Since US Presidential election has been a hot topic, I would like to talk about “voting”. Voting is a major way to make decision in democracy. It is to include and honor people’s opinions as much as possible. In established church settings, congregations also may make important decisions by voting, such as appointment of new senior pastor, purchase of big assets, and other membership matters. However, we will avoid voting as much as we can.
Many people think church has to run like a democratic government. But Church is representation of “Kingdom” of God. So what should dictacte the decision of the church is “the will of God”, not the opinions of people. It doesn’t mean we will never vote. But it will be the last resort. This is for very simple reason: Voting always “divides”, never unites. (You’ve probably saw what happened after voting – nation is divided) Voting divides “winning” group from “losing” group. Winning group might be happy that they got what they wanted, but losing group often feels forfeited. This happens a lot when church votes for a new pastor. When that pastor comes, those who didn’t vote for him either oppose him or leave the church.
You might ask, “didn’t people in the Bible vote?” The answer is no. Jesus and apostles never taught us to vote. In fact, they never voted themselves! Instead, they often “casted lot”, throwing stones with symbols or sticks with markings on the ground, to interprete God’s will. It is because “casting lot” always unites decisions and upholds God as the central decision maker. Voting puts the people as the central decision maker and it always divides.
We can build healthy church without voting. In the Seed, those who serve the most volunteer to serve as Strategic Leadership Team. In SLT, we don’t cast lot but we try our best to make decisions based on what we think God’s will is. So unless we get an unanimous decision, we don’t make decision at all or discuss later for another options. We do not expect everyone to agree on everything since that is impossible. However, we ask for “alignment”. You can align yourself with a certain direction even when you don’t agree. So in SLT, When there is no alignment, there is no decision. It is because “No decision” is better than having some people enjoy the decision at the expense of others.