Who Runs the Church?
Do justice. Love mercy. Walk humbly with your God. – Micah 6:8 (adapted)
Jesus runs the church, with my help and yours. More frequently, Jesus runs the church, despite my help and yours. If I didn’t believe that God was somehow at work in all this, I’d quit tomorrow.
Yet decades ago, I fell in love with the idea of voting in church at a historic New England meeting house. I couldn’t believe we got to hold congregational meetings, collaborate, and then decide together on serious matters – from the calling of our own minister to the allocation of our shared funds.
Decades later, I still love that congregational system of governance, but I don’t worship it. I have learned to work with its strengths: the strong ministry of the laity, shared decision making, and the excitement of not knowing who the Holy Spirit will speak through next.
I have also learned to negotiate its weaknesses, such as this one: the belief that every decision you disagree with should have been taken to a congregational meeting that you would not have attended anyway.
In the end, it is the covenant that matters.
Dear God, long before we were a church, you caught someone’s open ear and said, “Do justice. Love mercy. Walk humbly with your God.” Amen.
Lillian Daniel is a voting member (and pastor) at 1stcongucc.org and author of Tired of Apologizing for a Church I Don’t Belong To.