Dreaming of a certain kind of Annual General Meeting

agmI dream of an Annual General Meeting where the accent is on affirming and encouraging the work of leaders: both pastors and layleaders. Taking some time to celebrate what God has done, instead of a time to grill leaders, place blame or gripe over what happened or didn’t happen.

Church pastors and leaders do not need policing. If we elect leaders or appoint pastors, then we need to trust them, encourage them and pray for them. If you don’t trust them and have to police them, why appoint them in the first place?

When things are not doing well, leaders feel bad enough as it is. They don’t need more “awareness”, condemnation and discouragement piled on them.

Otherwise, we are no different from the world system: silent when things are fine; but a deafening, draining cacophony when things aren’t.

There are enough check and balances in any organization under the Charities Act.

God is the biggest check and balance and nothing escapes His eyes and He will balance all accounts on that Day, if not earlier.

I dream of AGMs where the silent majority who appreciates what the leaders are doing will speak up and not be silent. Its been too long that the floor is dominated by a vocal minority. The angels will be on tiptoe to listen in when such a choir of faith-full and hope-full voices is heard.

Some say that God is grieved when he sees the way AGMs are conducted. Others say God stopped attending AGMs long long ago because they are so far from what the church was meant to be. They say He has better things to do, and many young people feel the same way He does.

Business has to be done. The AGM is a requirement. I know, and let’s do it.

I just dream that it can be infused with a spirit of love. That there will be a display not of fireworks but of honor for the office of the leaders who serve the church.

I dream of a day when members realize the way they treat pastors reflect how they treat Jesus, and Father God.  Jesus had said, “He who welcomes you, welcomes me, and he who welcomes me, welcomes Him who sent me”. Yes, its that simple.

May the spirit of Caleb and Joshua lead the way when it comes to approving the budget. After all, the soundest logic, the most thoroughgoing financial prudence, is the one that factors in the greatness of God. This was what stumbled the ten tribal leaders that Moses sent to spy the land:  GOD’S PROMISES were not factored into their calculators.

Many a young man’s dream of being a pastor have probably sunk on the shoals of rocky AGMs. Young people are smart and they figure, “This is not the way to do the church, and this is not worth giving up my life for”.

And one day in the same AGM we will be talking about why many talented, smart young Christian people would rather be lawyers, doctors, and accountants, rather than be pastors.

Yes I dare dream of a day when unpleasant AGMs are a thing of the past, and the church has AGMs where members enjoy( not endure) attending, and are safe for young people under 18 to attend.

“Wake up, wake up.”

“It’s 8 already, better get up and go to work”.

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Comments

  • Dear pastor,

    I strongly disagree that church pastors and leaders do not need policing. In fact, as God’s spokespeople and people proclaiming His name, they need to be able to withstand the baptism of fire both from God Himself and also from men. Jesus certainly accomplished this by having pleased the Father and also did no wrong in men’s sight (the pharisees/Jews didn’t like what Jesus did not becuz they were policing rules, but rather of personal greed/pride/vendettas)

    To know what lack of policing in churches will lead to simply refer to the recent scandals of child molestations by priests.

    The issue at hand is not that we are policing the church pastors + ldrs. The prob is how/who should be doing it. Certainly policing is NOT everybody’s job. And while the appointed police is doing his/her job, i do wish that they’ll do it with a loving heart. There is a difference between allocating blame vs fact finding. It is the former that we should be avoiding, and the latter that we should encourage police of the church to be doing.

    As a side note, I also disagree on the point which u say the Charities Act of Singapore is enough. For we are not just bounded by law, we are called to be the salt and light of the earth and hence our moral duties are higher than just what the law says, hence my belief that we also DO need policing within our own church. Having our own self policing also helps in establishing ownership and belonging.

    Perhaps one way to go forward is to establish a proper policing team? Like an internal audit team where concerned members of the church could raise issues to them and let them settle, rather than doing so in an AGM (For AGM by its definition is an Annual meeting for general directions and strategies, NOT daily executive issues). It could be a very important ministry, considering how many members of church might just leave the church becuz they think their concerns are not addressed and hence “the church is evil and not God loving”.

  • internal audit….hmmm…sounds good. Yeah, that’s what most companies have these days, mnc or locals SME (mnc)…but then again, how did the early church during the Apostle Paul’s day survive? jsut a thought, am sure there weren’t much of policing (nor politicking) or internal audits…. 🙂

    It’s pure act of brotherly/sisterly love shown towards one another, Paul had to admonish some into giving the galatians (or ephesians)…now and then.

    But hmmm….why are most churches moving into that direction these days? all form no subtance, or too much substance and no form (also cannot) but what is really lacking is the Presence of God’s Holy Spirit to rain down healing, restoration of everything we need/want in our lives…

    hmmmm….hmmmmm…..

    Shalom…..
    🙂

  • The early Church in the Book of Acts is still a model for us today.

    The 3 key requirements of men put in leadership were: full of the Holy Spirit (Acts 6:3, 11:24), and of wisdom (6:3), and submitted to God (implicit from Acts, 1 Tim). Too often nowadays, we appoint elders who are have a religious spirit, are wise in the world, and are not submitted to God. This is dangerous as they will hinder the work of God instead of help it.

    Accountability of leadership has to start at the top. For example, look at Barnabas and Paul’s early relationship, the apostles and elders at the council in Jerusalem. So too, it is good for pastors to be at least accountable to another pastor within the same ministry team or in the same ministry network, or to a group of elders.

    I like how the apostles and elders met to discuss the issue of gentile conversion, then with the church, made a united decision to send a letter and men to the gentiles (Acts 15). There was unity and there was transparency.

    It is difficult enough to lead and pastor a congregation. Sometimes we make it more difficult than it is already by coming up with many well-intentioned but cumbersome rules.

    A famous quote goes ‘Man looks for better methods. God looks for better men’. I would add that we need fewer committees, and more prayer and fasting.

    The Church today has less need of methods, and more need of men and women who are willing to submit to His Spirit and walk in His love and wisdom.

  • someone remarked :”1st day you know meh? Every year also like that what!” This year is an Awful GM and not an AGM for me, seems more like an opposition party attending a meeting or a person at the Speaker’s Corner. The intentional critical words arrowed not only hurt, but shocked many of us, not speaking for others, shocked me.

    A group of brothers & sisters who painstakingly, over many months, met and discussed, prayed till wee hours of the morning most meetings (after their work), for what? To receive such treatment and shot down during AGM? Many times my eyes wandered around at my young cell members’ faces, many puzzled and probably unbelievable.

    A friend from another church once shared with me that when people started commenting or criticising ministries, he would answered them that because the complainer was gifted in this ministry but yet was too busy to serve, so the ministries will gladly have people who are not so gifted (yet) but have the HEART to serve, so don’t complain so much, if want to complain, then step in to serve.

    I agreed with my pastor said :”It totally grieved God’s heart to witness all these. We can asked questions, but it’s not what we asked, it’s how we asked”
    The tone, the attitude and awful words shot, were not just intentional, but very hurtful, even to me.

    In my most simplistic mind, aren’t we (logically speaking, especially in a church) to clarify matter, one to one with another witness around, and not publicly, like in a debate, shot the person down?

    Perhaps not only shocked, but very saddened.

    To all my beloved pastors, board of elders and all ministries’ heads, thank you for your love and laboring for us. One thing I am most certain is, our Lord will say

    “My child, I am well-pleased with you”

  • I understand what Emmanuel is refering to on the need for policing.

    The reality,however, is different. Having known of the tone and action of some church’s AGM, I wonder whether it is for an opportunity for some members to be vocal and to be the self-appointed “police” of the church. On more than one occasion, it led to the pastor been moved to another area because the vocal minority forced the issue.

    One really doesnt have to wait for AGM but rather to let the regular meetings decide on the fate of the pastor/s or ministries. I have seen and heard enough of the trauma that these meetings and committees have caused to Pastors and layleaders alike.

    Members who sees themselves as the church “police” often are those who do not attend prayer services, serve in children’s ministries, volunteer for outreaches but sees themselves as “mature” due to the length of stay in church and the profession they lead.

    Yes, at my church, we have an internal audit team but it is not merely to uncover wrongs but the main objective is to ensure that we are compliant to the statutes of the COC and to the laws of the land. There is a finance committee which sets out policies to ensure that the funds collected in God’s name is used for God’s purposes.

    In all of these committees, the objective is one of love and accountability – to one another and to what the law has established.

    One does not need to wait for the AGM to ask questions. If anyone has a problem, he should use the Matthew 18 principle and not let it fester.

    The point of bringing such things up at an AGM, suggests to me, that there are other motives and agenda at hand and, rather than in a loving encounter, is for the “good” of the church.

  • @Paul

    I totally agree with you. It is the “self appointment” of individual/vocal minority members that is the issue we are trying to avoid.

    Hence, i believe, in order to stop these “vigilantes”, we need to have a proper policing authority. To say we need no policing as per what Blogpastor has said actually fuels these people to see the “need” to police themselves.

    I’m very sure, many churches have internal audit teams dealing with finances, dealing with operation effectiveness and what not. However, we need to equip them with relative authority so that ordinary members do not step out of their lines and replicate their jobs.

    I think we need to be firm on such “vigilantes” of the church and make them know that their actions are not desirable. If you want to do it, do it the right way. Join the audit teams. Let the audit team settle with the church. Never ever go out and fly your own flag.

    On a separate note, i believe that our churches Elders and Pastors are God anointed ones. Hence we should always adopt a respectful stance towards them EVEN when we found them to be at fault in certain issues. For the best example, look at David vs Saul, and how David has treated Saul despite Saul’s treatment of him. This is the kind of leadership structure that we should have, and not having every single member thinking that the leaders OWE you explanations for things that are done.

    Haha if you ask me, i believe it is our current world of democracy and self-empowering that is causing this change in mentality. Everybody wants a say in things despite not contributing. Everybody believes his/her opinions holds some weight when certainly that cannot be true empirically. How many of us, when choosing a church, ask “how can i contribute” as oppose to “what this church can give me?”

  • I like the phrase from Cavelyn, “because the complainer was gifted in this ministry but yet was too busy to serve, so the ministries will gladly have people who are not so gifted (yet) but have the HEART to serve”
    I would want to thank P Thomas for his hard work in the Cell ministry fo the year 2009. He never fail me when I need his help. He gives and gives and gives and when you got “Tarok” by church members he kept pressing on.. apologising although not solely his fault. To all members of WRPF, let us start jounaling down the good things the BOE and the Pastors is doing now till the next AGM. When the Q&A comes, we should go forward and applaud, praise and give due credit to them. Instead of waiting for the minutes of AGM, looking for errors,mistakes and shortcomings.
    My son and nephew got stumbled and I have to explained to my son. I am not sure how much he is willing to accept but asking to serve in the future…mmm.. Abba Father I need your help.. sigh…

  • i agree with what emmanuel said(me is not from Pst Kenny’s church hor). fact of the matter, i’ve heard my former place of worship had a pretty ugly AGM too, there were two sides, and even an external pastor was called in to mediate between “warring” factions (sounds like feudal lords days).

    We’ve turned into a major consumerist society. Always asking what we can “benefit” from anything before we even want to help, volunteer, assist,etc.

    And it has always been such, thru all the facades that we all wear with a mask in church (all of us are guilty of that ya 🙂 ).

    but at the end of the day, the Lord is coming for His bride, regardless if it’s spotless or spot-ful? haha…but then again, there will be the one or two odd-balls in church that will want to break out of it’s shell and put in a 5cents or 20cents worth of comment/opinion, etc.

    To all pastors/layleaders reading this (whereever you are). remember that these people didn’t die for you. Jesus did….so take heart, have the courage to go on. Please don’t allow yourselves to be stumbled and feel dejected by all those nay sayers…..

    Be strong and courageous. Halleluyah! 🙂

    Shalom Alychem!

  • Luke 7:45-49 (New International Version)

    45You did not give me a kiss, but this woman, from the time I entered, has not stopped kissing my feet. 46You did not put oil on my head, but she has poured perfume on my feet. 47Therefore, I tell you, her many sins have been forgiven—for she loved much. But he who has been forgiven little loves little.” 48Then Jesus said to her, “Your sins are forgiven.” 49The other guests began to say among themselves, “Who is this who even forgives sins?”

    For those have received much grace will dispense lots of love and grace.

    If one still complain and murmur, then he has yet to know the love of his Saviour, Jesus Christ. For he has yet to receive much from the true gospel of grace. Pastors of churches have to be accountable for this. Are you beating the sheeps or are you feeding them? Feeding them with the super tonic food of the goodness of Jesus Christ.

    Lets not examine the goodness nor the failures of man. Only when we are IN CHRIST, victory is ours on the platter without sweat. Again because of the finished work on the cross where HE CRIED, “IT IS FINISHED!”

    Why is the church, the body of Christ, aching ?

    Shouldn’t be the body of Christ in excellent health ?

  • Romans 16 (paraphrased)

    Beloved Brothers & Sisters in Christ, as an ordinary member of WRPF:

    1I SALUTE you our sister Karen, a servant[a] of the church WRPF, for she has been a great help to many people, including me.

    3 I SALUTE Kenny & Thomas, my pastors in Christ Jesus. Not only I but all the members of WRPF are grateful to them.

    5 I SALUTE also the cells that meets at their house.

    6 I SALUTE Mary, who worked very hard for us.

    7 I SALUTE Alvin and Daniel, my elders who have been working very hard. They are outstanding among the elders.

    8 I SALUTE WRPF members, whom I love in the Lord.

    10 I SALUTE Eunice, tested and approved in Christ.

    12 I SALUTE all the cell leaders, those men & women who work hard in the Lord. Greet my dear friend Agnes, another woman who has worked very hard in the Lord.

    19Everyone has heard about your obedience, so I am full of joy over you; but I want you to be wise about what is good, and innocent about what is evil.

    20 THE GOD OF PEACE WILL SOON CRUSH satan UNDER YOUR FEET!

    The grace of our Lord Jesus be with you. AMEN!

  • Hi Kenny,
    There are many things in your blogspot which I can relate to and also agree. Yet, there are some things that I think needs clarification and thinking through more in the light of Scripture.
    1) AGM is a good thing no matter how much a pastor or the chairman despairs of the vocal minority. I have attended and chaired many of such meetings. It is a forum for members to give their feedback, air their concerns and give constructive criticisms.
    2) It’s not a matter of policing the pastors. Pastors like church members are fallible and sinful human beings. We need the members as much as they need us. Pastors must be accountable to the congregation and AGM is the forum where members can see that their pastors are accountable for their visions, plans and actions.
    3) There is always the vocal minority that raise all kinds of matters, relevant and irrelevant. Some criticisms are not always constructive but to shame and annoy the pastors. But as a pastor I welcomed their criticisms because at the AGM I could reply in public to their criticisms. Let the rest judge whether the pastors’ replies are transparent and answer the concerns and the criticisms of these members. It is the right of a member to disagree with his or her pastor and as pastors we must be “thick-skinned” enough to accept criticisms in good faith and reply with gentleness and wisdom, in the hope of convincing the opponents as Paul said in 1 Tim. As pastors we also can’t favour only those who agree with us. I hold to a no-favouritism policy. When one holds to this principle, the unity of the church is upheld and even the vocal minority falls into line when they see the vast majority are strongly behind their pastors.
    5) I don’t think AGMs can be ever without some unpleasantness. Even in the Acts 15 Council, there was much dissension and debate before they came to an agreement. There are times it’s good to debate matters in public, as a way to convince some unruly members that the pastors are not manipulating them through the pulpit or imparting some vision without sufficient discussion among members of the church.
    6) A good and effective chairman should be able to control the AGMs so that unjustified or unfounded criticisms are kept to the minimum and the main agenda of the AGM is not hijacked by the vocal minority.

    I guess this is long enough. It will good to talk more over coffee some day. May God’s blessings be with you.

  • I recalled Pastor Chua once preached on “When a snake bites you”. It is natural to look at our wound and hurt when bitten. All who were bitten died. Looking at our wounds, unfortunately, only remind us of the hurt and pain and may cause something in us to die – maybe our hope, our ability to love etc

    Numbers 21:9 So Moses made a bronze snake and put it up on a pole. Then when anyone was bitten by a snake and looked at the bronze snake, he lived.

    God’s eternal provision for us is to look at the CROSS where Jesus suffered & died for us so that we who look to Him will live! Let us look to Him and receive His outpouring of healing to flow into us.

    Isaiah 53:5 But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was upon him, and by his wounds we are healed.

    Also for our leaders & members who are tired, burdened and worn-out by the AGM. Jesus said, “Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest.

    Jesus is the Answer.

  • Dear beloved pastors and elders of Jesus,

    To the church of the WRPF in God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ: Grace and peace to you.

    1 Thessalonians 1
    Thanksgiving for the Thessalonians’ Faith
    2We always thank God for all of you, mentioning you in our prayers. 3We continually remember before our God and Father your work produced by faith, your labor prompted by love, and your endurance inspired by hope in our Lord Jesus Christ.
    4For we know, brothers loved by God, that he has chosen you, 5because our gospel came to you not simply with words, but also with power, with the Holy Spirit and with deep conviction. You know how we lived among you for your sake. 6You became imitators of us and of the Lord; in spite of severe suffering, you welcomed the message with the joy given by the Holy Spirit. 7And so you became a model to all the believers in Macedonia and Achaia. 8The Lord’s message rang out from you not only in Macedonia and Achaia—your faith in God has become known everywhere. Therefore we do not need to say anything about it, 9for they themselves report what kind of reception you gave us. They tell how you turned to God from idols to serve the living and true God, 10and to wait for his Son from heaven, whom he raised from the dead—Jesus, who rescues us from the coming wrath.

    Find encourgement from these verses which St. Paul wrote to the Thessalonians for our Lord know your struggle.

    It is not the person nor persons that spoken the condemnations and discouragements but the bad spirit trying to seperate the body of Christ.

    Seek strengthen from the Lord when you rest on His finished work at the Cross. Faith is strengthen from glory to glory by just keep believing what Jesus had done for us on the Cross.

    Do not sway nor lift your eyes away from Jesus because you are beautiful in him.

    You are BLAMESLESS AND PERFECT as Lord have given you His BLAMELESSNESS AND PERFECTNESS by His blood.

    Amen!

  • Thanks for all interesting comments and advice. I believe the sentiments I have expressed resonates with a majority of small church pastors and young people. We know the requirements of the Charities Act, etc, but can challenge the status quo, christianize and baptize the AGM for the glory of God?

    It starts with dreaming and dialogue…….

  • Ephesians 4:29-32 (New International Version)

    29Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen. 30And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, with whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. 31Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. 32Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.

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