which candidate is best skilled to lead in carrying it out. A myth about ministers is that most are basica Lily the same. Granted the functions of the pastor's position are the same (preaching, pastoral care, administration, leading, teaching, coinciding, and handling conflict) and we all receive simular training at CTS, our spiritual gifts are different making each candidate unique.

Bev brings up the example of YWAM where EVERYONE raises their own support...even those in leadership. Wonder what our Headquarters personnel would say to that?

I'm not a church historian, however our "quote/ministry share" system goes back to a time when the church had one poorly paid pastor who lived in a parsonage and the membership was pretty much static. Church growth was biological with additional increase coming from CRC membees moving in from another area. Churches were proud that they paid 100% and the denomination was proud that kur missionaries were fully funded.

Today churches have staff, all of whom are paid well and considerable money is spent for local evangelism, youth and education. The local church today simply cannot afford ministry share and also seek to grow in their community and retain their own youth.

Yes, there are exceptions, however when you look at who is paying and who is not typically you will find that ageing churches do better at MS than growing congregations. I believe that this trend will increase and therefore the denomination will have to change with the times.

We want to hear from you.

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

Add Your Post