TWO CHURCH OFFICES
The biblical teaching on the subject of two church offices is found in 1 Timothy 3:1-16 and Titus 1:5-9. There are three terms used for the leading offices of the church, i.e. bishop, elder, and deacon. A careful analysis of these terms indicates that bishop and elder are used interchangeably, with bishop simply being the “ruling” or leading elder. The pastors of the church have the spiritual authority of the Elders. However, with the exception of the Senior Pastor, they will serve on the board only as needed and at the request of the Elders. Deacons, the second office, are to minister within the church, making sure the needy are cared for and supported. (Acts 6:1-7)
In keeping with the clear biblical injunctions regarding authority structures within the church only men will be considered for the office of Elder. An in-depth interview will ensue to determine if the nominee is biblically qualified. The congregation will then be reminded of the biblical requirement for Elders and given 30 days to speak personally with the nominee if they are aware of any disqualifying characteristics. If the matter remains unresolved, the nominee or church member should approach the Board of Elders and request that their name be withdrawn from consideration.
The Scriptures are clear that the elder’s responsibility is the spiritual oversight of the congregation. The Elder’s responsibility can be broken down into three main areas:
The office of Deacon is one that exists biblically to give leadership to the serving functions of the church (Act 6). The qualification for Deacons are the same as Elder in the area of character, but different in aptitude. The Elders are to be “apt to teach” while the Deacons are to be “able and proved as servants.” (1 Timothy 3:8-10)
BUSINESS MEETING OF THE MEMBERSHIP
The Book of Acts reveals that the authority for the direction of the affairs of the church was vested in the Elders. The Elders are responsible to be sensitive to the leading of the Holy Spirit and to discern for the congregation the Holy Spirit’s direction. When the Elders believe an issue is sufficiently significant to require congregational input, the Elders will present the pertinent information to the congregation. The congregation will have opportunity to give input to the Elders. It is the responsibility of the Elders to discern direction of the Holy Spirit through the truth of Scriptures, prayer, and understanding of the pertinent issues at hand and input from the congregation. There will be no regular meetings of Members for governance purposes, as members do not have a role in the governance of the Church.