Home About Us Apostolic Free Library Questions & Answers Guestbook Order Online Search The Network

Church care vs church control

Submitted: 11/24/2009
Post a comment or
ask a follow-up question
Question: Is church leadership able to forbid ministers from attending other church services or events if they occur during that church's service times, or if leadership disagrees with the event? If yes, should they? If no, why not? Further, should this rule apply if the ministers make the arrangements to cover any of their responsibilities that occur during service, or if they were invited to some event personally and not as a member? Lastly, please provide some guidance/resources on care vs control in a local assembly. I am looking to understand the balance between providing leadership covering and when that becomes control for the sake of control.

Answer: Church leaders are tasked with controlling the doctrines and practices by which a local assembly functions but not the people. All born again believers are freely functioning members of the body under Jesus Christ. Having said that, when people are committed to an assembly (as they should be) and are involved in the work of the assembly, they should not be running off to other meetings when their own assembly is meeting unless they have been invited to speak or minister in some way. In such cases, the invited person should check with the leadership of his own assembly to see if there are any conflicts before accepting such an invitation. The well-being of the local assembly that a man is attached to should always be his first priority.

You use several terms that we are uncomfortable with. For example, you spoke of 'ministers.' From a biblical perspective, all born again believers are ministers. You also spoke of a 'rule' for ministers. We do not believe God's people should be controlled by rules. If we are truly 'subject one to another,' them we should always be able to work things out without having to resort to rules.

Concerning your interest in understanding the difference between care and control, we suggest you read the first three articles on Shelf 4 of the Apostolic Free Library on this website.