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Disagreement with church leader

(18 Posts)
cheapskatemum Mon 08-May-17 20:27:42

More of a wwyd really, but I would appreciate Christian, or other faith perspectives. We don't have a church minister at the moment, so we have a team of deacons, or elders, who have been elected by church members. One of them has recently taken it upon herself to become more of a leader, to the extent that, if she doesn't agree to something, it can't be done. For various reasons, the other 3 people on the leadership team are going along with this. Not surprisingly, it's caused a rift between them and the members. I could leave and go to another church, but there aren't that many nearby and I have a hand in several community outreach groups that I'd be sorry to say goodbye to. I'd really rather stay and see things sorted - I'm not the only member who feels like this. Any ideas how I/we could proceed? It's strangling our witness, fellowship, worship etc.

Iris65 Mon 08-May-17 20:32:29

The members need to talk to the team ideally at a round table meeting where full and frank discussion can take place. Of course it will be difficult but its the only way that change can happen in a healthy way.
If nothing changes then you need to make a decision about where you can do most good.
Peace and blessings

CaulkheadNorth Mon 08-May-17 20:35:48

In the CofE we have PCC who are an elected group of people who have a responsibility to have conversations like this although rarely do
Do you have something like that? Do you know her well enough to meet her for a coffee and chat?

Dawnedlightly Mon 08-May-17 20:37:19

Are you interregnum? What sort of thing is she doing?!

cheapskatemum Mon 08-May-17 20:41:24

Thanks Iris65, I really appreciate you taking the time to respond. We have had one meeting which was chaired by an area representative for our denomination. I think we were too polite to call the one person out, so tended to skirt around the issues. We've got another meeting scheduled and we could do it at that one. So far she has not responded to any criticisms with humility, despite being au fait with the scriptures. Whether I can do more good elsewhere is a big unknown! I can pray about that though, so good suggestion.

cheapskatemum Mon 08-May-17 20:48:24

Dawnedlightly yes, hopefully interregnum, although the membership is so small that I wonder if we'll ever be able to afford a Minister again. She is deciding who can and can't preach, likewise who can and can't lead worship, what materials will be used at home and prayer groups and she wants to make all community outreach overtly "Missional".

Caulkhead as you've probably gathered by now, it's not C of E. We have an area association, but they weren't very helpful in the past, when our previous Minister stood down. The guy who chaired our lat meeting wasn't bad, though.

Fink Mon 08-May-17 20:49:30

So what sort of things has she opposed? I'd be more inclined to find a specific example, when it comes up, and request to meet the whole group of elders, with a couple of allies if possible, to discuss that one issue. If it comes up in the conversation, you could also mention that this isn't the first time something similar has happened and reference particular other occasions.

Then, if you were successful that time, I'd keep repeating the process every time she blocks something else, and hopefully she'll get the message.

I recently had a difficult relationship with a minister. I found it helpful to discuss specific matters rather than a general 'I don't like the way you do things' kind of complaint. And I made sure to congratulate him when I found something to praise. And I also made a real concerted effort (with some false starts and hiccups blush) not to gossip/discuss him behind his back except on factual matters. We're never going to be best friends, but we have a decent working relationship and get on ok.

cheapskatemum Mon 08-May-17 20:50:32

Meeting for coffee and chat was my first thought. I was dissuaded against doing so by one of the other members. I think she felt I would be talked round by the dominant woman, she is a force to be reckoned with!

Fink Mon 08-May-17 20:50:33

Sorry, x-post for the first part of mine.

cheapskatemum Mon 08-May-17 20:54:51

Some great ideas there, Fink thank you. I think the first specific thing to tackle could be the restrictions on who can and can't preach. One of the other elders did tell her that it wasn't her gifting, so we could build on that!

cheapskatemum Mon 08-May-17 20:57:28

Yes, cross post! As you can see by the nature of the things she opposes (and proposes) they come up all the time. They aren't minor issues of little importance.

BackforGood Mon 08-May-17 21:04:33

I agree with fink about making a 'thing' about one issue, then another issue, rather than 'a person'.

Is there not a structure within your Church though, that you could get some support from?
For example, in Methodism, the individual Church is part of the circuit, then the circuit part of a District, the then District is part of a National church organisation with rules and other folk who individual churches can turn to when struggling.

cheapskatemum Mon 08-May-17 21:14:17

Yes, Backfor, it's a Baptist church, so it's the * (area of country we're in, which I don't want to give away!) Baptist Association. The chairperson of the previous meeting was one of the area officials. The general issue of how decisions are made was discussed, but rather too generally for any headway to be made.

BackforGood Mon 08-May-17 22:29:54

If there are several of you that think the same then, I would ask this person to have a chat and ask them hoe they suggest you move forwards.

cheapskatemum Tue 09-May-17 18:35:38

Well, I don't know if any of you good people have been praying about this, but today I was able to make it to an Open The Book (OTB) meeting. In the past, the leader in question would have bossed the team of volunteers about, disregarded their suggestions and taken the lead role in the Bible story for herself. Today her leadership style was markedly different and far preferable: allowing others to have a say in how to stage the story; play the main roles etc. She said at the end that she has met with some church members since the Members' Meeting. I'm guessing she heard the same home truths enough times to feel convicted to change. Many thanks for all your suggestions. I have strategies to put in place should the need arise again in future.

BackforGood Tue 09-May-17 23:15:07

Excellent news smile

MrsCK Sat 13-May-17 07:42:46

It sounds like I'm from a different church to you but at your meetings do you start with prayer and worship?
I'd be praying thanks and blessings for what this lady has done for the church in that she is committed and dedicated and lots of people are benefitting.
Then in the meeting have an agenda called church leadership. Get everyone to post it note thoughts about the current leadership. The anonymity of it should open some issues. Pray for grace as you go through them and just blow it open. Yes it will be difficult and uncomfortable. Yes it will be painful to start off with but His word is not about ego and status building. It's about love and compassion and building a church where that shines through. If that isn't happening stuff needs to change!

cheapskatemum Sat 13-May-17 17:52:43

Yes MrsCK, I agree with all that and we do start meetings with prayer. As I've said, were a Baptist church, but we could do as you've suggested except that, the way things have been going, the woman in question is unlikely to allow it! To be fair, with a membership of 15, and an average turn out of 12 at members' meetings, the things written on the Post Its wouldn't be very anonymous as from the handwriting and type of language used, accuracy of spelling etc we would be able to work out who said what.

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