F O U N D A T I O N S 46 If we are unable to come to agreement, the reason may simply be that the moment is not yet ripe for a ­decision, or it may be that members feel differently on a particular matter of conscience. In that case, the matter should be left open for the time being. Then the Spirit must lead us to a common conviction that each can embrace naturally and from the heart. On the other hand, a lack of unanimity may be caused by something quite concrete that is blocking us from hearing God’s will together – for instance, wounded vanity, hidden grudges, selfishness, or arrogance on the part of many or a few. In that case, these hindrances must be recognized and overcome, so that we do not become guilty of disobeying the Spirit out of human pettiness. 58 Local communities are autonomous in directing their day-to-day administration. Nevertheless, they serve in connection with sister communities around the world. We entrust each bishop with oversight for the commu- nities within his assigned region and the elder with general oversight for all communities, exceeded only by the authority of the body of members at a world- wide membership meeting. The elder is the authorized spokesman of the body of members. He will honor local communities’ decisions as having great weight, yet he may object to them or even set them aside until the body of members has considered the matter. Each member is free at any time to bring his or her concerns directly to the regional bishop or to the elder. Phil 3:15–16 Titus 1:10–14 1 Thess 5:19; Eph 4:29–30 2 Cor 8