Listening Government

Jesus-and-his-ApostlesThe Church is governed under Jesus Christ as the Head of the Church, the Chief Shepherd and Bishop of our Souls and the Apostle of our Faith who through the teaching, leading, counsel and abiding presence of the Holy Spirit grants men who are called to ministry, the power and apostolic anointing to continue the work of the local and global church on earth.

The process by which men carry out this governing work is identified as Consensus Government. At times it has been referred to as Plurality of Elders, Shared Leadership, Listening Government, Episcopal (Bishops rule) or the “First Among Equals”.

Defining Government by Consensus

Consensus is a destination arrived at by men, who willingly set aside their personal round tableagenda, in order to discover what the will of God is. In consensus the leadership of the church can together claim an authority which individually none of them possess.

Members of the Church council share openly what they perceive, and often in the prayerful context of this discussion the leading of the Holy Spirit is discerned. It can come from the uniformity of all, or the lone dissension. It is like the wind, you cannot see it, but you can see where it is blowing. This makes it more difficult to explain than to recognize.

TrinityHistoricWe rule in consensus not only in relationship with each other, but in the consensus of historic orthodoxy and catholic community. Practically and historically, we speak of:

• Historic Orthodoxy as that which has been believed by everyone, everywhere, and

• Catholic Community as that organized form of Christianity which was founded by Christ and his Apostles, and has maintained a continuous unbroken existence from the times of the Apostles to the present, without any essential alteration of its faith, its sacraments or its ministry.Mac 2

In 2010 my daughter, MacKenzie’s 6th grade class, was asked to come up with a new form of civic government. MacKenzie’s idea was called “Listening Government”.  I believe this is an ample description of the heart of Consensus Government.

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About Michael Welchert

My wife Diana and I have been married since 1985 and have five wonderful children. I have been in ministry since 1980 and we currently reside in the Denver, CO area.
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