Lessons from the Past, Insights for the Present: Church Governance and Its Relevance Today | POD 017
Lessons from the Past, Insights for the Present:
Church Governance and Its Relevance Today
How are churches structured and governed? Kevin Rackman and Tom Nelson join our host, Bill Gorman, bringing their extensive experience in church planting, architecture, and governance to the conversation. They explore the significance of accountability, the role of national denominations, the complexities of power dynamics, and the importance of checks and balances in church and business leadership. Join us as we uncover the practical wisdom and principles that can guide churches and organizations in their governance and leadership roles.
THREE KEY TAKEAWAYS:
- Importance of Accountability and Checks and Balances: The application of checks and balances helps prevent abuse of power and promotes virtuous leadership. This concept is not limited to the church context but is part of God’s design for all organizations.
- Character and Virtue-based Leadership: Biblical guidance in the Old and New Testaments stress the importance of leaders’ character and moral virtues in ensuring the flourishing of the church. The process of selecting elders involves collaboration and input from various stakeholders, and the role of elders is primarily governance-oriented rather than day-to-day operational management.
- Adaptation and Application of Biblical Principles: While the apostles did not directly address the institutional structures and challenges currently faced by church leaders, their ethical vision, principles, and wisdom can be extrapolated and adapted to contemporary church governance. Understanding the historical and cultural context of biblical writings helps in discerning timeless wisdom applicable to church leadership structures today.
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Kevin Rauckman is the owner of, and financial consultant for, Rauckman Advisors, LLC, where he has worked since November 2017. Rauckman was previously a financial advisor for MoBank (formerly Bank of Kansas City). Prior to joining the Bank of Kansas City, Rauckman served as the Chief Financial Officer and Treasurer of Garmin Ltd. from January 1999 until December 2014, and he was named CFO of the Year by the Kansas City Business Journal in 2008. Rauckman received a B.S. in Business Administration and an MBA degree in Finance from the University of Kansas. He serves as a board member and the audit committee chairman of JE Dunn Construction Group; a board member and the nomination/governance committee chairman of MGP Ingredients, Inc.; and a member of the board of CrossFirst Bank since 2018. He is currently chairman of the elder board at Christ Community.
Tom Nelson is the Lead Senior Pastor of Christ Community Church and founded the church over 30 years ago. He also serves as president of Made to Flourish, a network that seeks to empower pastors to lead churches that produce human flourishing for the common good. Tom is the author of Work Matters: Connecting Sunday Worship to Monday Work, Economics of Neighborly Love: Investing in Your Community’s Compassion and Capacity, and The Flourishing Pastor: Recovering the Lost Art of Shepherd Leadership. Tom speaks regularly on faith, work, and economics around the country. Tom has served on the board of regents of Trinity International University and is also a council member of The Gospel Coalition. Tom graduated with a master’s of theology degree from Dallas Theological Seminary and received his doctorate of ministry degree from Trinity Evangelical Divinity School. Tom and his wife, Liz, have two grown children and live in Leawood, Kansas.
“…there are checks and balances on the board…those checks and balances don’t guarantee virtue but they encourage virtue…congregationalism isn’t perfect, but it’s really, really good on that point of check and balance on power, boundaries, accountability and order.”
— Tom Nelson
“On a governance structure…the assumption is there’s transparency, there’s fairness, there’s love, all these character pieces, you’re hospitable…But the assumption is people are going to treat others fairly if there is a challenge, or a problem along the way. Structure or governance helps combat that. [which is] why this is so important in the life of any institution.”
— Kevin Rauckman
“…throughout church history and present that there are different ecclesial structures or structures of churches, and they appeal to certain scriptural texts for validation. I think that’s good. It shows there’s not just one size fits all. There’s diversity and that’s really good. Each one has its strengths and maybe weaknesses. That’s just the nature of an imperfect world and imperfect structure.”
— Tom Nelson
Christ Community’s Position Papers:
Flourishing and Leadership
A Biblical Theology of Male and Female
[00:01:30] Discussing governance in organizations.
[00:05:33] Enron’s example highlights the importance of oversight.
[00:06:50] Tim Mackie on complexity of biblical context.
[00:12:32] Diversity in ecclesial structures is beneficial.
[00:15:05] Financial world requires integrity; similarities in organizations.
[00:17:59] Exploring biblical principles in today’s diverse churches.
[00:20:43] Bylaws, board, checks, balances, accountability, power.
[00:25:51] Collaborative effort in selecting church elders.
[00:28:06] Kevin leads as the Elder chair.
[00:30:34] Responsibilities of board members.