Our Annual Voters’ Assembly (Church Business Meeting) is scheduled for Sunday, June 27 - and to tell you the truth, I’m really looking forward to it.
Over the years, I’ve learned that many who have given up on the “business of the church” have not necessarily given up on their relationship with Jesus. In fact, many of them still regularly attend worship, are engaged with other people in a group, and may even serve donuts or serve on a ministry team.
They have simply said, “no” to being a Board member, elder, or part of an Annual Business Meeting for a variety of reasons including not having the time to commit to evening meetings, sour past experiences, too many meetings, that they have no desire to "see how the sausage is made", or they simply find church business to be boring - especially when they know that other people will step up and do it.
All those reasons are reasonable, understandable, and fair.
At the same time, the truth is, while church business is not everybody’s cup of tea, I believe that each person has a part to play in the “business” of the church.
Here are three reasons I believe being engaged in church business is important… dare I say, even mission critical.
Church Business Gives You a Wider Perspective of God’s Work
When you attend worship, it’s easy to consume the “spiritual goods and experience”. A mentor of mine once told me, “no money, no ministry”. And while God can use anything and anybody to do His work, I believe God explicitly brings together people to be His church to do His work.
When we see the dollars and cents and together say “yes, let’s use these resources to make a Jesus-like difference in the lives of other people”, God is showing us that His work begins long before we walk up to a table to grab donuts and coffee, gather for your Life Group or Bible Study, or pack a backpack full of food for a hungry local family.
God’s work begins when His Spirit invades the hearts of people and inspires them to faithfully and generously give away what God has already given to them. Why? So that more people can experience God’s love through ordinary people and participate in Jesus’ mission of loving God, loving people, and living like Jesus.
Now, I don't know about you, but that gets my "let's join Jesus on His mission" blood flowing!
Church Business Connects You With New People in Your Church Family
Let’s be honest. We tend to stay in our individual circles. It's not bad. It's human.
And, in a larger churches, it's a fact that it is difficult to know a whole lot of people unless you totally immerse yourself into it - which takes time, and a degree of God-given extroversion. Side plug: this is why Connecting in a Life Group and Joining a Ministry Team is so important here at Our Savior.
Gathering at an Annual Meeting gives us an opportunity to meet people who may attend different services than you do. And, now with both our Tacoma and Online Campuses, there’s a good possibility that you really don’t know other people until you spend time in a shared experience with them.
During an Annual Meeting, you’ll hear members of the Board of Directors and perhaps some of our elders, too. It’s a time for you to get to hear from and get to know these people you may never have met before. And yet, even though you’ve never met, you share an incredible commonality with them: your love for Jesus and your desire to see more people love Him back with you.
God Can Use Church Business Meetings to Change Your Heart
While I know plenty of people who get excited for baptisms, worship, serving our neighbors, mission trips, and opportunities to grow in God’s Word, I think I’ve only heard one person who has told me “I’m really excited for this year’s annual meeting”.
Heart change takes time and we usually don’t experience it or even notice it as a result of a single experience.
The transformation of our hearts by the Holy Spirit happens when we share multiple experiences with multiple people over multiple times around multiple topics of conversation. Each interaction is like a mini lego. And if C.S. Lewis would take that image, we could say that while we may think God is building a house with those legos, the truth is, God is building a mansion with them - a mansion with His throne in the center of it.
The truth is, there can be a lot of different opinions and perspectives shared at church business meetings. And while division like this in the “kingdom of the world” suggests non-compliance and signals a need to win an augment - in God’s kingdom, this is the kind of diversity that augments our unity in Jesus’ work in us.
While we may have a wide variety of opinions when it comes to candidates, votes, financial and ministry plans; God’s Spirit continually changes our hearts to remind us that ministry is not about me or us - it’s about Him and what He has done, is doing, and will continue to do forever.
For me, I often leave church meetings more passionate about Jesus’ work, more encouraged that Jesus’ mission is alive and well in and through us, and inspired to see what God has already prepared for us to do in the next year and beyond.
And, that’s my prayer for you, too. . . that if you’ve never been a part of a church business meeting, that you would consider giving our Annual Voters’ Assembly on June 27 a try. You can learn more and register at oslc.com/annualmeeting.
If you’ve been part of church business meetings in the past, your continued presence encourages and inspires your church family to “keep going”.
And, if you’ve been jaded by church business in the past, send me an email because I'd love to walk with you through that jadedness into a new place filled with God's healing of your past and His forgiveness of the wrongs as His Spirit does "heart surgery" on you.
When I think about it... that’s the kind of work God has been up to since the beginning of time and will continue to do forever... even through church business meetings.
The OSLC ministry team is a growing collection of women and men who live as a family on mission, leading the OSLC family in connecting an unchanging God with a changing world by loving God, loving people, and living like Jesus.