In keeping with the theme of consensus in decision making, it is important to revisit the fact that some church models require much more decision making than others. The more decisions a church has to make, the more difficult it is to strive for consensus.
I've heard Christians say that churches must vote; they can't wait for consensus because if they did, "Nothing would ever get done." The key to this statement is the assumption about what things have to get done.
In the traditional church model, decisions have to be made all the time regarding building and grounds issues, salaried personnel, numerous church programs, planned worship services, various events, and of course budgetary issues. This combination requires many decisions. Seeking consensus would be extremely difficult.
If, however, the model for church life is a simple one, then the decision making requirements are dramatically reduced. In the home fellowship we are apart of, the main decisions each week are which home to gather in and who is going to bring what food. Other important decisions come up from time-to-time and are relatively easily dealt with in a small group. We don't have to concern ourselves with budgets, programs, buildings, or salaries. This frees us up to seek consensus in the decisions we do have to make.
I'm not suggesting that consensus is in any way automatic in the house church. Sometimes there are legitimate differences of opinion on certain issues. At other times pride can get in the way. On other occasions it just seems that God wants us to seek His will more thoroughly through prayer before reaching a decision.
Let me also say that a traditional church with a true spirit of unity will more easily reach consensus on various issues than will a home fellowship that is permeated by pride and self-interest.
My primary point is that the simpler model of church you are a part of, the more likely you will be in a position to seek true consensus. Small groups with few decisions to make can encourage full body participation. All can grow through the process. In this model, the church family can edify one another (the purpose of the gathering) while the decisions are being made.
We should all think about what decisions we must make as a church and then compare this to what we see in scripture. Are our decisions necessary in light of what we see in the bible? And, are we making decisions in a way that is consistent with the attitudes we see in scripture?