Opinions expressed here are my own, not those of the church I serve or any other person.
By governance, I mean the way we relate to one another, we way we make decisions, the way we evaluate decision making, the way we spend money. I fully realize it is absurd (from the French, meaning "without hearing") to write of these issues in the singular. There are so many ways we relate to one another, so many ways we make decisions, evaluate and spend money, the social dynamic is a giant, double helix, a loop of constructional, determinative, characteristic forming genetic information.
What we now do in governance does not work. We lose ground on the associational level, on the state conventions and national conventions levels daily. The para-church organizations that once may have "come alongside to help" (para-kaleo, from the Greek, the same word used to describe the Holy Spirit) simply cannot be afforded any longer, in terms of time or money.
The local association to which my congregation nominally relates is a bad joke (in my opinion), repeatedly perpetrated on the local churches in the interests of traditional practice. The state convention we relate to is doing little more than paying salaries and benefits just now because their revenues are so low. The ripple-down effect on real ministries, like the colleges and seminaries, is potentially devastating.
The way we do governance right now is simply impractical. A one or two day meeting of messengers, more poorly attended each year, representing fewer and fewer churches each year, will not suffice to right the ship. Placing semi-retired pastors in executive positions as life-time achievement awards will not suffice.
In fact, there has to be a change in governance and it cannot come from some para-church apparatus. In fact, it cannot come from the increasingly feeble local congregations themselves.
Our change in governance has to come from the preachers and staffers. The professional clergy is dying and the churches will (and are) suffering as a result.
Ministers, called men and women, have to change the way we govern our vocation (from the Latin "vocare," a holy calling, usually associated with the divine). We have to do this in addition to and not in place of our local expressions of calling, we have to work harder, we have to do it in a way that counts but no one gets paid and it has to be a royal pain to participate in it, so that people run from this office, not to it.
So, let us start.