My delightful, small-town walk in the snow yesterday involved a stop at the Peppermill restaurant for breakfast. (Some places, it’s “The Pepper Mill,” and other times, it’s one of the Peppermill family of restaurants. But the spelling difference is not the topic for today. The extraneous apostrophe is.) See the apostrophe there?
If they’d wanted to say “This is one the Pepper Mill Family Restaurant’s most popular menu items” or something else that involved linguistic possession, the apostrophe would have been properly placed. However, a simple plural in English does not take an apostrophe.
Does not, does not, does not!
(There. Childish-styled rant complete.)
Churches that opt to have official leaders should have pluralities of them.
(There. Adult, studied criticism [no rant at all] complete.)
Every time you see misbegotten signs like the one above and the one below, think of the reality that is the plural. The plural is formed with an “s” or an “es” if the word ends in an “s” or “z,” but not with an apostrophe. No ifs, ands, or buts. (That’s right–it’s NOT “if’s” with an apostrophe. The editor-demagogues disagree on the plurals of numerals, but I still prefer them sans apostrophe, too–e.g., the stupidity of the 1960s.) More important than punctuation, though, of course, is the functional life of a group of God’s people. Maybe incorrectly formed plural words will also remind you of the more appropriate pluralities — yea, mutualities — that should exist in the spheres of church leadership and influence.