In many churches, church policies hold a lot of authority. After all, some might say, why write policies if you aren’t going to enforce them? But, when we try to merely enforce policies, far too often it ends poorly.
On the other hand, God’s authority supersedes all else. Shouldn’t we be turning to Him for how to handle situations?
Does it have to be an either/or situation? Perhaps church policies and trusting God can go hand in hand. Here’s how.
Make Prayer a Major Part of Developing & Enforcing Church Policies:
1) Start by seeking God’s wisdom and power in determining what policies need to be developed and also for the writing of those policies.
Remember promises such as:
Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight. (Prov. 3:5-6)
If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you. (James 1:5)
If you pray for God to be at work even in the development of the policies, can you not then trust Him to use the policies?
2) If someone(s) violates a policy, pray for them, for the situation at hand, and for yourself in handling it before doing anything else.
That means you don’t even sit around and talk with your leadership team about how “wrong” something is. You stop and turn to God first. He has the power to prepare people’s heart to receive what needs to be confronted. He has the power to help you carry out the policy in ways that are godly and upright, filled with both truth and love. When you pray first, you tend to end up being more concerned about how the violation affected God’s work rather than merely your agenda.
Remember that God’s power, not church policy is what will truly effect change in people’s lives, as well as your own. If you truly believe that, why wouldn’t turning to God in prayer be the first thing you do?
For this reason, since the day we heard about you, we have not stopped praying for you. We continually ask God to fill you with the knowledge of his will through all the wisdom and understanding that the Spirit gives, so that you may live a life worthy of the Lord and please him in every way: bearing fruit in every good work, growing in the knowledge of God, being strengthened with all power according to his glorious might so that you may have great endurance and patience, (Col. 1:9-11)
With this in mind, we constantly pray for you, that our God may make you worthy of his calling, and that by his power he may bring to fruition your every desire for goodness and your every deed prompted by faith. (2 Thess. 1:11)
3) Pray with the offenders before mentioning the policies.
Let the person(s) know you would like to talk to them about the situation but would first like to pray with them. Do this before even mentioning the policy. Be careful, however, not to use prayer to beat up the offender. The purpose of praying at this point is to truly seek God’s intervention in the situation, not to manipulate the person into conformity to your policies. You are inviting God into the situation as Jesus said, “where two or three gather in my name, there am I with them” (Matt. 18:20). With God’s presence comes His power which is needed to keep the discussion peaceful and productive.
4) Explain why the policy is needed and how you prayed in its establishment.
People need to know that this isn’t merely your personal agenda or preference. They need to know that the policy was born out of prayer, that you are not expecting them to submit simply because you are their leader.
More than likely, if you have prayed as described above, it will go well. Even if people don’t fully agree, they will be more likely to accept what you share if they sense that you truly have prayed at every turn. So many problems could be avoided if we carried everything to God in prayer.