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Home » CHFWeb Forum » TitusTwo » Church decisions
Church decisions [message #816033] Wed, 02 March 2016 17:11 Go to next message
praise2christ  is currently offline praise2christ
Messages: 2166
Registered: August 2009
Location: Northern KY
Senior Member
Ladies, I'm looking to see how other churches handle some decision making issues. I've attended the same church since I was 5, so I don't have anything to compare things with.

The specific issues I'm mulling over are:
1) Who chooses the ministry leaders (music minister, youth leader, Sunday school teachers, etc.)?

2) How is the type of music for worship decided? (hymns, contemporary, combination, something else?) Especially if a change is made or were being considered.

If you have thoughts on any other types of decisions, I'd love to hear your input. There is something happening at my church that is weighing heavily on my heart and mind and I'm trying to make sense of it all.

I posted a very long update with more info down-thread.

[Updated on: Thu, 03 March 2016 10:20]


Stacy, mom to 12-year-old boy/girl twins and a three-year-old boy.

"Every man's life is a fairy tale written by God's finger." Hans Christian Andersen
Re: Church decisions [message #816034 is a reply to message #816033 ] Wed, 02 March 2016 17:20 Go to previous messageGo to next message
Kate Megill  is currently offline Kate Megill
Messages: 6501
Registered: April 2005
Location: NW rural Illinois
Senior Member

Well, in our church, the music pastor is a pastoral position so it is a whole church vote. We have a youth pastor (again, a pastoral office requiring a whole church vote) but many youth leaders that are volunteer and approved by the youth pastor. SS teachers are also volunteer and, unless the pastor (youth pastor for youth SS teachers, children's pastor for children's SS teachers and senior pastor for adult SS teachers) has a problem with them or they cannot adhere to the constitutional requirements, they are allowed to serve.

Our church has 2 services in the morning, both identical in order to keep a unity of spirit among the saints. Because we have a wide variety of music preferences in the church, our worship pastor tries to include a good variety in each morning service, but the evening services are mostly hymns. But it is his job entirely to choose.

BUT our pastors have always been GREAT at listening to the concerns of the congregation and taking them to heart in establishing the functioning of the programs.

Hope this helps some.


In His Joy and Grace,

Kate

Re: Church decisions [message #816037 is a reply to message #816033 ] Wed, 02 March 2016 22:28 Go to previous messageGo to next message
janetR  is currently offline janetR
Messages: 1937
Registered: March 2010
Location: TX
Senior Member
praise2christ wrote on Wed, 02 March 2016 16:11

Ladies, I'm looking to see how other churches handle some decision making issues. I've attended the same church since I was 5, so I don't have anything to compare things with.

The specific issues I'm mulling over are:
1) Who chooses the ministry leaders (music minister, youth leader, Sunday school teachers, etc.)?

-----This may be semantics, but at our church the music minister and youth leader are staff positions, while the Sunday school teachers are volunteers and ministers but not considered ministry leaders. Examples of ministry leaders would be the leaders over the welcome team, or over Celebrate Recovery, or over the drama ministry, or the homeless ministry. Staff positions are filled by the board of trustees, volunteers volunteer for ministry positions, and ministry leaders kind-of rise up from the volunteers but must meet certain criteria and be approved by staff and shepherds.
-----

2) How is the type of music for worship decided? (hymns, contemporary, combination, something else?) Especially if a change is made or were being considered.

-----The type of music is decided by the worship pastor, but the church has a predetermined (in writing) "weight" towards contemporary with freedom given for other styles sprinkled throughout. Bluegrass and a cappella are common sprinkling styles with hymns making appearances in all styles. I guess the thing that is important to your question is that we have a written position on the general style within which the music pastor must work.
-----

If you have thoughts on any other types of decisions, I'd love to hear your input. There is something happening at my church that is weighing heavily on my heart and mind and I'm trying to make sense of it all.


JanetR
daughter of the King since 1980
wife to dh since 1981
mom to five of the most incredible adults on the planet, one wonderful 18yo, and grandma to two bouncy grandsons
Re: Church decisions [message #816038 is a reply to message #816033 ] Wed, 02 March 2016 22:39 Go to previous messageGo to next message
Elise  is currently offline Elise
Messages: 1954
Registered: April 2006
Location: Ohio
Senior Member
The church we attend has elders (chosen by the members using passages that mention elders in Timothy and Titus). They are ultimately the decision makers, but they delegate things, too. For example, there is a deacon in charge of the Bible classes - he gets teachers for children's classes, orders materials, etc... He makes these decisions in accordance with any guidelines the elders discuss with him.

Music - we have song leaders who lead the congregation in acapella singing. They choose what songs to lead when it's their turn to lead singing. We sing a mixture of old and new songs. Often they choose songs that fit the sermon topic for the day.

Minister - if we were searching for a minister, the elders would invite candidates to come meet the members and speak on a Sunday morning. Members would then have the opportunity to give the elders input about the decision, but ultimately the elders would decide.

Our elders take seriously the verses about their responsibility to watch out for their flock. If some big change were being made, it would come from them, but it wouldn't be done without taking into account what the scripture says about the topic, and (if scriptures didn't address it), praying for wisdom, getting input from the deacons and our minister, and seeing what the members felt about it.

Sometimes, no matter what they decide, some members are going to be unhappy with their decisions. (I'm the wife of an elder, and sometimes I'm unhappy with a decision they make. This just happened recently, and even though I disagree with them, I know they did what they thought was best.)

[Updated on: Wed, 02 March 2016 22:39]


Blessings,
Elise


Wife to Dan
Retired homeschool mom to Emily and Bryan
Academic Resource Tutor at a local high school - basically Mom-at-the-kitchen-table for about 50 students
Re: Church decisions [message #816048 is a reply to message #816038 ] Thu, 03 March 2016 10:19 Go to previous messageGo to next message
praise2christ  is currently offline praise2christ
Messages: 2166
Registered: August 2009
Location: Northern KY
Senior Member
Thank you, ladies. This is helpful. I feel free to elaborate on the situation, now that I've gotten some general info from you.

In November, our song leader unexpectedly died. To say it was a shock to our church is an understatement. We were heartbroken.

Our song leader has always been a volunteer position. Since our congregational music on Sunday mornings has always been hymns, accompanied by a piano and sometimes an organ, his only job was to chose the songs, lead the singing, and sort of keep the ball rolling by introducing any solo/ensemble singers, etc. We generally called any music by one person or small groups "specials". But, someone else was even in charge of scheduling the specials.

Contemporary music, as well as bluegrass, gospel, and other genres, often made an appearance in the special music. A typical order of service might have been:

- Someone reading a Bible passage and giving announcements
- The choir or Ladies' ensemble would sing one song
- A congregational hymn
- Someone would do a special
- A congregational hymn
- Pastor welcoming visitors
- The offering done while someone did a special
- Congregational hymn with hand-shake time

Someone else has since taken over this role. He was chosen by pastor, but I'm not sure how the decision was made. Like I said, it is a volunteer position.

In January, we were preparing for a revival in Feb. We wanted to make sure our focus was solely on Christ, without any distractions. We called it "Just Jesus in January" with the goal that Jesus would stay our sole focus after the month was over, but that we would also prepare our hearts for the revival services to come.

Pastor decided to suspend the special music for the month. I'm not sure if he thought it was a distraction or wanted to speed up the music portion or what. Then, on the second Sunday in January, they introduced a praise band. We had previously had a praise band that led music on Sunday evenings, but only ever did specials on Sunday mornings, not leading congregational singing. At some point during these first couple of weeks Pastor said from the pulpit, "Some people have asked if we are changing the music. No, we aren't changing the music. This is about our focus..."

We all expected to resume our hymns in Feb, but the praise band along with the contemporary music continued into the week of our revival services in Feb. Once again, we all assumed it would end once the revival was over. Once again, it didn't.

Never, was any input sought on this very large change. Never, was it even explained that a change was happening. It just did.

I have been struggling with this. I loved our old music services. Hymns are dear to my heart and I looked forward to that part of my week when our church would be filled with the voices of the saints, singing together to the Lord.

Now, I struggle to sing the songs. The range is difficult. If I had trouble before, I would look at the harmonies in the hymnal. Now, all we have are words on a screen. I don't know all the songs, so I spend half the song trying to learn it and then don't get to really sing out. Even the songs that I do know are different arrangements from what is on the radio where I have memorized the harmonies, so I have to unlearn those harmonies and struggle to find the correct notes so that I can even sing. I can see many people around me having the same troubles.

There is also no longer the sound of saints singing together to the Lord. Besides people not knowing the songs, so not singing out, the band drowns us out. All you can hear is the praise band.

When I realized that the music was indeed changing, I was heartbroken. The thought that I will no longer be able to sing my beloved hymns with my church causes me true anguish. The idea that I will no longer be able to use the music talent that God has given me to minister to others at my church devastates me. I understand that this might not be a big deal to most people. But, for me, this is like losing part of myself.

I do still believe that all of this is a matter of preference. One style is not necessarily more biblical than another and the music style alone would not be enough to make me leave a church since the preaching is still strong and I am still learning and growing.

However, I am deeply concerned by the way this change was made and the attitude by those who made it. When someone from our church shared an article on FB about reasons to prefer hymns for congregational singing, our pastor responded by posting Psalm 33:3 where it says to "sing a new song". This made it seem as if he did believe it were a biblical issue and our opinion was unbiblical.

Then, yesterday, I learned that at least one family is leaving the church because of these issues. I spent hours sobbing at the thought that this could be causing division in our church. This is still pretty new, so I can see several other families leaving, as well.

All of this has been making for many sleepless nights and tears. I have been praying that God would help me to see things as He sees them. That I would have the right mind and attitude about the changes.

In the end, it is much less about the actual change than about the way the change happened. However, I can't ignore the fact that the change itself breaks my heart.

I'm just seriously struggling with all of these thoughts and issues.



Stacy, mom to 12-year-old boy/girl twins and a three-year-old boy.

"Every man's life is a fairy tale written by God's finger." Hans Christian Andersen
Re: Church decisions [message #816051 is a reply to message #816048 ] Thu, 03 March 2016 11:13 Go to previous messageGo to next message
Sherry in NH  is currently offline Sherry in NH
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I just said to someone recently that I don't care if they have Gregorian chants, guitars, praise, up beat, hymns, psalms...it does not matter to me, as long as the preach the gospel...the rest seems like how you say the message.


In Jesus

Sherry from NH
Re: Church decisions [message #816056 is a reply to message #816048 ] Thu, 03 March 2016 16:48 Go to previous messageGo to next message
Lisa R.  is currently offline Lisa R.
Messages: 14917
Registered: April 2005
Location: Georgia
Senior Member

Stacey, I totally understand, both your anguish about the changing music, and about the way it was done.

I don't have any real answers. We were in a church for several years where I determined not to be overly frustrated about words on a screen with no notes, and songs that had no real meaning to me, and I couldn't learn them...it really took away much of the sense of worship for me. I tried so hard to remember that it was not the music that was important, but my heart, the fact that I was there worshiping with the saints. But it was just not the same.

When things change like that from the top down apparently without concern for the congregation as a whole, it is frustrating as well.

Do you know if many folks are frustrated, or is it a minority?

I don't actually have any answers beyond praying, and perhaps respectfully sharing your thoughts with the pastor. No guarantees there, of course, but please know that I understand, and will be praying for you.


Blessings,
Lisa R.
Re: Church decisions [message #816057 is a reply to message #816056 ] Thu, 03 March 2016 18:02 Go to previous messageGo to next message
praise2christ  is currently offline praise2christ
Messages: 2166
Registered: August 2009
Location: Northern KY
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Lisa R. wrote on Thu, 03 March 2016 16:48

Stacey, I totally understand, both your anguish about the changing music, and about the way it was done.

I don't have any real answers. We were in a church for several years where I determined not to be overly frustrated about words on a screen with no notes, and songs that had no real meaning to me, and I couldn't learn them...it really took away much of the sense of worship for me. I tried so hard to remember that it was not the music that was important, but my heart, the fact that I was there worshiping with the saints. But it was just not the same.

When things change like that from the top down apparently without concern for the congregation as a whole, it is frustrating as well.

Do you know if many folks are frustrated, or is it a minority?

I don't actually have any answers beyond praying, and perhaps respectfully sharing your thoughts with the pastor. No guarantees there, of course, but please know that I understand, and will be praying for you.


Thank you for understanding! It is nice to know that someone understands where I am coming from.

I know that my dad and my sister aren't fans. But, I feel like talking about it with people may be walking a fine line of gossip since it can come around to the people who made the decisions if not careful. I would also guess that the people who posted that article on FB and those who "liked" it don't like the change.

I can also think back to at least two really big changes that were made since I have been an adult and how they were handled. They were both done after lots of discussion, prayer, and a vote. One, I agreed with and the other, I did not. But, in both cases I felt like my concerns had been heard and taken into account. I do not feel that any of that was done in this case (perhaps the pastor and praise band knew about the possibility and prayed about it, but no one else had that opportunity.)


Stacy, mom to 12-year-old boy/girl twins and a three-year-old boy.

"Every man's life is a fairy tale written by God's finger." Hans Christian Andersen
Re: Church decisions [message #816059 is a reply to message #816033 ] Thu, 03 March 2016 19:07 Go to previous messageGo to next message
janetR  is currently offline janetR
Messages: 1937
Registered: March 2010
Location: TX
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I understand, also.

On the whole, I believe as Sherry says, that it really doesn't matter and that my heart before God is what is important. Like you said, it is preference. And if we dealt with an underground church where any fellowship at all is a lifeline, I think that our preferences would matter less to us. We have to keep it in perspective.

On the other hand, we don't live under those conditions. When a previous worship pastor began leaning heavily towards bluegrass/country, dh and I felt that we were becoming a cowboy church. Neither of us likes it. And it's not that I cannot worship God with a group of cowboy believers, but my heart soars when I sing some contemporary songs and hymns in the traditional (as opposed to country/bluegrass) way. And to be disappointed week after week after week was more than I could take. There were others who felt the same way, and ultimately we (leadership) decided on the written policy described upthread.

I am so against constant criticism of music styles and volume levels and song choices and other music issues. There are so many varying opinions and the worship pastor cannot please everyone all the time. But when there are major changes right out from under you, it is very upsetting.


JanetR
daughter of the King since 1980
wife to dh since 1981
mom to five of the most incredible adults on the planet, one wonderful 18yo, and grandma to two bouncy grandsons
Re: Church decisions [message #816072 is a reply to message #816057 ] Fri, 04 March 2016 19:48 Go to previous messageGo to next message
Lisa R.  is currently offline Lisa R.
Messages: 14917
Registered: April 2005
Location: Georgia
Senior Member

Quote:

But, in both cases I felt like my concerns had been heard and taken into account. I do not feel that any of that was done in this case


IMHO, even when we don't "get our way," it's easier to deal with disappointment when we feel heard.


Blessings,
Lisa R.
Re: Church decisions [message #816101 is a reply to message #816033 ] Mon, 07 March 2016 14:09 Go to previous message
Lisa T. is currently online Lisa T.
Messages: 5496
Registered: April 2005
Location: New Hampshire
Senior Member
(((Stacy))) I'm empathizing with you. Change is tough, especially when it is a church in which we have a long term personal investment! I'm in a similar spot for different reasons.

Our wonderful pastor had to return to his home in India. Right now there is a serious shortage of ordained pastors. We had one lined up to take our pastor's place, but he became seriously ill and could not do it. So, now we are sharing a pastor with a much larger church in a much larger nearby town. Our Sunday service has been moved to 5:30 Sunday evening (from 8 am Sunday morning). It was a necessary change; after all, the man can't bilocate, and the other church is much larger. But we wonder if we will get enough attendance to stay open at all. It doesn't look as if the situation will improve anytime soon. The time change was announced this Sunday and will start in April.

Of course, we could go to the big church in the nearby town, but my kids were baptized, confirmed, and married in our own little church! I've been going there for over 30 years. I don't want to change churches.

Dh and I have been discussing what to do for the past week. (He's on the pastoral council, so he knew a week ago what the schedule change will be). We finally decided to make the new time be our new "normal" Sunday, because we want to support our own little church and keep it open. We are going to pray, pray, pray for our pastor and for the people of our church.

I will pray for you and for your church situation...and I hope you will pray for me and mine!


Lisa T.
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