Business Meetings

churchsignEvery few weeks, the congregations of most fundamentalists churches range themselves in dread array and enter the fiercest kind of battle: the church business meeting. One wonders if these events are what Paul had in mind when he called Christians to fight the good fight…

Summary of the minutes from the monthly business meeting of the Faithful Hearers and Doers Baptist Church.

Pastor Hiembaugh opened with prayer for wisdom, strength, and to the grace to avoid “what happened last time.”

Old Business:

– The committee charged with reducing the electrical costs in the church building reported that they been standing outside the bathrooms after services and reminding people to turn out the lights as they leave. Mr. Tom Brown objected that this might create the wrong impression with visitors but was quickly shouted down by Deacon Holstein who opined that anyone who couldn’t follow a few simple posted rules weren’t the kind of people we wanted around this church anyway. After another thirty minutes of discussion, the matter was tabled until next month.

– The committee who has been working on finding new music for the choir reports that they have managed to photocopy enough sheets for the Easter cantata. Questions from several members about copyright infringement were answered by the pastor with a quotation about ‘eating shewbread.’ This business is tabled as well.

New Business

– The nominations for church officers are read into the record. They are voted in unanimously without discussion making this the twenty-seventh straight year without changes to the officers.

– The new budget is brought to the table and Mrs. Brewbaker brings up that the assistant pastor has not had a raise in five years and Deacon Holstein reminds her that he also hasn’t increased his office hours in ten years either and has missed ten days of work this year due to being deathly ill and by gum that any employee of his would be lucky to have a job at all much less a raise. Mrs. Brewbaker decides to withdraw the matter. The budget is passed unanimously without further discussion.

Pastor Hiembaugh closed in prayer and thanked God for the opportunity to meet together and do His work. What of God’s work got done in tonight’s meeting was unspecified.

(I would thank stan for the reminder about the joys of church business meetings if they weren’t so painful that thinking about them makes me want to tear out my own eyeballs.)

21 thoughts on “Business Meetings”

  1. I remember some very exciting church business meetings. The kind you tell about as you sit around the campfire telling war stories . . .

  2. I think this one missed the mark.

    Fundamentalists hate business meetings and avoid them as much as possible; when business meetings are required, the moderator (pastor) typically rams things through the process. Discussion is minimal. Dissent is discouraged. That’s a typical fundy business meeting.

    1. I’ve been to all kinds, reglerjoe.

      I’ve been to churches where the pastor bragged that they never had business meetings because that was his job to decide things.

      I’ve been to them where the pastor would say “All in favor say aye? All opposed same sign the motion is passed.” without pausing once to draw breath.

      I’ve also been to meetings where the deacons argued for an hour with the pastor about putting a listing for the church in the Yellow Pages.

    2. reglerjoe is absolutely correct. Things ARE rammed through the process. Discussion IS minimal. Dissent IS discouraged.

      In my recently former fundy IFB church, the CEO brought up an issue regarding taking on a Spanish speaking man whom nobody knew (because a friend from college needed support for this guy because he was a friend of his). A man joined our “church” to help with the college ministry but received no financial support. When objection was brought up that we should support the man already with us, and table the support of our CEO’s buddy’s guy, we were marginalized and dismissed.

      Nothing was tabled, and the vote was pushed through.



  3. So then we agree – Business meetings are not necessarily one of the things fundies like.

    Don’t get me wrong…I enjoy most of your efforts at satire. But this post makes me wonder if maybe you’re just finding some unsavory bit of Christendom in general and then attaching the “fundy” label to it.

    Of course, maybe the “fundy” brush you paint with is much broader than I’ve assumed.

  4. No, you’re missing the point.

    This site is hardly about things that only fundies like or even about things that absolutely every single fundy likes. (Have you ever met two fundamentalists who could agree on everything? I sure haven’t) It’s merely a satirical look at slices of life that a lot of fundamentalists have experienced.

    And for what it’s worth “Christianity in general” is not usually congregational in governance.

  5. Also one of my points in suggesting this to Darrell is the discrepancy of how people act in church and how they act in a business meeting. I’ve also been to business meetings where seven-figure church budgets are passed with little comment but the meeting then gets mired in some of the silliest, unnecessary discussions (though I must admit it can be quite entertaining)!

    Yes, some people avoid business meetings. On the other hand, the only time I’ve seen some church members were at business meetings!

  6. Darrell…This site is hardly about things that only fundies like

    Then why connect those things with Fundamentalists?

    I understand your satirizing of things you didn’t like in fundy churches. I even understand poking at the silly things that only an IFBx church would do, but not every IFBx church does (i.e., the Baptist flag), but when you satirize something that is more common in other churches than in IFB churches, the foundation of your humor falls in on itself. That’s what I meant with my “Christendom in general” comment.

    And yes, I realize that most of Christianity in general is not congregational in government. You’re pointing that out to me is ironic: I seemingly said something that was applied too widely – you corrected me on that. I’m just doing the same with you.

    Here’s my point: your satire is funny only when it’s accurate. A funnier post would be: “Ram Rod Business Meetings” because they are more common in fundy churches, and more peculiar to fundy churches.

  7. I understand what you’re saying, “relger” Joe, but I think you need to take some Metamucil. So what Darrell made a dud post… it’s nothing to get upset about. You’re acting like a Fundametnalist in a business meeting, arguing like this. 🙂

  8. “I think you need to take some Metamucil. So what Darrell made a dud post… it’s nothing to get upset about.”

    I knew that was coming.

    “You’re acting like a Fundametnalist in a business meeting, arguing like this.”

    More with the irony? Actually it is you who seems to be in Fundy gear…what with you’re poopooing my dissenting opinion. Fundies hate dissent, y’know.

    And I’m not upset…not in the least bit. I apologize to Darrell and other readers if my words indicated I had become angry.

  9. I’m rolling in laughter at this. The only thing missing is the part where the deacon’s son gives the middle finger to the moderator for disagreeing with his dad. Been there, done that! Sad, Stan is so right, there is such a disconnect between Christianity and “business” in the church. I wish I had a dollar every time I heard-“Don’t take it personal, it’s just business”-I’d be loaded by now!

  10. The worst is to be a visitor in an IFB that’s going through a building project. You hate to leave early because you’re there with a member who has to stay. So you’re stranded for an hour while every third member of the church decides this is a great opportunity to show off his expertise (“because, of course, my brother-in-law is a plumber, so I ought to know”).

    So you count the lights in the ceiling and wonder why for-the-love-of-supper-and-all-that-is-sane must every member of the church be part of a discussion about the placement of a toilet.

    Ah, the memories.

  11. I think that a fundy bussiness meeting has been the reason for founding new fundy churches.

  12. How about the fact that if you look around and theres a ton of visitors that you’ve never seen, chances are theres a business meeting. Some older churches never clean up the member list and when theres going to be a meeting word gets around to all those people who haven’t been there since the last meeting.

  13. The last fundy church I was in had one business meeting per year: five minutes till midnight on New Year’s Eve, right before they held one of only two communion services per year. It was this is what’s happening, all in favor, aye. No one was ever opposed. There was no one to hold the pastor accountable for anything except God.

  14. Oh my. Been there, seen that, many times over. Probably one of the worst was the time some missionaries had given a very good report in a service, but then made the fatal mistake of opting to stay for the business meeting. It was truly an Acts 19:32 experience.

  15. Before I discovered Reformed theology and left fundamentalism, I spent a few years as pastor of a small Baptist church in West Tennessee. They INSISTED on a business meeting EVERY month, even if there WAS no business. And those people could talk things to death. The average tenure for a pastor there was, and apparently still is, about three and a half years.

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