Often when one attempts to discuss with brethren the idea that Elders were not meant to be authoritarians, the answer will come back: "Somebody has to run it." Such a person assumes that we must have a church, that it is a part of God's plan and therefore an absolute necessity. If that assumption is correct, then I agree that we must have somebody to "run" it. It just makes good sense that an organization or institution will not run itself. That is, I believe, the reason that so many people cannot understand the role of elders. They are operating on the wrong basic assumption.
It is true that an institution must have those people who operate it or it will certainly not be effective. We see this in our everyday contact. Many is the time that an organization or institution has fallen into the hands of inept, unqualified, or slothful managers. The result is an ineffective organization that will soon disappear from the scene if corrections are not made. It is easy to see as we observe the organizations and institutions around us that their success or failure depends to a large extent upon the capabilities of their managers.
A church, in this respect, is not different from other organizations and the same ideas apply. If we are going to have a church, then someone does have to "run" it or it will not function as we wish and if the situation continues it will disappear from the scene. This being the case those who hold to the necessity of the church are correct in maintaining that someone must have authority to "run" it.
If this be true, then it seems to me that we should do what we can to get the best qualified people to act as "church runners." Too often a church labors under well meaning and sincere Elders who are not qualified to manage an organization. We have schools to teach people how to preach and work for the institution, but shouldn't we put more emphasis on the qualifications of those who are actually in control of the institution? If we are to have a church, shouldn't we make .it the best running operation that is possible? We know that no organization is better than those who "run" it, therefore, we need to get managers who are highly qualified.
Perhaps someone should start a Church Officer School to qualify people to be better church operators. The undergraduate level could be training for entry level positions otherwise called Deacons. With a "Deacon Degree" and a stipulated amount of on the job experience as a functioning Deacon one could then be admitted to the graduate school level and receive training for the job of Elder. Of course, to secure the services of such highly qualified people, substantial salaries would be required but wouldn't it be worth it to the church? If the system works for preachers why not for Deacons and Elders?
A similar idea is often expressed when the discussion centers around the church treasury. People will say "you can't operate without it." Again, they are absolutely correct IF ONE ASSUMES THAT WE MUST HAVE A CHURCH. Any orgnization requires a source of funds in order to stay in existence. The church is no different. It must pay the bills, especially the salaries of the paid employees or it will cease to function. We all understand what happens to employees when the employer ceases to pay the salaries and we know what the utility companies do when the utility bills are not paid.
The school mentioned above should include training in methods for raising funds for the church and also intensive training in money management. The money side of this enterprise is vital to its very existence, therefore, such training should include finance and economics as well as advertising, sales and promotional techniques. All of this would be very useful in producing a larger treasury which would, in turn, produce a larger and more efficient church. In order to motivate the managers to exert their best efforts they should be paid a base monthly salary based on the number of active members in the church. Managers should be awarded a bonus based on a percentage of the contributions less operating expenses. This would encourage the managers to increase the membership, increase the contribution, and hold down on expenses. That way there would be more left over to do the "Lord's work."
Some will say that this whole thing is ridiculous and is not in God's plan. I agree! None of it is in God's plan. AND THAT INCLUDES THE CHURCH. In all of God's communication to man, He never once used a word that is equivalent of the English word church. Therefore, the idea of a church is man's idea. Until people understand that simple truth, it just will not make sense to them that we do not need authoritative managers and an operating fund or treasury. If we have a church, we must have managers and a treasury. If we follow God's plan, we will have no church and the need for corporate managers and treasuries will suddenly disappear. Then we would be Christians and not church members. Think about it.