Voters Meetings: Why Do We Need Them?
By Peter Schrank
Individual LCMS Churches are led by their members, not by a larger diocese or administrative body. We do not have Bishops and Archbishops to oversee the administration of church matters. What this means is that Lutheran Churches are required to have essential semiannual voters meetings. Your elected Church Council members have monthly meetings where group leaders (Elders, Trustees, Education, Youth, Stewardship, Evangelism, Cemetery and First Fruits representatives) direct and discuss church matters. All confirmed members of CELC are asked to attend these semiannual meetings with one meeting in June and one in December each year. This is sometime called taking care of the “business” of the church. Church is not run like a business even though it uses business type functions: budgeting, maintenance, life/safety concerns, among others. Our business or purpose is to send the message of Jesus Christ Risen to all who attend.
So what happens at these meetings and why are they important? These meetings provide clarity, transparency, and two way communication between leadership (both Called and elected) and the membership. Meetings allow all of the church to gather and discuss what direction we want to take: Should we spend money on new lights? Should we call a new pastor? What are the statistical trends in the church? Who should we elect to lead the church? What is our mission and ministry direction? The goal is to get everyone involved in the process and not to let a few direct all of the activities. Members have the authority to change the church constitution, amend the by-laws and elect elders and council members. These activities determine what kind of church CELC is. Many times members get upset about what is happening in the church and the actions leadership takes, so they stop coming to church or look for another church to attend. We desire to make Christ Lutheran Orland Park be the kind of church where all are welcome and all feel involved.
It is true that if there is conflict or controversy in the church attendance at the semiannual meeting increases, and if members think things are going well very few members attend. This really should not be the case because we all have an opinion about what Christ Lutheran should be.
Please stay informed, involved and engaged in this very important process call the “Voters Meeting”. The next one will be held on Sunday, June 5, following the 10AM service (approximately 11:15AM). We look forward to seeing you then!