Presiding and Deciding: Dynamics of Church Leadership Meeting

by Jilmer Cariaga

The office of the pastor has inherent authority and advantages. It is interesting to know how they influence the church leadership and impact their congregation.

Although pastors are part of the church board, but to some degree because of their inherent authority, they are distinct member of the board. It is noted that the PGCAG By-laws empowers the pastor to act as the Chairman of the Church Council and to preside in all business meetings and in Cabinet and Church Board meetings.  Could they possibly influence the decision of the board because of their inherent power?

Table 1. Respondents Role in Church

Table 1. Respondents Role in Church

Thus, to satisfy this curiosity, I conducted an online survey which was participated by a total of 44 respondents. The goal was to understand the dynamics of church leadership expressed in two functions: presiding-a-meeting and decision-making on church affairs.  The responses were compiled from September 22 to October 12, 2014.  Table 1 shows the number of respondents and the role they play in their respective local church.

Precisely the survey is not comprehensive nor conclusive but it allows us to make some inferences out of the responses than can shed some light as to how church leadership structure can affect local assembly.

Understandably, it is a common practice to present the proposed programs and activities first to the board and seek their approval before cascading it to the congregation. The process provides them opportunity to study the proposal and allows discussion to flourish before they make a decision. A healthy church leadership team values the consensus of it members. Deciding on church affairs must not be a sole responsibility of the local pastor.

But what does the survey tell? Table 2 presents a comparison on roles of the pastor and the church board in a local church with a given number of active members as understood by the respondents. The result may not display the actual happenings inside the boardroom but the statistics can tell us possibilities.

Table 2. Comparison between who presides and who decides

Table 2. Comparison between who presides and who decides

Generally, there seems to be a distribution of functions between the pastor and church board in the church of the majority of the respondents. This assessment is shared by the following respondents:

  • 32 (73%) say that the pastor presides in the board meeting
  • 25 (57%) say that the board decides on church affairs

Interestingly, however, is the 18 (41%) respondents that say the pastor decides on church affairs. This needs further pondering. Referring again to Table 2, the critical roles of both presiding and deciding given to the pastor of the 11 out of 18 churches is a consideration for churches that have only less than 100 active members. This is true to some pastors of similar church demographics whose church board rely on them in decision making. The composition of the church board is as significant as to its function.

The leadership model used by the 7 remaining churches, each with at least 100 active members, which gives the two separate roles of presiding and deciding to the pastor disregards the PGCAG local church code.

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