I had a conversation with a gentleman recently. As we talked, he felt obliged to share some of his views on the ways a church should be run (church polity).
As I asked him about pastors he had sat under at a church he had attended in the past, he mentioned a few names. Then he smiled a little and said, "Preachers used to rotate from church to church every few years or so." Pause. He continued, "You're probably not going to like what I say, but I think that's a good thing."
He proceeded to tell me that it used to be that deacons ran the church, not the preacher. "Yes," I said, "different churches are run in different fashions."
"How's it here?" he asked.
"Well, the pastor is the chairman of the board."
"That's not good," was his quick remark.
Interrupted by someone else, I did not get a chance to explain that the congregation has voted the pastor chairman of the board year after year. Nor did I get to explain that the pastor has repeatedly, year after year, told the nominating committee, with utmost sincerity, that they may nominate someone else to be the chairman of the board.
As it happens, I disagree with this brother-in-Christ's take on church polity. Before I was in the ministry I had already formed my strong belief, that, generally speaking, long-term ministry at one church is a good thing, better than moving from church to church every 4 or 5 years.
The ironic thing was this discussion took place on the 16th anniversary of my ministry at Northside. I didn't mention that little detail in our conversation.