Church Organization

By Reverend T. H. Chapman

Church organization and government is essential to a growing congregation. It is approved of the Lord and endorsed by men. The scripture teaches, “Not slothful in business: fervent in spirit;
serving the Lord.” Romans 12:11

Organization is a group of individuals unified with a common cause and purpose. It is for the purpose of strength to promote and further a burden. It is true that two or more can do a better job with any task that is presented. In short, organization is the uniting of individuals. For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them. Matthew 18:20

Times change. Many conditions change with time so we must organize to help one another to stand in such times as these. You can do more as a group to promote the work of the Lord than you can as an individual. No man lives to himself and survives. We are brethren, and there are times that we need someone to strengthen us. There is no way to be independent and make it on your own. We all depend on something and someone to help us make it. Let me further show you some needs, and it will be dealt with in separate paragraphs.

We should stress the minister being organized and properly orientated to the purpose of organization, and what it is doing. The minister is the head of the church, and he must set standards and guidelines and above all, practice what he preaches. He must be first partaker of the fruit. It is very important that every pastor be an ordained minister and backed by an organization so that he will feel that he is not alone in “battle. Also, in many instances you need this to meet requirements of law. The United Pentecostal Church is the greatest ministerial organization in operation, and it has been striving to maintain a clean, up-right ministry; but the organization does not dictate to its ministers as to how to run their congregations.

In many cases it would have been better if someone could have intervened. Ministers need guidance and someone needs to watch for them. Free preachers are in word only. The preacher that is free is trying to avoid his responsibility to an organized effort and many times, he is trying to cover up things in his life. Most of them want the benefit and fellowship of a going body without being a part; but on the other hand, they organize and dictate to their assembly. It would be great if all our ministers would regard the boundaries of the organization and not be looking for a way to be in and out at the same time. We must tighten our grip on unity rather than let go. We have too many that belong with their name, but the heart is independent. It is somewhat as Jesus said to some followers concerning their lip service.

This is the purpose of this lesson is to help you think positive and in the right direction.

There are many ideas and interpretations concerning organizing a church. To have a church organized is simply saying you want a local group of believers to have an assembly where the truth can be preached without fear or favor. Paul set churches in order and put Elders over them, or we would call them pastors. The location of a building is very important and especially the legal work to make sure you will have a marketable title. You do all this at purchase time because later could be too late. It is proper to secure the services of an attorney for such work. They will look out for your interest. Property must have legal trustees and if you do not have men to serve as a trustee, then secure the services of men on the District Board. All property is held in trust only by trustees, but it is owned and operated by the local congregation. It takes the voice of the group to do anything with the property. They should be considered when you build or add on or whatever you plan. It should be noted in your deed as to what would happen to your property in case the congregation should cease to function as a body. This would prevent an individual from benefiting personally from sale of same.

Every church needs an up-dated roster of legal voting members. This is necessary for the church to be recognized as an organized church by law. Evaluate the church roster. This, of course, should be done first by the pastor. Some of our churches do not place much emphasis on an established, recognized church membership. This seems to work fine until a strong decision must be made or the church falls into trouble. Then, when a decisive vote must be taken, the first item of business is to qualify the church membership. Unless the church roster has been kept up to date the pastor and church are at once in trouble.

It is good for the pastor to personally go through the roster and adjust it twice each year. Once each year, it should be defined by the church board and the church.

Clear through the church board. After the pastor has removed the names he feels according to the local church government should be removed, he brings his tabulation to the church board. He frankly states the people who have been removed, and why they have been removed. He asks the church board to ratify the decisions. Most of the time, of course, this will be done. At least twice a year there should be an addition to a church membership. People who are taken into the church should be appraised of what faithful church membership means. It is very impressive for them to be received in a public service with hands laid on them and best wishes given to them.

Define the membership by church vote. After the church board has ratified the adjusted roster, the total names are brought to the church. They may have been mimeographed on a list and passed out to the congregation. It is explained to the congregation that this is the church roster adjusted as customary by the pastor and the church board.

The church is asked to ratify the roster. Once someone makes the motion and it is voted on, it becomes the official membership of the church. This is a good, concise way of keeping the roster up to date and is officially acceptable in the courts of the land.

No doubt there will be people attending church who do not qualify for membership. This should be made to know that they are very welcome to attend. They should be informed that all pastoral help given to church members is available to them also. They should be made to feel that they are welcome and loved and wanted.

We suggest that all our churches be affiliated with the United Pentecostal Church and to identify themselves with a sign showing the affiliation. Many have misunderstood church affiliation, but it is better than it sounds. To be affiliated does not have any attachment to your property. It is a means to offer assistance to a local group in matters other than property. The order of business is outlined for the church; and also, it gives the church an added wealth of information concerning ministers when they are in need of a pastor. It is much better to have a District Board to turn to in time of need than to have only access to a local board which in some cases is only two men. These are only suggested benefits of affiliation. The misquoted fact is that the organization will take your property away from the local group if they are affiliated, and this is not true. Again, affiliation deals with the group and not property.

It is true that we can all work together and accomplish so much more. If a pastor can inspire others to work, you could readily see the results will be much greater. If the organization can be properly understood and used, you could readily see how many souls could be reached with world missions. We must find our place and strive to reach the world with the gospel. The organization is a tool to better a job so if we fail to use it, then it is our responsibility if we fail. Tools unused will never be beneficial.