DIOCESE OF AWORI (ANGLICAN COMMUNION)
LECTURE DELIVERED BY THE RT. REVD. DR. J. AKIN ATERE
AT 2018 STANDING COMMITTEE & PARISH COUNCIL RETREAT
HELD AT ALL & EVERY GRACE CHRISTIAN CENTRE, AJIBODE PHASE II
The PCC Originally means the Parochial Church Committee. The word, ‘parochial’ ordinarily means ‘narrow’ or ‘narrow mindedness’ (i.e. parochialism). But it still related to a church parish in another sense. How does it really apply to a church?
The Parochial Church Committee is a body that is concerned with the issues that happen in a local church, i.e. a geographically defined church area it could be Cathedral, Parish, or Worship Centre. The word “Parochial” therefore implies that the functions of the committee are “narrowed down” or “limited” to the affairs of that particular church or congregation in their “scope” or “area of jurisdiction.”
This body called parochial Church Committee is otherwise called “vestry Committee,” “Council of Elders,” “Board of Trustees”, etc, in other church denominations, but Parochial Church committee (or Vestry Committee) is peculiar to the Anglican Communion. This body serves as a guardian of all church buildings, lands and other properties within the church Parish. It is responsible for the necessary repairs, insurance, and other financial matters of the Church. The decision of one parochial church committee is not binding on another church. Every parochial Church Committee is independent and official membership is not by appointment or co-option but by nomination and election by the congregation and appointment by the Bishop (i.e. members of the church); this is an advisory consultative body elected in every church annually. It is a top leadership team of every local church.
The duty of the PCC is summarized in 1 Cor. 14:40, which say “Let all things be done decently and in order” I envision the word “orderliness” as hidden or embedded in the word, “Parochial.” This orderliness and parochialism is better understood within the context of Acts 6:1-7. “And in those days, when the number of the disciples was multiplied, there arose a murmuring of the Grecians against the Hebrews, because their widows were neglected in the daily ministration. Then the twelve called the multitude of the disciples unto them, and said, It is not reason that we should leave the word of God, and serve tables. Wherefore, brethren, look ye out among you seven men of honest report, full of the Holy Ghost and wisdom, whom we may appoint over this business. But we will give ourselves continually to prayer, and to the ministry of the word. And the saying pleased the whole multitude: and they chose Stephen, a man full of faith and of the Holy Ghost, and Philip, and Prochorus, and Nicanor, and Timon, and Parmenas, and Nicolas a proselyte of Antioch: Whom they set before the apostles: and when they had prayed, they laid their hands on them. And the word of God increased; and the number of the disciples multiplied in Jerusalem greatly; and a great company of the priests were obedient to the faith.”
The corporate existence of PCC is all about the welfare and well-being of the congregation, whereby their thoughts and actions are to be parochial .. “narrowed-down” on the betterment of the congregation or church. It is not a place of game of number’ it does not really matter whether the committee is made up of twelve men and women or less, but majorly about men and women who could serve as a team and with good reputations. Such personalities would champion the course of orderliness, and the Word of the Lord would continue spreading. Whoever happens to become a PCC member should live up to these expectations. For us to realize in details these expectations, we would be looking at different questions and answers.
WHO IS THE LEADER OF THE PCC?
We are all brothers. But doesn’t someone have to exercise leadership in the action of a ruling board? In order to have orderliness and guidance, leadership is needed even in the PCC. I am aware that every member of the PCC has an assigned area of responsibility in the ministry. All of us are gifted by the Lord. No one can accomplish the mission of Christ alone. PCC was created for the purpose of caring for the whole members of the church and instilling discipline when any member of the congregation errs.
The ministry does not belong to the ordained clergy alone. We recognise the fact that lay-persons are needed in carrying out the purpose of Jesus Christ on earth. Every member of the PCC is very important. The nomination and eventual election of any person into this leadership team is not by any way coincidental. It is divinely orchestrated by God, for the purpose of using the persons to further the course of Christ. To say that every member of the PCC is a leader is correct, but I also know that every PCC has a leader who serves as the Chairman of the leadership team. He directs the meeting, and in some cases over-rules some issues. He is the vision-carrier of the leadership team. And this PCC leader is often the Vicar of the local Church.
There is however some misconceptions of Christian leadership. Some ministers are not effective in their ministry because they have problems with their PCC members because they think leadership is all about bossing the people to do their biddings. We must first of all know that we are all brothers and sisters in Christ Jesus. Some parochial Church Committee are boring because the members and the ministers are usually engaged with petty, unchristian, and sometimes ridiculous antics. Leadership in the church of God is not like leadership in the secular system. We are servants not bosses. To be a Chairman of the PCC is a great priviledge that must not be trifled with. If a Vicar understands the principles of leadership, he can actually motivate his PCC members to achieve the vision the Lord is laying in his heart passionately.
In the day-to-day decisions, which every church faces, PCC members are to seek and find the mind of the Lord through an uncoaerced unanimity, reached after thorough and biblically related discussion. This, ultimate authority, even in practical matters, is vested in the Lord and in no one else. This is what the book of Acts reveals in its description of the initiative actions of the Holy Spirit, who obviously planned and ordered the evangelizing strategy of the early church (Acts 8,13, etc.) The elders sought the mind of the Spirit, and, when it was made clear to them, they acted with unity of thought and purpose. “For it seemed good to the Holy Ghost, and to us, to lay upon you no greater burden…” (Acts 15:28a). The authority, therefore, was not the authority of men, but of God, and it was expressed not through men, acting as individuals but through the collective, united agreement of men whom the spirit had led to eldership. “Take heed therefore unto yourselves, and to all the flock, over the which the Holy Ghost hath made you overseers, to feed the church of God, which he hath purchased with his own blood.” (Acts 20:28).
The Point is that no one man is the sole expression of the mind of the Spirit. No individual has total and sole authority from God to direct the affairs of the Church. A plurality of PCC is necessary as a safeguard to the all-too-human tendency to play God over other people. Even then, the authority exercised is not one of domination and arbitrary decree over anyone. The ability of a leader to influence anyone else does not lie in ordering someone around, but by obtaining his or her voluntary consent. This is the nature of all authority among Christians, even that of the Lord himself! He does not force our obedience, but obtains it by love, expressed either in circumstantial discipline or by awakening gratitude through the meeting of our desperate needs. The true authority of elders and other leaders in the church, then, is that of respect, aroused by their own loving and godly example.
WHAT ARE THE PCC MEMBERS’ RESPONSIBILITIES TOWARDS THE LEADER (VICAR)?
The primary responsibilities of the members towards their leader include the following
- Pray for Him: One of the major responsibilities every PCC member has towards the leader is prayer. The minister is a human being; therefore he needs prayer. Someone is in the PCC at any time for the purpose of joining hands with the PCC leader to make positive impact in the life of the Church members. Pray for his guidance and protection. He faces quite a lot of issues here and there. There are temptations and attacks, which one must help him through prayer to overcome. Members cannot afford to neglect this important responsibility of praying for their leader and his family (1 Tim.2:1-2).
Love Him: PCC members cannot work together effectively with their minister unless they love him. The minister may or may not be the type of person expected to be the Vicar, he may have one or two weaknesses as human, he may not be living up to certain expectations, but he has to be loved as Christ would. He could be changed by love and support as he leads the church.
Obey Him: PCC members are required to be loyal and obedient to the chairman of the PCC. And this is irrespective of age, stature, education, societal status, etc. members are still expected to obey and respect him in all matters that are in accordance with “the scripture, tradition of the church and its constitution.”
Suggest right things to him: Members of the PCC are to help their minister in leading the congregation aright. He does not know it all and he should not be allowed to make mistakes. Support and protect his leadership by suggesting right things to him. You must offer good suggestions for the development and growth of the Church. You can suggest to him a Church programme that could boost the spiritual life and numerical strength of the church, while keeping the old members of the Church intact.
Ensure his well being: You are to ensure that his well-being is superb./Don’t wait for your Vicar to start crawling and begging before you know that he is in need. You are to be sensitive to his needs. It is not everything that he will say; there are things bothering him that you have to discover yourselves and find a way of solving them for him and his family.
Help him in wading off unnecessary and baseless criticisms: PCC members are expected to ‘defend’ their ministers. When you hear negative criticism against him, don’t join the queue of the negative critics. Try to always see the good side of your Vicar. Some criticisms are unnecessary and baseless, but even if the criticisms are true of him, don’t immediately join the chorus and run your PCC Chairman down. You can approach him privately and correct him in love. Refuse to be among the people that go around gossiping at their leaders.
Encourage Him: PCC members are expected to be encouragers; who should give their minister(s) a pat sometimes. Your encouraging words like, “we are proud of you,” “Thank God for you”. “You are a blessing and a gift to this church”, can boost his morale. Praise him for any work he does towards the progress of the church. Be his closest confidants and moral boosters.
You are elected into the PCC to assist him fulfil the ministry of leading the flock of Christ under his pastoral care. You are not there to fight him or rob shoulders with him. He is your leader; you are therefore expected to submit to his pastoral leadership over your life. Obey him as to the Lord. It is true he will make mistakes at one point or the other in the course of his leadership; yet you are to pray for him, approach him and correct him in love and humility. The sole purpose of joining hands with your minister is to glorify the name of Christ and positively change lives for Him.
WHAT ARE THE LEADER’S RESPONSIBILITIES TOWARDS THE PCC MEMBERS?
“ Or he that exhorts, in exhortation: (Romans 12:8)
Leadership is such an important office, which I believe is no place for wimps., It takes strong and dynamic leaders to grow the kind of churches that win and keep converts. It cannot be done with wimps. Where ever there is a growing church, you will find people who realize the importance of leadership and pay the price to give it.
Leadership is the capacity and will to rally men and women together for a common purpose, and it is that character, which inspires confidence. A leader is one who knows the road, who can keep ahead, and who pulls others after him.” Not every Christian is called or qualified for a position of leadership, but all are leaders so long as they positively influence others. All of us can, if we will, increase our leadership potentials.
All Christians are under obligation to be the best they can for God. If your leadership potential; can be improved, you have a responsibility to God who would improve it.
The gift of leadership is from God, but it is our responsibility to polish, develop, and improve it through His enabling power. In order to improve our leadership, we must understand the characteristics that compose good leadership. What does it take to be a good leader? The Bible provides a pastor’s job description. The New Testament gives the leaders of the Church instructions on how to rule their members, using the metaphor of a shepherd and his flock. Unlike many professionals, a pastor wears many hats and assumes the front line position of a church group or congregation. Thus the leader is:
To Love Them: an important quality of a good leader is his love for the people under his leadership. The leader’s first responsibility is to love his people as Christ would. A leader cares for the church in the same way a shepherd cares for his flock. In Acts 20:28, Paul admonished the elders to look after their congregation and be “shepherds” to them. In 1 Peter 5:1-2 the apostle Peter also used the shepherd metaphor in urging the elders to look after the believers. As the leader of the PCC, the minister cannot lead effectively without genuine love for his members. The kind of love that drew the Lord Jesus Christ to the cross should be the driving force that drives the minister in pasturing the flock of God under his pastoral care. A leader establishes relationships with the members of his congregation. He knows his sheep and loves them. In 1 Corinthians 13, the apostle Paul stressed the superiority of love over all other spiritual gifts.
To Pray for them: A leader prays for members of the church and for the ministry. He also prays for the sick members who may be at home, in the church or in the hospitals. According to James 5:15, if anyone is sick, he should call for the elders of the Church to pray over him. Again in Acts 6:4, the apostles pointed out that one of the main duties of a leader is intercessory prayers.
To teach them the word of God: A leader teaches and admonishes the members of his church. According to 1 Timothy 5:17-19, elders who work hard at preaching and teaching should be given double honour. In Acts 6:1-4, the apostles pointed out that their priorities were preaching and prayer. As a teacher, a pastor also resolves doctrinal issues. Acts 15:5-6 narrates how the apostles and the elders looked into the doctrinal issue of circumcising the gentiles. He is the teacher of the PCC members and the entire church, and he is under obligation to teach correct or sound doctrines and refute wrong doctrines.
To be an exemplary leader: A leader models a life worth imitating. In Luke 6:40, Jesus said that the actions of a teacher influence his students. According to Hebrews 13:7, believers should remember their leaders and imitate their faith.
To be an administrator: A leader manages the activities of his church and ensures the organization functions smoothly. 1 Corinthians 12:28 lists the different gifts the Holy Spirit has bestowed on the church, one of which is administration. Churches usually have a pastoral staff and elders who handle tasks; some members of the pastoral staff who have demonstrated gifts in administration handle tasks requiring this skill. A pastor ensures unity in the church. In 1 Corinthians 1:10, the apostle Paul practiced his leadership role of uniting the believers by exhorting them to agree with one another and to avoid divisions.
To Administer discipline: Just like in any organisational setup, there is also a process of discipline in a church setting, and a pastor undertakes the unpopular task of disciplining a member who has committed a serious offense against the congregation. In Matthew 18:15-17, Jesus teaches the process of resolving conflicts among members of the church which involves disciplining. A leader should administer discipline without bias or sentiments, fear or favour. He should be able to discipline erring members of the PCC, but in love and humility of heart.
To be a visionary leader: Vision is not seeing the invisible. Vision is seeing the obvious that other people overlook. Vision is seeing what ought to be done and how to do it. Vision is the result of a mental process that involves praying, dreaming, and thinking. Thinking is the beginning place of leadership. You might believe that people who think are commonplace. Not so! Those who have most powerfully and permanently influenced their generations have always been the “seers” – people who have been more and father than others. They have been persons who could think faster, clearer, and father ahead than those around them.
If you aren’t by nature a creative thinker, don’t despair. You can improve your spiritual vision. Read God’s Word and books written by those who are spiritual. Associate with people of vision. Make friends with Christian leaders who are dreamers. They will stimulate you to greater heights. Leave your environment periodically so that you can see your field in a different light. Pray much , and you will find your horizons being lifted, and your vision sharpened. When you dream, dream big! Think, pray and come up with a new agenda for the church. Try to make a shift from the status quo. A leader cannot afford to stop dreaming or to stop thinking.
So, be the kind of honest, straightforward, devout, loving person that people can and will believe, and they will follow you. Once you have a vision of what needs to be done, you will receive divine courage to carry it out. It takes courage because leadership always involves risks, the risk of failure and the risk of oppositions. You will always have critics. Not every vision and idea will please everybody. Opposition is sure to come. But leaders must decide what is right and go forward in spite of fears and opposition. While every leader faces the fear of criticism from without, one faces an even greater enemy from within. One of our chief dangers is that we may be mastered by our fears, take too many precautions in life, and thus never do anything. Men and women of too many cautions never advanced the frontiers of the kingdom of God. Considerably more failures are the result of an excess of caution than of bold experimentation with new ideas. Most of us have never been sufficiently daring. The PCC leader must therefore be visionary and courageous.
To be strong in decision-making: He must have the ability of making decisions. If you wait until all possible obstacles are overcome, you will never do anything. So, first weigh, then venture. Study the facts, seek the advice of wise friends, pray diligently, and then decide. A leader cannot afford to ignore the council of cautious persons around him. They will often save a leader from unnecessary mistakes.
Exhibit Humility: As a leader, you are going to make mistakes. So, expect mistakes, acknowledge them and go on. That is another price of leadership. Humility is an important quality in Christian leadership. If you make a mistake, admit and apologize for it. The most important words of a Christian leader are: “!’m sorry, I was wrong; forgive me,” You should not use your leadership position to intimidate your followers. You are not infallible. Therefore when you make mistakes, don’t begin to intimidate your people, accept your mistakes, apologize to them and go on with the mandate of God upon your life.
Persons who must always be right, and can never be wrong, and must always have their own way are destined to have trouble as Christian leaders. Don’t take yourself too seriously. Join the human race. Get rid of the “god complex” or “Superiority complex” that makes you think you should always be right and never make a mistake. Keep a sense of humour and a humble spirit. Learn to laugh, especially at yourself.
Be An Optimist: A good leader has an optimistic, enthusiastic attitude. A pessimist never makes an inspiring leader. Hope and optimism are essential qualities for the servants of God as they battle with the forces of darkness for human souls. Some people are beaten before they start. They always look on the dark and expect the worst to happen. The pessimist sees a difficulty in every opportunity. The optimists always see difficulties before possibilities and tend to hold back the person of vision who desires to push ahead.
Be a man if Integrity: “Let your yes, be yes, and your no, be no” was the Lord’s instruction. And leader who is not a person of integrity will not make headway in his leadership position. Your people must trust you or you are not their leader. You are expected to be a person of great discipline and high moral standard. Your words should be your bond. You are not expected to talk casually and rashly. Your lifestyle must not betray your words. Refuse to be a liar, even when you are in a tight corner. You must be a faithful steward of God’s grace among your people. Learn to be faithful in handling the unrighteous mammon.
In sum total, he is to be a “father”. Fatherhood is a responsibility and not a “title.”
If you are not a successful leader yet, don’t despair, and don’t give up. Leaders are developed, not born. To be an excellent leader can be a long and demanding process. So keep envisioning! Keep growing! Keep working at it! And you will become the leader God intends you to be.
WHAT ARE THE PRACTICAL ROLES OF THE PCC MEMBERS TO THE CONGREGATION?
Since the PCC members were elected by the congregation, they are answerable to them. Hence, they should be seen:
To be Team Workers and Team Builders, like Jesus Himself: Jesus could have for sure done a lot more and better, if he had not had the apostles with him. However, he chose to work together with them and to build the team of disciples, who later became the first leaders of the Church. He taught them, gave them on the job training, heard their reports, prayed with them, corrected them, gave them opportunities to see Him in action, and ended up investing most of His time and effort on them. This is what we find in the Gospels and Acts 1:1-8. From Jesus’ teaching and model , we learn that there is no place for ‘lone rangers’ in the Kingdom of God. Therefore, I believe, all Christian leaders should be team players and team builders that are committed to discipline of working with and for a team (i.e. the congregation) and make themselves accountable to others in the team. Without neglecting their personal tasks and goals, they give adequate attention and priority to the collective tasks and goals and invest their resources in improving and empowering the congregation.
Become Guardians or Custodians of the church: The PCC members represent the local church in most things. They are therefore the guardians or custodians of the local church. They take care of the Church properties. They make sure things are done properly and in order in the Church. They supervise the general affairs of the Church. They promote peace, unity and love in the church.
Become part of praying and preaching force of the Church: Part of the responsibilities of the PCC is to pray for and preach to the rest of the congregation. PCC does not exist basically for taking care of the physical or material affairs of the Church. It is the main leadership of the church; therefore it should be standing in gap for the church. PCC leadership plans and prays for the progress of the church. It should not be all about just meeting to discuss issues,. It should be a sort of praying meeting, and PCC members should have the capacity of preaching and teaching the word of God to others (e.g Bible studies, Follow-up-studies, etc.)
Ensure that God’s will is done: PCC leadership is like the church’s thermometer. It measures the spiritual life of the church. It ensure that the will of God is done in the local church. It is the obligation of the PCC to raise the standard of God’s word in the church. PCC is not about politicking in the church. It is no primarily a gathering of wealthiest, intellectual and influential men and women. It should be a team of men and women who understand the heartbeat of God and earnestly ensure that the purpose of God is established.
Participate in the activities and programmes of the Church: It is very unfortunate that many PCC members don’t attend church weekly activities and programmes. They attend only Sunday Church Services. This is not fair. A PCC member should be an example to the rest of the congregation. He/she should attend church weekly activities. This is a practical obligation. There should be no “big manism” in the things of God. A PCC member that attend only PCC meetings and Sunday Church Services is not teaching the congregation a good lesson.
Always as servant in the Church: A PCC member is a servant to the congregation. He is there in the PCC to represent the good interest of the congregation. He is like a representative in the House of Assembly. He should not lord it over the congregation. He is a leader; and he is a servant leader for that matter. He should be willing to invest his time, talent and treasures for the progress of the church. He should not exhibit leaser-affair attitude towards the progress of the church.
In the gospels, we notice that Jesus’ disciples were involved in dispute over who would be the greatest among them (Luke 9:46-50; 22:24-30; Mark 9:33-37; 10:35-45; Matt.20:20-28). They were preoccupied with themselves and their positions of power and authority. They were measuring greatness in positional terms and that led to a sort of ‘power struggle.’
However, Jesus teaches them that they should not be like the leaders of the gentiles who lord it over them, but be like Himself and learn to lead by serving (Matt.11:28-29, 1 peter 5:1-4). This is what is called ‘servant leadership’. Jesus offers Himself as a paradigm or model for them to follow. It is in this context that we should consider the example of Jesus washing His disciples’ feet (John 13:1-17). In Jewish households, this was the job of the lowest servants and so none of Jesus’ disciples wanted to do that. Thus, they came in with dusty and dirty feet. It was then that Jesus, who knew who He was under God, got up and began to wash their feet, giving them a practical demonstration of ‘servant leadership.’
Being punctual and faithful in attending services: The mark of a Christian leader should not be lateness. A PCC member should not be a late-comer in church services and other functions. He should be faithful and punctual in attending church functions. This is practical, and it is expected that every PCC member who wants to model the life of Christ to the congregation should commit himself to observing this role. It is sad that these practical roles are becoming increasingly and conspicuously scarce in our PCC membership today. It is time we realize this truth and did our part in taking these and other roles very serious. Otherwise, we cannot arrest the downward trend of declining standards in our ministry today.
HOW WOULD YOU HANDLE GOSSIPS AND SLANDER AS A PCC MEMBER
What exactly is gossip?
Gossip is second or third hand information that someone dumps on you without your prior consent and without the consent of the person being gossiped about. Gossip can be true, partially true or completely false. It can be motivated by good intentions, but it is always negative personal information about another that pours them in a bad light.
What is slander?
Slander is an accusatory speech that is injurious to a person’s name and reputation. It is essentially character assassination … the act of smearing someone. Gossip and slander colour people’s perceptions of an individual unfairly and unjustly without their knowledge or consent. One major component in both of these sins is that the person being torn down is out of the loop and talebearers usually avoid speaking directly to the one they are demeaning.
It seemed that most people who spread gossip never think about this. Nor do they realize that what they are doing is engaging in gossip and slander. Some people, of course, who intend to smear another being, know exactly what they are doing. Many Christians, however, naively spread gossip without realizing what sort of destruction it brings in the lives of others.
Spreading negative or shameful information about another person is contrary to walking in love. Love “thinks no evil” and “believes the best for others” (1 Cor. 13). What does gossip and slander usually sound like? It usually begins with something like, “Did you hear about such and such…” The rest of it goes on to put an individual in a shameful or negative light.
A.W. Tozer had these powerful words of advice about the sin of gossip:
“Never pass anything on about anybody else that will hurt him. “Love covers a multitude of sins” (1 Peter 4:8). The talebearer has no place in God’s favour. If you know something that would hinder or hurt the reputation of one of God’s children, bury it forever. Find a little garden out back – a little spot somewhere – and when somebody comes around with an evil story, take it out and bury it and say, “Here lies in peace the story about by brother. God will take care of it. “With what judgement you judge, you shall be judged.”
So what should we do as PC members if we hear gossips or slander about someone else? If we are in conversation with people and they begin to express words that pout another brother or sister in a bad light, we have a responsibility to interrupt such speech and exhort them to speak directly with the person they are criticizing. If an email containing gossip is sent to us, we should disregard the content and ask the sender to go to the one being spoken against. In all circumstances, as much as lies with us, we should not be a party to gossip and we should confront those spreading evil speech. We must not forget that matters of concern about others must be confirmed with witnesses (Matt.18:16) and others should only be notified if the person refuses to repent – which means they refuse to stop their sinning. We sin by entertaining accusations against others that have not been confirmed by witness, or that have already been reported of. It is sinful to spread information about the past sins of others when they are already under the blood of Christ.
Seek God’s directions over the issue, direct the person/persons, and remind them of what the word of God says about gossip. If the gossip affects the minister, please go privately and discuss it with him. If it affects the peace of the church or will later affect the peace of the Church, please report to the minister.
You should know that gossip and slander are the weapons of the enemy against the church. So when you hear gossips or slanders, you should first of all pray about them. Then you should find out the truth of the gossips, if the person in question is at fault, you will not start spreading the story, rather you should go to the person and correct and rebuke him in love. When you hear rumours or gossips as a PCC member, you should try to find out the source; what the matter is all about. After investigating on the matter and the truth is established, they you should try to settle and/or reconcile those involved.
You should hear out the talebearer. Ask relevant questions to know the facts or supposed facts surrounding the story. Help the talebearer see that the devil only is the accuser of the brethren, and we must be careful about whose job we are doing. Encourage the talebearer to see the accused and talk with him rather than spreading the story thereby helping the devil to fulfill his mission. In addition to the above, we should go to the person being targeted and make them aware of it. We should then ask for them to confirm or correct it. This is the loving thing to do. Think about it: if someone was spreading something negative about you, would you not want to be made aware of it? Again, love treats others the way we wish to be treated.
Have you ever noticed that speech that tears other down travels like a bush fire, but news of repentance and restoration seems to move along at a snail’s pace? Why is it that we often immediately believe embrace negative assessments of people, but reports of repentance, change, or the dispelling of a false rumour are met with skeptism? As believers, the exact opposite should be our practice: we should be hesitant to entertain and sceptical of adverse words about others, and quick to rejoice in and embrace news of the dispelling of a rumour or another’s repentance! Satan’s nature is to accuse. He is called the “accuser of the brethren” (Rev. 12). In fact, the word “Satan” means adversary, and the word “devil” literally means “slanderer” That should say volumes to us.
“A froward man soweth strife: and a whisperer separateth chief friends.” (prov. 16:28), “The words of a talebearer are as wounds, and they go down into the innermost parts of the belly” (Prov.26:22). “He that hideth hatred with lying lips, and he that uttereth a slander, is a fool.” (Prov.10:18) “ “Put them in mind to be subject to principalities and powers, to obey magistrates, to be ready to every good work, to speak evil of no man, to be no brawlers, but gentle, shewing all meekness unto all men.” (Titus 3:1-2) “Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamour, and evil speaking, be put away from you, with all malice:” (Eph4:31)
In the pursuit of mutual edification and peace, our mouths play a very important role. Our words should be carefully chosen, and designed to build up, not to destroy (Eph. 4:29,31;5:5; Col.3:8,16; James 3:10; 1 Pet 4:11). We must “slander no one” (Tit 3:2), and be ready always to speak a good word about our brothers and sisters in Christ. In the human realm, words are most often the spark that leads to wars and atrocities, and there is a parallel in the realm of the church, for “if you keep on biting and devouring each other” with hurtful and damaging words, “you will be destroyed by each other” (Gal. 5:15). May our speech to others and about others be “only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen” (Eph,4:29).
WHAT ARE THE EXPECTED ETHICS DURING PCC MEETING?
FOR decency and orderliness during meetings, the following ethics are proposed:
- Always be present in the meeting.
- Be punctual and time-conscious.
- Contribute by suggestions and your words be few.
- Be objective to make sure that meting has a successful end.
- Keep confidential any matter discussed in PCC meeting except when asked to discuss it outside.
- Be humble and respectful.
- Agree with issues or matters that have been settled by the leader of PCC, which is for the progress of the Church to the glory of God.
- Exercise self-control.
- Switch off your handset or put it in silent mode; avoid answering calls when meeting is in session.
- Make contribution in a manner that is respectful and orderly.
- Avoid picking quarrels when one makes seemingly offensive statement, but express your displeasure with maturity.
- Show regards and respect to the presiding officer, the leader.
- Respect the opinion of others no matter how irrelevant it may sound.
- Be attentive at meetings.
- Wait until allowed before speaking or taking.
- Use no offensive words.
- Be cooperative and orderly.
- Be obedient to leadership.
- Once an issue is concluded in the best way, it should not be opposed.
- Contribute positively during meetings.
- Be time conscious when speaking
- Seek audience by raising a finger.
- Appreciate others and their contributions.
- Agree with other people’s idea when it is accepted to be more helpful and rewarding by the house.
- Apologize for any wrong step or procedure you get involved in.
- Say thank you for any favour or assistance from the Church or PCC colleagues.
- Take responsibilities as they are assigned and discharge them creditably.
Thanks for reading.