Paris, California—

Hilltop Christian Church was featured in Leadership Magazine as the leadership team of the month in the category of innovation.

We sat down with the team for an interview and asked them to tell us their story.

The leadership team at Hilltop Christian Church was desperate to find ways to speed up their meetings and deal with accountability issues. “Everyone wants the credit for good decisions, but no one wants to take responsibility for train wrecks,” explained elder Drew Bell. “It is OK to be mad at God, but I can’t take that kind of heat. And we spent five hours voting on the color of the new carpet. Because of stuff like this, we went in several new directions.”

Deacon Lindsay Stevens told us, “Originally, the church was governed by congregational voting. Several years ago, a ministerial candidate visited the church and personally required 100% of the congregation’s vote to take on the position of lead minister. One older lady voted against him, so he didn’t take the job. He’s now pastoring a megachurch. We eventually asked her why she voted no, and she told us ‘because he was wearing a pink shirt.’ The search committee was unhappy because he was actually wearing a magenta shirt and light was cast on him through white stained glass. After that, we decided to give up all hope on congregational voting and went to a system of only elders and deacons voting.”

Jim Sims, elder and head of the welcoming committee, told us, “We decided to move away from the purely democratic leadership voting system because of a really big snafu: We forgot to order organic and gluten free pizza for our annual pizza party. We received very threatening comments, such as, ‘Hey, where is the gluten free pizza?’ and ‘Don’t forget, next time.’ We voted on every other topping and ingredient, but man, we blew it. This made us realize that we couldn’t blame little old ladies in the pews anymore when bad decisions were made and that we would have to take on all of the hate or praise.”

Vision Caster Jake Axton said, “We finally understood why the only time God’s people vote in the Bible is when the Israelites asked for a king and God relinquished so that Israel would get what they wanted. That didn’t turn out so well. I mean, God would have been in charge and they couldn’t blame themselves. But instead, they decided to take on all of the responsibility. Who wants that? We need to leave no one to blame but God if something goes horribly wrong. Using this line of thought, we tried several options on our path to success.”

He continued: “First, we went with the Ouija Board. But we quit that after a while because the Holy Spirit never seemed to use it to tell us anything important. We always got ‘Go home.’ We thought God was telling us to quit, so we disbanded and let him do his thing. It was great, because the lead minister had to do everything. This happened for several weeks, but we reassembled because people kept complaining that the thermostat was always one degree too low or high and kept changing the temperature.

After that, we turned the board room into the set of Survivor. This really helped us to trim the fat on our team. Anyone with an idea had to really get behind it and make it their own. Everyone would do a blind vote on the individual and their idea, just like the show. If their torch was extinguished, they were banished from the team. Things got pretty nasty with competition. But when everyone figured out that we weren’t actually filming and there wasn’t a $1 prize, it all fell apart.

Meetings used to be torture, but now, we have a ball! We found that the best option for us is a Magic 8-Ball, which we made the new ‘chair of the board.’ We all agree that its decisions are unbiased. We settled on it after being unable to figure out what urim and thumin are. This change has forced us to only ask ‘yes and no’ questions, and really streamlined the process. Plus, we don’t make any of the decisions. This setup is completely biblical, like the Apostles casting lots in Acts 1. We’re probably more biblical than your church. We encourage you to try it out and see God’s fruit firsthand.”

With their newfound fame and extra free time supplied by the use of the Magic 8-Ball, all of the church leaders are watching reruns of The Apprentice and enrolling in Trump University to learn and grow in their abilities to pass the buck.

By Justin Schwartz


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