Identifying Elders, Part 2
This is my second post on a process our church has begun to identify and install elder leadership. Below are more questions I’ve been asked or thought would be helpful to answer. Feel free to ask more questions in the comment section below.
What changes do we need to make to the church constitution to implement an elder leadership model?
While a church constitution should always be secondary to Scripture (and our constitution actually states this), it is important to honor the agreements we have already made. The Church Council and I have weighed this carefully together and all agree that we do not need to address any changes in the constitution or by-laws this year. Fortunately, our constitution requires a minimum that can be easily met; at least five council members meeting quarterly. The elders (and potentially deacons) that are affirmed at our Annual Membership Meeting in June will easily meet the requirement of forming a “council” while beginning to embrace responsibilities that strive for the leadership design illustrated in the Bible.
With this in mind, the elder affirmation I have called our church to make on April 1 does not have implications for the church constitution. We will likely want to make changes to our constitution in the near future in order to better serve the mission of our church and enable leadership to fulfill their responsibilities effectively. When that time comes, we will want to weigh many more questions carefully together. This year we’ll address only the clear issues of biblical leadership.
What can a member expect if he or she opposes this change of direction?
As an elder already serving the church, I look forward to any opportunity to provide further explanation or instruction from Scripture. In fact, that is the very purpose for these blog posts! I hope to answer questions and explain how we are moving forward. Of course, I am also happy to meet with someone in person too. It would be a great privilege to help persuade others of something that is so clearly biblical.
With that said, I don’t see it as a change of direction but rather as an adjustment along the way we’ve already been going. We’ve already agreed as a church (by approving changes to the church constitution in years past) that our leadership should meet biblical character qualifications. You may have noticed that the elder candidates I presented have already been serving in leadership. These men have already been functioning as church elders in important ways; this affirmation process helps to clarify their role and responsibilities in the local church. In short, I have been leading our church in this direction for quite some time.
The profiles presented for elder candidates include testimony, spiritual gifts, and leadership strengths. What are the leadership strengths all about?
I covered this topic in a Sunday message last year. An even more helpful resource can be found here.
What other questions would be helpful for me to answer?