Q & A
The government of Christ’s church is fundamentally different than any form of government known to mankind. While it contains many of the elements of democracy, which we as Americans cherish, it is ultimately not democratic. The church as a whole is governed by a plurality of godly men called Elders (Presbyters). While the body of elders in a church exercises wide-ranging spiritual and organizational oversight of the church, each elder is elected and kept in office by majority vote of the membership. In this way there is a balance maintained between elders and members.
This relationship between Elders and Members has been explained well using the metaphor of a Christian marriage. In a Christian marriage, the wife should be given her full say in regard to all important issues of the home while the husband, as the head of the household, retains the final say. Wise husbands understand that their authority is not license to enact their own personal desires without regard for the feelings or desires of their wives. Similarly, wise Sessions realize that their authority is not to be used as license to pursue their own interests or enact decisions without regard for the wishes of the congregation, unless they feel in their roles as leaders that they have good biblical support for such decisions. Yet, even as husbands are held ultimately responsible by God for the leadership decisions they make for their families, so elders are held responsible by the Lord for the manner in which they lead the church. This is what makes good communication between the Session and the membership of the church so vital.