The Reasons for Elders | Part 5

Elders

The Reasons for Elders–Part 5

One month ago we began sharing the five major reasons or rationales for Grace Baptist Church considering a restructuring of our leadership to include a plurality of elders in the church as its spiritual leaders, as well as continuing to have deacons who would be engaged in serving and ministering to the Body. Thus far, we have presented four reasons, and the principles associated with each that have guided our thinking. They are:

Reason #1. Elders appear in the New Testament as a plurality (multiple elders in one church): see Acts 11:30; 14:23; 20:17; 1 Tim. 5:17; Titus 1:5; James 5:14 for examples.
PRINCIPLE: When the Scriptures give clear patterns of plurality, and we see repeated instruction to institute plurality, we have strong motivation to organize ourselves in line with, not opposite to, that pattern.

Reason #2. The titles “pastor (or shepherd, or pastor-teacher)”, “elder”, and “overseer (or bishop)” all refer to the same office (Acts 20; Titus 1:5-9; 1 Peter 5:1-4), and so the plurality of elders applies no matter the title used.
PRINCIPLE: the shepherding leadership of the church and the oversight and direction of the church are held by a group of mature men appointed to this task.

Reason #3. It ties together the important task of preaching/teaching with the vision and leadership of the church (1 Tim. 3:1-7; 5:17).
PRINCIPLE: the spiritual leadership of God’s church must be held by men who are practiced in the study of Scripture and gifted and qualified to lead others.

Reason #4. It provides protection against the potential of any one leader gathering too much power or leading the church astray.
PRINCIPLE: Plurality of leadership is a protection for the leaders and the people.

It’s time for our final reason!

Reason #5. It ensures that qualified people are leading in the right capacities within both of the offices established in the New Testament Church (1 Tim. 3:1-7, 8-13; Titus 1:5-9)

  • While the qualifications for elders and deacons are similar, the clear difference is that an elder/overseer/pastor must be able to teach the Word—privately and publicly. No such requirement exists for deacons.
  • The teaching function carries the idea of being able to correct and exhort in the Scriptures, something that deacons are not uniquely called to do.
  • The only “ruling” function within the church is assigned to elders (1 Timothy 5), not deacons—in fact there is no scriptural warrant or early church history of deacons forming a governing board. Not until the 18th century do deacons appear to assume a governing function within any congregation.
  • The qualifications of deacons include women—some believe these are the wives of deacons, others believe they are women serving. In any case, there is no such inclusion of women within elder qualifications. This would indicate that the service rendered by deacons is not one of ruling leadership, which Paul limits to men (1 Tim. 2). But it also opens the potential of church-wide and church-recognized service by men and women.

PRINCIPLE—those called and qualified to lead God’s church should do so, and those called and qualified to assist those leaders by serving the church should do so, and neither should take the role of the other to themselves.

Having completed our five reasons, I want to answer a question next week that I have heard from a couple of people whose perspective is, “I can see that what you are saying is biblical, but is it required of us to change? Everything seems to be working fine just like it is. Why not leave things as they are?” I’m sure you can guess that I have some thoughts on that question, and I’ll share them next week.

I encourage you to be thinking about these things, praying for your leaders who are working on this, and sending any questions you may have about this my way–either by email (click here to send one), or by asking me whenever you have opportunity. I’d love to explain further if that would help.

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3 Things To Know Today


mk_tansition_header_2015cedarville_thumbMK Transition Seminar is coming up soon! Donna Messenger with Barnabas International is in the planning process of this re-entry transition for missionary kids, which will take place at Cedarville University, July 12-24. Help is still needed with making beds, doing laundry, preparing snacks, and doing airport runs.You can sign up to help and pick up a prayer card in the lobby. Contact us here with questions
WINE & BEERIf you are blessed with more produce in your garden than you need,why not consider sharing with our church family? You may drop off your fruits and vegetables on the table in the Welcome Center beginning today. Everyone is invited to take as needed.

Pray for Charleston Emanuel AME

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Our hearts have grieved with the people of Emanuel AME Church in Charleston over the deaths of nine of their church family at the hands of a self-identified white supremacist. The evil in this at so many levels is so great, and yet the example of so many relatives in expressing forgiveness has made the message and effect of the gospel stunningly beautiful in the midst of this tragedy. To think of a prayer meeting and Bible study welcoming the man who would turn a gun on them is hard to fathom, especially when one person reported that the shooter said he almost didn’t fire because they were so nice to him. But the words of forgiveness spoken were so powerful that national media outlets could not ignore them, even though they did not know how to report them.

Our local Cedarville Ministerial Association sent flowers to the local AME church here in Cedarville, and association president, Linda Davis, went on Sunday to meet with the pastor and congregation there and to pray with them. They were genuinely touched, as this denomination is rather tight knit and the local pastor knew the pastor in Charleston who was murdered.

Would you pray for the congregation in Charleston, as well as other historically black churches for whom this is an all too familiar reminder of other churches bombed and burned. Pray that God’s Word would be their anchor, His Spirit would be their power, and Christ’s Gospel would be the hope and message that comes through most clearly.

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A Week of Celebrating Pastor Craig and Kathy Miller

10710340_10152544374550975_5897387550862869173_oThis week we are celebrating with Pastor Craig and Kathy Miller their 10 years of service at Grace. We are incredibly thankful for their caring service to the congregation, great intentionality and wonderful teaching. We have all felt their presence and impact here at Grace and we are excited to enjoy time together this Wednesday evening at 6pm in the gym, celebrating the ten years they have shared with us.

This week we don’t have the same flexibility for late sign-ups like we normally do. But if you missed the sign-up deadline or just couldn’t be here by 6pm anyway, we have planned for extra dessert. So, still stop by closer to 6:45pm and celebrate our pastor and share your thanks with Craig and Kathy! Also, If you are planning to attend the Springfield Arts presentation of Fiddler on the Roof that evening, there is time to do both! (The play begins at 8 pm).

 

The Reasons for Elders | Part 4

EldersOne month ago we began sharing the five major reasons or rationales for Grace Baptist Church considering a restructuring of our leadership to include a plurality of elders in the church as its spiritual leaders, as well as continuing to have deacons who would be engaged in serving and ministering to the Body. Thus far, we have presented three reasons, and the principles associated with each that have guided our thinking. They are:

Reason #1. Elders appear in the New Testament as a plurality (multiple elders in one church): see Acts 11:30; 14:23; 20:17; 1 Tim. 5:17; Titus 1:5; James 5:14 for examples.
PRINCIPLE: When the Scriptures give clear patterns of plurality, and we see repeated instruction to institute plurality, we have strong motivation to organize ourselves in line with, not opposite to, that pattern.

Reason #2. The titles “pastor (or shepherd, or pastor-teacher)”, “elder”, and “overseer (or bishop)” all refer to the same office (Acts 20; Titus 1:5-9; 1 Peter 5:1-4), and so the plurality of elders applies no matter the title used.
PRINCIPLE: the shepherding leadership of the church and the oversight and direction of the church are held by a group of mature men appointed to this task.

Reason #3. It ties together the important task of preaching/teaching with the vision and leadership of the church (1 Tim. 3:1-7; 5:17).
PRINCIPLE: the spiritual leadership of God’s church must be held by men who are practiced in the study of Scripture and gifted and qualified to lead others.

Now we come to the fourth reason, which is mutual protection.
Reason #4. It provides protection against the potential of any one leader gathering too much power or leading the church astray.

  • Paul warns the Ephesian elders in Acts 20 that there would be those from their own number that would lead the church astray, and if these were “solo” elder/pastor figures, there would be no way to combat such a development.
  • The will of God was confirmed among the apostles (Acts 1), in Antioch (Acts 13) and in Jerusalem (Acts 15) when a group of godly leaders prayed and sought the Lord.
  • It seems that some church leaders tended to gather power to themselves to oppose others—as Diotrephes opposed John in 3 John, not allowing the apostle to minister to the people.
  • Jesus warned against seeking titles for oneself, and thus the elevation of clergy as powerful individuals was never intended.

PRINCIPLE—plurality of leadership is a protection for the leaders and the people.

Next week, we will bring this survey to a close, but I want to encourage you to be thinking about these things, praying for your leaders who are working on this, and sending any questions you may have about this my way–either by email (click here to send one), or by asking me whenever you have opportunity. I’d love to explain further if that would help.

The Reasons for Elders | Part 3

EldersJoining Teaching With Leading

Last week’s Update continued to present our series of five significant reasons why Grace’s leadership is proposing to the congregation a change in our leadership structure to expand and include the biblical office of “elder” as well as that of “deacon” within our structure. These reasons are meant to explain why we believe that Bible would encourage us to have a leadership board made up of a group of spiritual men including pastors and laymen, and meeting the qualifications for “elder” found in the Bible. These reasons, along with scriptural evidences were prepared by the eight person committee (Tom Cornman, Jeremy Kimble, Chris Miller, Craig Miller, Bob Rohm, Dave Rotman, Ron Smith, Duane Wood) working on the proposal.

Two weeks ago we shared that the first reason had to do with the evidence in the New Testament for plurality:

Reason #1. Elders appear in the New Testament as a plurality (multiple elders in one church):  see Acts 11:30; 14:23; 20:17; 1 Tim. 5:17; Titus 1:5; James 5:14 for examples.

Last week we sought to show that there are three names used in the Bible for this one group of leaders:

Reason #2. The titles “pastor (or shepherd, or pastor-teacher)”, “elder”, and “overseer (or bishop)” all refer to the same office (Acts 20; Titus 1:5-9; 1 Peter 5:1-4), and so the plurality of elders applies no matter the title used.

Now we come to the third reason for a group of elders, and it is the link between what is taught and how we are led.

Reason #3. It ties together the important task of preaching/teaching with the vision and leadership of the church (1 Tim. 3:1-7; 5:17).

  • Leadership within the church is to be exercised by those who also teach the church the Scriptures.
  • The authority of these leaders is tied to their faithfulness to the Scriptures.
  • As seen in the example of Antioch, these leaders are dedicated to seeking the Lord in order to find his direction for the church through what the Spirit says. That message comes to them through the primary means of the Scriptures.
  • PRINCIPLE—the spiritual leadership of God’s church must be held by men who are practiced in the study of Scripture and gifted and qualified to lead others.

Watch this space for the fourth reason for considering a change next week. If you go to the church website, you can find the specific articles that explain the previous reasons in more depth.

The Reasons for Elders | Part 2

EldersThree titles for one group of men

Last week’s Update had the first of five significant reasons why Grace’s leadership is proposing to the congregation a change in our leadership structure to expand and include the biblical office of “elder” as well as that of “deacon” within our structure. These reasons are meant to explain why we believe that Bible would encourage us to have a leadership board made up of a group of spiritual men including pastors and laymen, and meeting the qualifications for “elder” found in the Bible. These reasons, along with scriptural evidences were prepared by the eight person committee (Tom Cornman, Jeremy Kimble, Chris Miller, Craig Miller, Bob Rohm, Dave Rotman, Ron Smith, Duane Wood) working on the proposal.

Last week’s reason had to do with the evidence in the New Testament for plurality:

Reason #1. Elders appear in the New Testament as a plurality (multiple elders in one church):  see Acts 11:30; 14:23; 20:17; 1 Tim. 5:17; Titus 1:5; James 5:14 for examples.

Now, let’s consider the three names used for this one group of leaders:

Reason #2. The titles “pastor (or shepherd, or pastor-teacher)”, “elder”, and “overseer (or bishop)” all refer to the same office (Acts 20; Titus 1:5-9; 1 Peter 5:1-4), and so the plurality of elders applies no matter the title used.

  • The titles seem to refer to different aspects, functions, or characteristics of the role, but they are used interchangeably of the same people—Peter uses all three in his encouragement to these leaders in 1 Peter 5.
  • Paul gives the qualifications for these men as overseers in 1 Timothy 3, and then the same qualifications are given in Titus 1, beginning with the title “elder” and switching to “overseer” in a context where he has already said there should be plurality in every church.
  • PRINCIPLE—the shepherding leadership of the church and the oversight and direction of the church are held by a group of mature men appointed to this task.

Heading to Scioto Hills Camp

Our SEEK team and group of campers are heading to Scioto Hills Camp, they left in the midst of heavy rain this morning with excitement written all over their faces! Check out some of the pictures and read a blog post by Pastor Mike as well!

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Scioto Hills and SEEK Week

Discipleship on Two Levels–Learning and Doing

On Monday morning we pull out of the parking lot with close to 90 students ready for camp! What I love most about Scioto Hills camp is SEEK week. As our grade school and middle school students are at New Frontier and Alpha camp, our high school students have the opportunity to be right there serving. We lead morning and evening chapels for New Frontier camp, we do work projects for the camp, we have team leadership initiatives, we assist with games, we hang out with campers and we aim to be a blessing to the camp staff.

SEEKers is about serving. In our individualistic culture that celebrates self, students need more opportunities to learn that life is not about us. In fact, Jesus said in Matthew 16:25 that in order to gain life you must lose it. Jesus not only preached this message, his life was an example of complete surrender. Paul encourages believers in Philippians 2 to have this same mind in Christ Jesus. Even though he is God, he emptied himself by becoming a servant who would be obedient to the point of death!  SEEKers won’t require this total surrender, but my prayer is that this trip will be one more experience in our students’ lives that help them realize that a life surrendered to God is worth it.

This year our theme is “Redeemed.” Our campers will learn what Jesus has done to redeem and rescue them and what the correct response is for one who has been redeemed. Will you join me in praying that all of our campers will know what Jesus has done for them and that they will respond to that message of grace?

What is KinderKamp?

DSCI2105It’s that time of year again–the sun is out and the pools are open. However, fall is inevitable. The leaves will change color, the weather will stay inconsistent, and school will begin. For some parents their kids will be entering kindergarten. To confront this challenging transition from preschool to kindergarten, Grace Baptist offers a program, KinderKamp, to make that transition more fluid.

KinderKamp allows the soon-to-be kindergartener to experience a taste of the classroom setting. In addition to that experience, the DSCI2108child receives one-on-one attention from a volunteer to improve the areas in which the he or she lacks.  Gross motor skills, fine motor skills, reading, writing, word recognition, and so much more is addressed in the   two weeks of KinderKamp.

For the last four years, I have participated in KinderKamp as a volunteer. It has been a blessing to be part of such a successful ministry. I use the term “successful” because of how much the kids benefit from the program. The growth that occurs from the beginning to the end always amazes me. It never ceases to fascinate me when the information CLICKS for the DSC01481child. You can actually see it in their faces. In some cases, it isn’t about learning the material; rather, it’s about learning self-control and the social aspect of a classroom. The kids practice listening to instruction, working in a group, and how to treat one another.

KinderKamp is designed to benefit kids who are entering, repeating, or finishing Kindergarten in 2015. The child must be age 5 by August 1, 2015 to be able to participate in KinderKamp.  There is no charge for the program. KinderKamp will begin August 3 and continue till August DSC0152314.  The application deadline is Friday, July 17. Please register early as space in this program is limited. For more information, contact Barb Hunt at huntb@gracecedarville.org.

 

Written By: Tara Reilly

Kindergarten instructor, Grace Baptist Church

Senior nursing major, Wright State University