Parliamentary procedure often gets a bad rap. For most people it’s a boring set of rules that govern meetings that no one wants to be at in the first place.
I first came across parliamentary procedure while in High School. I was a delegate to Nevada Boys State, and we learned about a thing called Roberts’ Rules of Order. I wasn’t super interested, mostly because I wasn’t sure that it would have much use in my future life. I was wrong.
Parliamentary procedure is “the commonly accepted way a group of people come together, present and discuss possible courses of action, and make decisions.” It’s common form in the United States is Robert’s Rules of Order. In Great Britain it is Erskine May.
Parliamentary procedure is beautiful for several reasons:
- It controls the flow of discussion to ensure that all participants have the opportunity to speak.
- It limits the discussion so that only matters pertinent to the business at hand may be discussed.
- It enshirnes the principle of discussing issues rather than people, and does much to spare the feelings of individual speakers.
In short, using parliamentary procedure ensures that deliberations are fair, efficient, democratic and orderly. Every pastor of a presbyterian church should invest in growing their skill as a moderator/presiding officer in order to ensure that the session functions healthily and effectively.