Jesus Christ and The Bible

We believe the New Testament gives principles, not a prescription[1] for how Biblical churches should be governed. The variety of roles/titles both in the original languages[2], and modern-day experiences makes study complex. These principles include local authority of churches[3], relationship between churches/pastors[4], plurality in governance[5], spreading out of ministry[6], congregational involvement[7], and highest of all, the presence of Christ amongst His followers.[8] We have built our governance model with these principles in mind. Although there are many governance systems that are Biblically faithful, we believe the following model will best serve our congregation and community.

Members

Membership[9] is open to every person (high school age and older) who desires to commit to the church. Members must be baptized followers of Jesus Christ.[10] Membership is a renewable yearly commitment to ministry involvement[11], financial generosity[12], and prayer for the church.[13]

The church makes a commitment to pastoral care[14], development of ministry initiatives[15], and regular communication.[16] The Pastor should ensure the number of members in a given year is not beyond what can adequately be cared for.

Members are accepted in two yearly congregational meetings[17], one in January and one in August. The meeting in January includes a congregational vote[18] on ministry initiatives, annual budget, and slate of deacons. The meeting in August includes an opportunity for new member acceptance and budget/ministry initiative updates. Both meetings should include any needed communication[19] on church discipline.

Overseers

Overseers[20] are 3 outside ministry leaders who invest in, care for, and coach[21] church Co-Founders. They are friends outside our church with years of experience, designed to be resources in both good times and times of difficulty.[22] They serve by:

  • Mediating issues and overseeing employment of church Co-Founders[23].
  • Overseeing salary/benefits of church Co-Founders[24].
  • Providing counsel and approval on property acquisition.
  • Providing expertise on doctrinal and cultural issues.

Deacons

Distinct from other roles in Scripture,[25] 4-6 male or female[26] church members who[27], in addition to living out the lifestyle described in the Bible[28], are asked to:

  • Monitor accounting and business practices.
  • Assist with mortgages, contracts, and/or major financial decisions.
  • Assure fiscal responsibility (both to the church and the I.R.S.).
  • Help develop the budget, manage the assets, and aid in facility acquisition and management.
  • Produce a financial report in advance of congregational meetings.[29]

Deacons serve three year terms, with two Deacons rotating in/out each year. New deacons are selected by current Deacons in concert with Pastor Luke, with a vote of verification from the congregation.

Ministers[30]

Leaders[31] of a specific ministry, ministers may be staff or volunteer, male or female. They can teach[32], organize,[33] or give pastoral care[34], but their role should be more than service; it is spiritual leadership.[35] The ministers should be involved in development of ministry initiatives, assessment of the church’s disciple-making, and as a resource in times of difficulty. They will be trained yearly and clearly available to the congregation.

Pastor

Pastor Luke is responsible for shepherding the church spiritually[36] and organizationally.[37] He reports to the Ministers and Members for the ministry of the church, the Deacons in all matters financial, and the Overseers for his employment and spiritual life.

 


 

[1] Millard Erickson, Christian Theology (2nd ed., Grand Rapids: Baker, 1998), 1094-5.

[2]  hegoumenos; Heb 13:7, 17, 24. / presbuteros; Acts 11:30, 14:12, 15:2, 4, 6, 22, 23, 16:4, 20:17, 21:18; 1 Tim 5:17, 19; Tit 1:5; Jas 5:14; 1 Pet 5:1, 5. / episkopos; Acts 20:28; Phil 1:1, 1 Tim 3:1-2; Tit 1:7; cf. 1 Pet 5:2. / poimen; Eph 4:11; cf. Acts 20:28, 1 Pet 5:2.

[3] Acts 20:17, 1 Thessalonians 5:12

[4] Titus 1:5, Acts 15

[5] Acts 20:17, Acts 15, Acts 13:1, Acts 14:23, Acts 20:17

[6] Matthew 10:1, Ephesians 4:11-12

[7] Acts 15:22b, 2 Corinthians 2:5-11, Matthew 18:15-20, Hebrews 13:24

[8] Philippians 2:5

[9] Acts 15:22b, 2 Corinthians 2:5-11

[10] Matthew 18:15

[11] 1 Corinthians 12:4-11, Acts 12:5-8

[12] 1 Corinthians 16:2

[13] Romans 15:30-32, Philippians 1:19

[14] 1 Peter 5:2

[15] Ephesians 4:12

[16] Acts 16:4-5

[17] Acts 6:2

[18] Acts 1:15-26

[19] Matthew 18:17, 1 Cor. 5:4-5

[20] Acts 15:2,4, 1 Corinthians 15:7, Galatians 1:19

[21] Titus 1:5, Acts 20:17

[22] 1 Timothy 5:19-21

[23] Acts 15:2b

[24] 1 Timothy 5:17

[25] Philippians 1:1

[26] Romans 16:1, 1 Timothy 3:11

[27] Acts 6.1-6

[28] 1 Timothy 3.8-13

[29] Romans 15:28

[30] There are seven different Greek words in the New Testament sometimes translated as ‘minister.’ This word is purposely chosen to notate the spiritual leadership and lack of staff position required for a deacon.

[31] Ephesians 4:11-12,

[32] 1 Timothy 4:13

[33] 1 Corinthians 12:28

[34] James 5:14

[35] Ephesians 4:11

[36] 1 Peter 5:2-3, 1 Timothy 4:14, 1 Timothy 5:17, Hebrews 13:7

[37] Acts 20:28