In part V at Rick Warren's Pastors.com Ministry Tool Box, Chuck McAlister goes head-to-head with the "power group" that exists in most churches...the New Testament Elders & Deacons. McAlister describes his personal account of how he won the vote to continue with his corporate position as CEO-Pastor and his vision-driven purpose-driven crusade. The spiritual gifts test ( SHAPE-rooted in Jungian psychology) is introduced to reset the new power structure.
Identify the power group in your church
This will not be difficult. As soon as you start making these ministry changes, they will identify themselves. They will wonder how all these activities and ministries are beginning without their approval. This group could be a family, if you are in a smaller church, or it could be a group of families that have controlled the church through the years (usually by controlling how the money is spent).
Move the power group toward a servant role
As ministries are launched and as people are empowered to carry out ministry, you will head toward conflict with the power structure of the church, if that power structure is unhealthy as it was in our church. This part of the process is not for the faint-hearted. It will be the toughest part of the entire transition, but it can be done.
... the deacons asked for my resignation as the pastor. When I refused because of the call God had given me to transition the church, the deacons brought it to the church for a vote. When the vote failed, the door was opened to make the changes that needed to be made.
It does not always have to go to the point of a potential dismissal to effect change in the power structure of the church. The intensity of the conflict will be determined by how unhealthy the existing power structure happens to be. Our power structure was extremely unhealthy.
As part of this structural change, we dissolved the Nominating Committee, which placed church members into various ministry positions, and the Committee on Committees, which established the different committees to oversee the various ministries of the church. No longer was it necessary for committees or the church to "approve" someone's ministry. Using our spiritual gifts test, each member was encouraged to engage in the ministry that best reflected their passion in keeping with their spiritual gift.
Change the church bylaws to reflect the new structureIn a desire to do away with the bureaucracy our church had become, we voted overwhelmingly to do away with our 100-pages of by-laws in favor of a six-page Charter that established our church as a new church. These six pages solidified the structural change, but also allowed our church the flexibility to be the church God intended us to be.
Editor's note: It is obvious that one man, claiming a divinely inspired vision and mandate is hijacking the church family to pursue his personal goals and objectives in the name of God. That sounds like the definition of a cult leader more than a Biblical pastor.
See Part I, Part II, Part III, Part IV, Part V