Bylaws – by the Book and “by the book?”, Rev. James Huebner
“They are in a folder somewhere on the shelf.”
“I think I have a copy of them on my computer.”
“We have them, but we don’t follow them.”
Those are samples of what you hear if you asked a WELS pastor or congregational leader about the congregation’s bylaws.
There are many reasons a congregation’s bylaws are an afterthought. In some cases, the constitutional bylaws may not fit the congregation’s size or aptitudes. In other cases, the bylaws may be perceived as an obstacle to nimble, aggressive ministry efforts. The result? Congregations have a constitution and bylaws because they are a legal requirement. But they are often not used at all.
In this breakout session we will talk about church governance and raise key issues that need to be addressed by every congregation and called worker so that bylaws honor the Savior’s holy Word and serve God’s people in the best godly and common-sense way.
Rev. James Huebner
Pastor Huebner served as an undergraduate tutor at Northwestern Prep and for two years as a graduate tutor at Michigan Lutheran Seminary. He has served as the pastor of Grace Lutheran Church in Milwaukee, Wis., since 1982. From 1989 to 1991, Pastor Huebner joined with two others to launch a pilot project in church consulting within WELS. In 1986, he was elected to be the District Coordinator for Evangelism in the Southeastern Wisconsin District and served as the chairman of the WELS Commission on Evangelism from 1991 to 2007. From 1992 to 2012 served as the 1st Vice-President of the Southeastern Wisconsin District and was elected to serve as the 2nd Vice-President of WELS in 2007 and 1st Vice-President of WELS in 2009. In the latter capacity, Pastor Huebner has been involved in a variety of boards, commissions, and task forces: chairing a study committee to form the Commission on Congregation Counseling, advisory member of the Commission on Inter-Church Relations, chairing task forces for formulating the WELS Long Range Plan, chairing the Ad Hoc Commission II, chairing the Continuing Education for Called Workers committee, a member of task forces on certification for teachers and renewal of call eligibility of teachers, and chairing a study committee on congregational constitutions and bylaws.