People often assume that the church doesn’t employ any sort of democracy; that pastors and elders are given their position and that their congregation has little to no say in that. But churches often employ voting mechanisms as a way to involve their community, ensure accountability, and uphold their mission.
Members can take part in church leader voting; alternately, they can also forward a church board vote of no confidence. This means that a church can both vote in and vote out leadership, including board members.
A church board is a team of leaders, including pastors or elders, and staff that are mutually responsible for the spiritual governance, leadership, direction, and administration of a church. Its officials can be appointed by senior leadership or elected by church membership.
There are several purposes to the existence of a church board. These include:
A church board can fulfill these duties by assigning tasks to relevant members or appointing committees to focus on specific aspects.
A church board can have several roles, but the most pertinent are often the chair (or president, head, etc.), treasurer, and secretary. The chair heads the board and ensures that all departments are working together towards a common goal; the treasurer is in charge of properly handling the finances of the church; the secretary takes care of all administrative and legal concerns.
Church boards typically should have between five to nine members, though the number of individuals should be secondary to the quality of those put in these leadership roles. It’s also essential that a board is a good representation of the entire congregation; it should have a mix of pastors or elders, lay people, and youth with a mix of perspectives that can ensure that the voice of the whole community is heard and acknowledged.
Legitimate voting takes place in the church by way of its articles of incorporation and bylaws. These establish membership requirements, including grounds and procedures for dismissal, and the voting privileges of members. They ultimately define how the people in the church can vote and how this can affect how the congregation operates.
Churches can vote on several matters, but the most common are on: leadership, budget, committee appointments, doctrinal changes, and member affairs.
Some churches only allow leadership to decide on removing a member from the community. However, many churches also let the congregation take a vote on the matter since it’s much healthier to leave these situations in the hands of a majority rather than one sole authority.
Voting out church board members isn’t a light matter, and it requires thorough discussion and consideration among the group and the congregation. Here are some things to think about if you’re in a situation that requires you to question the position of a church board member:
Remember the board’s purpose—what it stands for and what it’s meant to fulfill. Is voting out a certain board member on a path that supports what the board represents? Be sure that you’re going through this process with your church’s mission and the congregation in mind, and that it’s the ideal course of action that’ll provide the best result for all.
Why are you voting out a church board member? Is it because they are inadequate, lost the confidence of the people they serve, or have done something that could damage the community? If you have a plausible reason, you may proceed with the discussions–but be extra careful that you’re not doing it out of personal preference or under a form of corruption.
A change of board members can greatly affect the whole church, from the way the board operates to how the church carries out its activities. Weigh the pros and cons of this vote, considering what consequences it might bring and measuring it against what’s best for the community.
Another thing you must consider in any kind of church voting is the voting platform that you use; you want something easy and accessible to your voting body so that you ensure that everyone exercises their right to be heard and be involved in church matters. ElectionBuddy offers an easy way to empower your members to send in their ballots from wherever they are. Find out how ElectionBuddy can help with your church’s voting events today.