Most of us know that our church used to be a non-instrumental Church of Christ. When the elders asked me to be their pastor, I told them I would only do so if we made major changes, beginning with approval of By-Laws and establishing a membership. How did I lead this church through these changes with virtually no opposition?
For starters, the leaders had seen the failed system fail. They were ready for some stability. You see, the Church of Christ believed in a congregational government, meaning a democracy where everyone had an equal say. They also did not believe in a membership. Therefore, when problems came up, they called a congregational meeting to vote on it, and whoever brought the most friends and neighbors won! People showed up who had never attended before.
That’s wrong and they all knew it. The only logical fix was to establish a membership roster to identify who the legitimate voters would be. And By-Laws simply spelled out how we would do business in our church. It was common sense stuff and everyone agreed.
Every church should have a membership roster kept updated and workable By-Laws that close loopholes that give Satan a foothold to destroy what God wants to do. Because I had already proven myself by being a faithful lay person in the same church for eight years, the elders trusted me and approved every change I suggested. But I had to earn that right.
Of course, the church had already been through a split, eliminating those who didn’t want the change, and the remaining people were weary of the backbiting. That set up the possibility for the changes that allowed our church to grow over the next two decades. Only a handfull of people remain who can remember those agonizing days back in 1980, but I am eternally grateful for their trust and support.