Extra-biblical requirements

Discussion in 'General Baptist Discussions' started by dan e., Feb 21, 2008.

  1. dan e.

    dan e.
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    Just curious about what everyone thinks about any additional requirements that churches may have for their elders that are not necessarily biblical.

    For example, my church is about to add an elder, not paid, and there are a list of expectations for this man. Here are a couple of them:

    - he is expected to read at least 6 books per year (obviously not just any book, but books on leadership, or something to enhance his personal study)
    - he is expected to be at home at least three nights per week
    - he is expected to attend one leadership conference per year (usually the leaders go to Catalyst)
    - he is expected to take one weekend sabbatical per year, alone, with no computer or anything...just himself and his Bible to spend time in prayer.


    Those are a few things. To be honest, I really think they are great expectations and fully support them. Just curious about some others may have, or what you guys and gals think of extra-biblical expectations alongside the biblical qualifications.
     
  2. tank1976

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    I've seen these type of requirements before... I think they are a great idea.

    I also believe some of these should be requirements for a pastor. In fact one church I talked with had some of these requirements for their pastor
     
  3. webdog

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    The only one I can see is attending the leadership conference, particularly if all the elders attend.

    He should be expected to study Scripture (not books...have no idea why reading books is a requirement), and whether he needs a one weekend sabbatical is between him and the Lord...not him and the church.

    Being home three nights a week is ridiculous. He's not a child. What if he works second shift?

    Too many "man" regulations, and not scriptural mandates for my liking.
     
  4. PastorSBC1303

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    How are these requirements monitored?

    If he isn't home three nights a week, what happens?
     
  5. dan e.

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    Allow me to clarify some of the reasoning I see behind some of these. I'll also add that these are just a few of them. Studying Scripture is definitely an expectation as well. I didn't want to make it sound like books were emphasized over scripture; I guess I should have put scripture instead of the books. I was just trying to show an example that wouldn't necessarily be expected at all places.

    Reading is healthy for a leader. Gathering insights from Christian leaders isn't a bad thing, especially with leaders writing books about an area that you are leading in too.

    As far as being home...this is one of my favorites. It is meant to counter a trend that has pastors so busy with different programs/events that they neglect their families. It has nothing to do with needing to literally be in your house three nights per week (like some sort of curfew), but is more of an expectation to be with your family three nights per week.
     
  6. dan e.

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    I know the elders have weekly meetings in which they hold each other accountable for their personal lives. That's a good question.

    If I'm one of the men nominated, and become the elder, it'll be interesting to learn how. My guess would be that when they meet for accountability these things come up.

    Again, the being at home thing is a guard against neglecting family. I personally think more churches ought to have a similar standard.
     
  7. tinytim

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    Those are not really extra-biblical expectations....
    3 of those fall under the scripture that says to study to show thyself approved... The Sabbatical is following the example set by Christ...

    And I assume the 3 nights a week is for family time, in which the bible says we as Christian leaders must have...

    So, even though the Bible does not come out and say "thou shalt spend 3 nights a week with your family", doesn't mean the premise is not biblical.
     
  8. PastorSBC1303

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    I am not saying they are a bad thing. I would just be curious to know how it all works.

    I would think it could easily fall into a legalistic standard that is not healthy for the pastor, his family or his church.

    But it is an intriguing idea. I look forward to hearing others responses.
     
  9. Palatka51

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    This has a Pharisaical legalistic smell to it. I think that Paul gives enough instruction for an elder/deacon.
     
  10. dan e.

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    It'll be easy for me to find out the specifics on accountability. We're about to nominate a 5th elder, and there was a document emailed out to all members explaining the process and expectations. I thought that it was really encouraging to see.

    Of course, you're right, it could turn into legalism. Although so could a lot of things. Hopefully we'll keep our minds straight and focus on the reasoning behind the expectations and not turn it into a list of rules. I think the reasoning is healthy.
     
  11. gb93433

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    I see nothing about him making disciples. Is that part of a man's life optional for your church?

    I have many reference books, do those counts as books? As I get older I spend a lot more time on the inspired version of the Greek and Hebrew text rather than reading someone else's theology. All of that is inspoired by God not a man's theology or approach to the Bible.

    The Bible must be studied its historical context and then interpret the Bible in light of its historical context. Finally apply the Bible. That is enough to last me all of my life until dead.

    A few years ago I led a Bible study that lasted two years. For six months of the study the group read the entire Bible and answered the questions in the workbook. It was a survey of the OT and NT. Would that qualify as six books? They read six eight books (66 in the Bible and two workbooks).

    Leadership is not so much about intellectual ability but simply about leading. Lots of people can read but have not led anyone in real life.

    An elder must be able to lead.

    I know a man in a church that I went to who never wanted to be an elder because he did not want to be a part of the political machine. I can assure that the church never had another person or pastor who discipled more people. When he died, there were about 700 people at his funeral. We figured that only about 1/3 of the people he affected for eternity were there. Many are pastoring, in full time Christian work, working regular jobs making disciples, and on the missioin field because he reached them for Christ. He worked a regular job. The city officials came to his funeral. The local lumber yard shut down for the funeral. The service ;asted for three hours as one person after another got up and spoke of how he had impacted their life. The man never read six books in a year but he read and studied his Bible a lot, and discipled loads of people. He loved God and it showed. He radiated Christ.
     
  12. Palatka51

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    Upon further review I retract my first statement to this thread. :eek:
     
  13. dan e.

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    Yes, the elder is expected to be investing in one other man in the church. That is also under the expectations. I just listed a few to get some general thoughts, maybe I should copy everything on it. I don't think it's suppose to be a big secret.
     
  14. dan e.

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    Here are the first two sections of what what sent out to the members. The rest of the document just pertains to the process of choosing the elder.

    "Paid Staff/Elder Expected to maintain a personal time of meditation of the scriptures and prayer. Expected to digest 6 books a year. Expected to attend at least one conference a year related to greater cultural and biblical understanding. Expected to take one weekend for renewal/ refreshment. Expected to participate in one cross cultural missions experience per year. Expected to attend vision/leadership retreat. Expected to be in an ongoing area of service to the community. Expected to replicate his life in the lives of others, specifically one man. Expected to ask God to identify an apprentice that he can invest in and mentor.

    Lay Elders Expected to maintain a personal time of meditation of the scriptures and prayer. Expected to digest 6 books a year. Expected to participate in one cross cultural missions experience per year. Expected to attend vision/leadership retreat. Expected to be in an ongoing area of service to the community. Expected to replicate his life in the lives of others, specifically one man. Expected to ask God to identify an apprentice that he can invest in and mentor."
     
  15. dan e.

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    Actually, here is another piece to it:

    "Elder Responsibilities (Paid Staff and Laity)
    • Pray for vision and wisdom (Acts 6:4)
    • Study and teach the scripture (Acts 6:4)
    • Use area of giftedness to serve the church
    • Involved in lives of the unchurched, actively seeking to love them to Jesus (Matthew 5:13-16)
    • Pray and anoint with oil when called on (James 5:14)
    • Manage church discipline (I Tim. 5:20, Matt. 18:15-17, Titus 3:10)
    • Deal with conflict according to Matthew 18
    • Develop and mentor leaders to fill key roles
    • Consult on doctrinal issues
    • Consult and contribute to visioneering
    • Consult and contribute to spiritual formation
    • Consult and contribute to staffing decisions
    • Consult and contribute to expansion of elders
    • Consult and contribute to selection of deacons
    • Consult and contribute to major financial decisions
    • Tithe to the local church"
     
  16. Karen

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    Some of these requirements could really add up financially.
    I hope your church will pay the plane tickets and reasonable expenses for the cross-cultural missions trip, conferences, etc.

    Some of the list such as mentoring others and witnessing and studying the Bible, I can see. Others such as requiring going to a conference, I find extra-biblical and not necessary. A good thing to do perhaps, but I am not sure it should be mandated. For example, I know a church leader personally who is in a wheelchair with very limited hand and arm use.
    I know another one who was doing full-time care for his elderly father.
    Just two practical examples of people who have had effective ministries but would not be welcome as leaders according to the list you have given, because they would not be able to attend the missions trip or conferences.
     
  17. dan e.

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    Good points. I would hope that if a person was nominated to be an elder, and had some of the problems you are suggesting, that exceptions would be made. I think that is the difference between a legalistic set of rules required for the elders and general expectations to be met. What I see behind a lot of the things such as attending conferences, reading books, etc. are that there is the expectation to continue development as a leader in the church. These are some things that can be very helpful in that. The only way? No...but a way nonetheless.

    As far as the money, it seems that for the trips taken so far in our year and a half old church that the leaders' cost is taken care of from budget. For example, we have an international trip next week, but only two of the elders are being paid for, and the others aren't able to go. I'm sure if they wanted to use their own money, they could have. But yes, the church covers the mission trips for them. At least one, that is.
     
  18. dan e.

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    So I guess part of my intention was not only thoughts on the expectations I've shown with my church, but does anyone else's church have anything different?

    If you guys were planting and had the opportunity to map all of this out, would you want to include anything that isn't technically "unbiblical", but is still additional to biblical qualifications?
     
  19. rbell

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    Where do ya'll get reading 6 books a year from?

    Sounds like to me he's expected to eat 6 books per year.

    [​IMG]
     
  20. dan e.

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    I guess everyone has different ways of learning!:laugh:
     

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