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Featured Elder leadership in the Baptist church

Discussion in 'General Baptist Discussions' started by agedman, Jun 10, 2019.

  1. agedman

    agedman Well-Known Member
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    More Baptist churches are moving to elder leadership. Here are some questions some may desire to have answered.

    Who on the BB has experience with elder leadership in a Baptist Church?​

    What guidelines of responsibilities were laid out?

    How or were committees used Nd in what manner?

    What Scripture authority was used to support elder leadership?

    What problems were encountered and how where they settled?

    How were elders selected - by congregation, appointment by other elders, by committee, or in some other manner?

    The word “elder” actually means old man. Was this kept in mind when selecting an elder?

    Any other question that should be included or advice you would like to share? ​
     
  2. Deacon

    Deacon Well-Known Member
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    My church uses an Elder Leadership model.
    I'm a former, or non-voting elder, having stepped down quite a few years ago for health and availability reasons.
    I've answered your questions using quotes from an old, constitution of the church when possible.

    What guidelines of responsibilities were laid out?
    The church constitution lays out the guidelines​

    The Council may elect or appoint at its discretion, leadership to oversee the church’s various ministries of the Council. Leaders of these ministries must be members of Crossing and in good standing.

    The Council shall be solely responsible for:
    1) Directing the affairs of Crossing and organizing it in such manner as to fulfill its stated purpose
    2) Rendering an official interpretation of any part of this constitution when such is needed (Council majority required)
    3) Proposing changes to the church constitution and presentation to the membership for final vote and approval.
    4) Oversight of Crossing finances
    5) Oversight of Crossing Leadership
    6) Oversight of Crossing Membership
    7) Guard the purity of doctrine and life of the church


    How or were committees used and in what manner?
    Committees are formed and developed under the authority of the elders.​

    What Scripture authority was used to support elder leadership?
    Whole books are written about this, I'd suggest "Who Runs the Church?: 4 Views on Church Government (Counterpoints) [LINK] to start.
    The Council has the privilege and responsibility to lead and oversee the general direction, spiritual welfare, and the fiscal responsibilities of Crossing. Elders are men who are recognized spiritual leaders and shepherds who meet the qualifications for an Elder as found in I Tim 3 and Titus 1.

    What problems were encountered and how where they settled?
    Each elected elder has one vote in making a decision, there is no seniority. In theory the leading/teaching/Senior pastor has no more power than any other elder.

    Problems… he used to call himself a “teaching elder” his role was to preach. As time went on, it become obvious that the time he spent in ministry gave him a deeper knowledge of what was going on in the congregation… by default he became the “Senior Pastor”. He still has only one vote but he heads the elder meetings and sets the agenda.​

    How were elders selected - by congregation, appointment by other elders, by committee, or in some other manner?

    Procedures for Appointment of an Elder
    1) At an Official Meeting of the Church Membership, the Council shall request of the membership, in writing, the names of men they wish to have considered as Elder candidates.
    2) The Council, by majority vote, may select the names of one or more men as Elder candidates to be examined and qualified.
    3) The Council shall examine and determine which Elder candidate(s) is/are qualified to serve as an Elder(s) based on the following:

    a. The Elder candidate meets the qualifications to serve as an Elder set forth in Scripture (1Timothy 3, Titus 1),
    b. The Elder candidate has the appropriate mental and emotional maturity to serve as an Elder,
    c. The Elder candidate has the appropriate capacity (time availability, etc.) to serve as an Elder,
    d. The Elder candidate has doctrinally sound beliefs, consistent with the Bible and Crossing’s doctrinal statement, and
    e. The Elder candidate is committed to Crossing’s Purpose, Vision & Values
    4) The Council shall determine, by a seventy-five percent (75%) or more vote in favor, which candidate(s) is/are qualified to serve. Candidates who are qualified by the Council shall be presented to the church at a regular church service as qualified Elder candidates approved by the Elder Council, subject to the approval of the church membership.
    5) At or immediately after the presentation of the Elder candidates to the church, but in no event later than three (3) days thereafter, the Council shall distribute ballots, in such a manner as the Council deems appropriate, to the Regular members of the church to vote for or against each of the Elder candidates qualified and presented by the Council. The Council must receive returned ballots no later than two weeks after the service at which the Council presented the Elder candidates. Ballots may be returned to the Elder Council in such a manner, as the Council deems appropriate.
    6) An Elder candidate shall be approved to become a member of the Council by the church membership if seventy-five percent (75%), or more, of a quorum of Regular members vote in favor of such Elder candidate.
    7) The Council will discuss the voting with the Elder candidate and the candidate shall be immediately installed as a member of the Council and recognized as soon as practical at a regular church service or Official Meeting of the Church Membership not later than one month after the close of voting on the Elder candidate.
    The word “elder” actually means old man. Was this kept in mind when selecting an elder?
    Old” is a relative expression, the biblical qualifications for elder qualify the meaning; experienced, able, trustworthy etc. are all qualities that take time to develop and recognize... some develop it sooner than others, and some others never do.​

    Rob
     
    #2 Deacon, Jun 10, 2019
    Last edited: Jun 10, 2019
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  3. Reynolds

    Reynolds Well-Known Member
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    Most Baptist churches around here are deacon led. You could call them elders if you like.
     
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  4. Van

    Van Well-Known Member
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    The idea that the day to day operation of the local assembly is managed and administered by a group of Elders (Leaders, Pastors, Teachers) is fine. Many churches in my youth called the leaders Deacons.

    The key is for the Elders to report to and be accountable to the congregation. While the Elders vet and nominate candidates, they are periodically confirmed by the congregation.

    The chain of command must be clearly laid out, (1) administrative staff reports to a Pastor/Elder, (2) individual Pastors and Elders report to the Elder board, governed by a plurality. (3) Elder board reports to and is accountable is the congregation.

    Once an Elder, always an Elder but membership on the governing board requires confirmation by the congregation every three to five years.

    The meaning of "day to day operation" refers to between periodic congregational business meetings.
     
  5. Revmitchell

    Revmitchell Well-Known Member
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    Which is unscriptural
     
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  6. agedman

    agedman Well-Known Member
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    Thank you for the responses. The Scriptures establish the viability of a candidate, certainly. But the job description is a different matter.

    Am I mistaken in assuming the elders are limited by what the Apostles stated as their responsibility?

    Acts 6:
    2And the twelve summoned the full number of the disciples and said, “It is not right that we should give up preaching the word of God to serve tables. 3Therefore, brothers, pick out from among you seven men of good repute, full of the Spirit and of wisdom, whom we will appoint to this duty. 4But we will devote ourselves to prayer and to the ministry of the word.”

    So if such is the limit, what then is the authority of elders to “administer” the operational aspects of the assembly.

    Did not the deacons, by virtue of having to acquire the food, set up and clean up the tables, store and dispense the food (and other materials necessary for the operation ... have the administrative authority placed in their hands, and not in the elder hands?

    There really seems little actual job descriptions given for the elders other than the most esteemed of the leaders are to be the humblest slave.
    Mark records:
    “You know that those who are considered rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their great ones exercise authority over them. 43But it shall not be so among you. But whoever would be great among you must be your servant, 44and whoever would be first among you must be slave of all. 45For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”
     
  7. Reynolds

    Reynolds Well-Known Member
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    Scriptural or not, (it can be argued either way) the deacons in most SBC churches serve the dual function of Deacon/Elder.
    The classic model of elders is not incompatible with baptist tradition. We no longer have apostolic oversight. The local church is self ruling. The historical model of pastor appointing elders who in turn appoint deacons leads to a system of absolutely no checks and balances.
     
  8. Revmitchell

    Revmitchell Well-Known Member
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    Its not in "most" churches.
     
  9. Reynolds

    Reynolds Well-Known Member
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    You are saying "most" SBC churches have a board of "elders"?
     
  10. Revmitchell

    Revmitchell Well-Known Member
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    I am not saying either one of those. I said it is not "most" churches that treat deacons as elders.
     
  11. rlvaughn

    rlvaughn Well-Known Member
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    We have always had elder leadership in the churches with which I have been associated. But that may not answer your question, because the elders in our churches were/are preachers/ministers of the gospel, and not some other distinct position. The elders led, but the church was governed congregationally. The deacons had more or less influence in different churches, but were never a board that ran the church.

    [We believe that in the Scriptures pastor, elder, and bishop are used synonymously.]
     
  12. Van

    Van Well-Known Member
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    Why are there two sets of qualifications if they are supposed to be the same office?
     
  13. rlvaughn

    rlvaughn Well-Known Member
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    Why are there two sets of qualifications if there are supposed to be three offices?
     
  14. Reynolds

    Reynolds Well-Known Member
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    Without a board of elders, by defacto the job rests on the deacons.
     
  15. rlvaughn

    rlvaughn Well-Known Member
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    Van, since this probably leads further off-topic, I will just post a link to an explanation I once posted elsewhere.
    Three names, one office
     
  16. Deacon

    Deacon Well-Known Member
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    Observations:
    1. In Acts 6 the "twelve" mentioned were the apostles - so the 'job description' would apply to them, and obviously the apostles did more than preach, pray and minister... elders also due to their experience would have expanded duties.
    2. Putting #1 aside, the leaders had more authority than the deacons, they were the ones identifying the problem, making the decisions, and finding a solution... the operational aspect you mentioned.

    Rob
     
  17. Reynolds

    Reynolds Well-Known Member
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    Unlike the Baptist Church, the early church was under apostolic authority. Without an overseer, it's dangerous to give a pastor control of a church.
     
  18. agedman

    agedman Well-Known Member
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    A problem area among particularly the more independent conservative Baptist groups has been the lack of pastor accountability. But the same could be said for the modernist and liberal pastors. Back in the late 50’s and 60’s, liberal pastors were often shuffled by the convention folks to help a pastor who (well you can imagine).

    Looking into the elder run assemblies, I was wondering where to find the Scripture for the job descriptions. Other than the two I gave, are there others I overlooked?

    Does the church, in violation of the Scriptures, establish a hierarchy approach of elder, deacon, lay person?
     
  19. Van

    Van Well-Known Member
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    1Ti 5:17
    The elders who rule well are to be considered worthy of double honor, especially those who work hard at preaching and teaching.

    Tit 1:5
    For this reason I left you in Crete, that you would set in order what remains and appoint elders in every city as I directed you,

    Now we have Pastors and Teachers who are chosen by the vote of the assembly members.
     
  20. agedman

    agedman Well-Known Member
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    I understand that Baptist churches cry and puff about local autonomy, but how really effective is such, when any new business must be first brought before a committee of handpicked “overseers?”

    The cry of some, “I’m responsible and accountable to God,” is not the whole picture.

    According to Christ’s statement, the overseer is the most lowly humbled slave of the congregation. Right?
     
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