UNTIL ELDERS AND DEACONS ARE APPOINTED, HOW SHOULD THE BUSINESS OF THE CONGREGATION BE CONDUCTED?
1. All male members should attend regularly scheduled business meetings. These meetings are to be conducted decently and orderly, 1 Cor. 14:40. This requires good planning. Preparation should be made ahead of time for upcoming meetings. One person should speak at a time to keep down confusion. Courtesy and respect should be practiced. Each man should in honor prefer one another, each counting others better than himself, Phil. 2:3. This avoids quarreling, stubborn pride, and strife. Each man is willing to give up his own opinion or preference to bring about and keep peace in trying to be cooperative. Let no man love to have the pre-eminence, 3 Jno. 9. No man should seek to have all the attention pointed toward his thoughts and opinions. All should be willing to put away pride, selfishness, and vainglory. All need to clothe themselves with humility, for God resisteth the proud but giveth grace to the humble, 1 Pet. 5:;5. Let each man seek to serve others and the church as a whole. Jesus said that the greatest one in His sight is the servant of all, Mt. 20;27. He showed this to us by washing His disciples' feet, Jno. 13:12-15. Every man should enter the business meeting with the desire to be a servant to all. Each should gladly do any service that will help the church. It would be good to open and close each business meeting with prayer. In such important times of decision, God's wisdom and help are sorely needed and should be invoked on all. He has promised wisdom to those who ask, Jas. 1:5. Let each man take his turn as a moderator of the meeting, this prevents one man from thinking he is a permanent moderator. It gives each one needed experience in leading and directing discussions among brethren. It helps to keep down jealousy and strife. The job of moderator is not easy sometimes. The moderator, of course, has no more authority in decisions than any of the others present. It is his work to keep order, and to keep the meeting moving smoothly. A complete set of minutes should be kept of decisions made during the course of the meeting. The one that writes down the decisions that are made has no more authority than any other member that is present. He merely writes what is decided by the meeting as a whole. The moderator nor the secretary in business meetings are officers as such nor do they have an official office. It is all a matter of judgment and expediency. It is wise to always have a copy of the official minutes of the last meeting at the present meeting and such should be read in the hearing of all so there can be no misunderstanding of what has been previously decided and whether the decisions have been carried out if they were things to be done done between one meeting and the next. Of course, it is always wise to read the minutes of every meeting just before closing such meeting so that all is understood and accepted. All records of all business meetings should be permanently kept in a safe place for future reference in case someone should question what was previously decided. The records of such meetings should indicate those that were present at the particular meeting. These meetings should not be extended overly long especially when little is being accomplished, this kills interest. Have a good plan of discussion, let every one have his say on any matter brought up if he desires to speak. Such meeting should be matters of encouragement rather than discouragement. Such meetings should foster zeal and enthusiasm They can do so if conducted properly. Their aim should be to cause every member to be "always abounding in the work of the Lord", 1 Cor. 15:58. Because the men that meet in these meetings are Christians, they can overcome all differences and have no strife among them. They can walk together in agreement. The object of every meeting should be the building up of the congregation. It can be done by following this rule: In matters of what the Bible teaches -- unity. In opinions -- liberality. In all things -- love.
(Editors note: This is but one suggestion for holding business meetings and determining the work of local congregation. Each local congregation needs to decide for itself how it will conduct its own work, and who will be involved in the work and the decision making. As noted in other sections, no congregation has a right to tell another congregation how to do something. CS)
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