Let’s vote on it!
Those 4 little words carry a lot of weight with the American people. Whether it pertains to the national presidential election every 4 years, a local school board election, who should be the next winner of American Idol, or trying to decide which restaurant has the best breaded tenderloin sandwich in the city, voting means a lot!
The old saying, “the majority rules”, is true. The majority rule definition, from the Free Dictionary, is “a doctrine by which a numerical majority of an organized group holds the power to make decisions binding on all in the group.” The majority makes the decisions, the majority rules.
But the majority is seldom right.
At least according to biblical examples:
Adam and Eve – The wrong tree looked like the right tree, but only to the majority.
Tower of Babel – God said, “Scatter”, but the people disagreed; God was wrong and didn’t know their needs.
Sodom and Gomorrah – The angels were, oh! so mean; what right did God have to intervene?
The Golden Calf – It wasn’t Aaron’s fault the calf was made, the people cast their vote; he just obeyed.
The 12 Spies – 2 said, “let’s go!” 10 cried, “Oh, no!” 83% ran the show.
Israel wanted a king – They had to be like all the rest; not realizing, God knew best.
People complain about not having any say in what happens at their church. Now they may not have a position of authority such as an elder might have, but EVERYONE has a say, a voice. It’s called prayer.
“I urge you, first of all, to pray for all people. Ask God to help them; intercede on their behalf, and give thanks for them. Pray this way for kings and all who are in authority so that we can live peaceful and quiet lives marked by godliness and dignity. This is good and pleases God our Savior, who wants everyone to be saved and to understand the truth. For there is only one God and one Mediator who can reconcile God and humanity – the man Christ Jesus.” (1 Timothy 2:1-5 NLT)
People who DEMAND to be heard typically are people who really should be ignored. But people who take their petitions to God, are the ones God anoints and uses to bring about His plans and purposes.
Most people in any given congregation know as much or more than the pastor. But their knowledge, experience, and voting power does not negate or supersede God’s calling.
American Christians seem to believe the Kingdom of God operates like a democracy. But it’s not a democracy, it is a theocracy. God ruled, God governed. He does have people called and equipped to lead as Moses led Israel, but God is still the leader.
“And now, a word to you who are elders in the churches. I, too, am an elder and a witness to the sufferings of Christ. And I, too, will share in his glory when he is revealed to the whole world. As a fellow elder, I appeal to you: Care for the flock that God has entrusted to you. Watch over it willingly, not grudgingly – not for what you will get out of it, but because you are eager to serve God. Don’t lord it over the people assigned to your care, but lead them by your own good example. And when the Great Shepherd appears, you will receive a crown of never-ending glory and honor. In the same way, you younger men must accept the authority of the elders. And all of you, serve each other in humility, for “God opposes the proud but favors the humble (1 Peter 5:1-5 NLT)
For the last couple hundred years, or so, pastors have been “called” and “chosen” by a majority vote. It’s just the way church is done. Right or wrong, it is what it is. Typically the preacher submits a resume to the church’s pulpit committee, the committee picks out a few candidates to look at more closely, interviews are scheduled, and the candidate that outshines them all is given an opportunity to meet the congregation, and vice versa. Then, the candidate gets to show how well they can preach their favorite and best sermon. Following the oral exam, the congregation is allowed to vote on whether the candidate is the pastor they want.
The majority rules. They may be off by a hundred miles, but the majority has their way. The candidate may be looking for a job, a paycheck, or to prepare for retirement rather than following a direct leading from God. The pulpit committee may have their eyes on natural things, such as Samuel when he first saw David’s oldest brother. Or, the congregation may be tired of the process and want someone who will fill the chair, regardless.
And we wonder why a lot of churches struggle and end up closing.
People who’ve been part of a thriving congregation for years will leave because they don’t like the new candidate. Folks will squabble about one thing after the next, if they don’t get to help make decisions. And regardless of whether voting is the best thing for the church, people must be kept happy; or they’ll take their tithes and offerings and find another church to “bless.”
I suppose there are some things a church could vote on; like the color of paint to use in the church kitchen, or what kind of meat to have at the annual church fund raiser.
But The Lord has a better way for His church to function. Find out through prayer and fellowship with God just exactly what He wants, and then obey Him.
“For it seemed good to the Holy Spirit and to us to lay no greater burden on you than these few requirements.” (Acts 15:28 NLT)
“Among the prophets and teachers of the church at Antioch of Syria were Barnabas, Simeon (called “the black man”), Lucius (from Cyrene), Manaen (the childhood companion of King Herod Antipas), and Saul. One day as these men were worshiping the Lord and fasting, the Holy Spirit said, “Dedicate Barnabas and Saul for the special work to which I have called them.” So after more fasting and prayer, the men laid their hands on them and sent them on their way.” (Acts 13:1-3 NLT)
Voting for a leader did happen once in the New Testament. They drew straws, rolled dice, pitched pennies; something to indicate which one of the two candidates would fill the open chair left by Judas Iscariot. This was shortly before the Day of Pentecost, when God would pour out His Holy Spirit upon them. The same Holy Spirit Who would lead them in their daily affairs, guide them into all truth, and empower them to change their world with the gospel of Jesus Christ.
Maybe I’m too much of a dreamer to think we could ever make it back to doing things God’s way.
What do you think?
Wanna vote on it?