This coming Sunday is a big day for us at Restoration City. I will officially nominate Dan Iten, Adam Ricketts and Mike Graese to form a Directional Elder Board with me. At that point, our outside Advisory Board will dissolve and we will become a self-governing church. It’s an important milestone for us on this journey of planting the church. We will now be fully following the New Testament pattern for church governance.
As I’ve talked with members about the upcoming vote, I’ve gotten three main questions. I thought it would be helpful to answer them below:
Why Dan, Mike and Adam?
This one is easy – two simple answers.
I’ll give you the most important one first. The Bible is very clear about the qualifications for elders.
The saying is trustworthy: If anyone aspires to the office of overseer, he desires a noble task. Therefore an overseer must be above reproach, the husband of one wife, sober-minded, self-controlled, respectable, hospitable, able to teach, not a drunkard, not violent but gentle, not quarrelsome, not a lover of money. He must manage his own household well, with all dignity keeping his children submissive, for if someone does not know how to manage his own household, how will he care for God’s church? He must not be a recent convert, or he may become puffed up with conceit and fall into the condemnation of the devil. Moreover, he must be well thought of by outsiders, so that he may not fall into disgrace, into a snare of the devil.
1 Timothy 3:1-7
Titus 1 contains a similar list. Quite simply, these three men embody these qualifications. Each of them as shown a remarkable amount of transparency and vulnerability as they moved through this process – they’ve each opened their lives to me, allowed me to ask probing (and, at times, invasive) questions and shown tremendous humility. I am 100% confident they are biblically qualified.
Additionally, they’re each gifted leaders who bring experience and expertise that we really need as a church as we continue to grow and plan for the future.
Again, two answers:
- It’s taken this long for me to be satisfied that we have three men who meet the above qualifications and will be in town long enough for us to form a functional board.
- We will become a financially self-sufficient church in this upcoming budget year. Last summer’s congregational meeting helped me see the wisdom in linking these two milestones. I agree with those who had some hesitation about us being financially self-sufficient without being self-governing. In God’s mercy, we’re able to achieve both at this time.
What do elders do?
We could do a whole Bible study on this. But let me give you a condensed answer to that question.
- Shepherd the congregation – we’re not a board of directors, we’re a team of pastors. (1 Peter 5:1-5 is the key text on this).
- Provide oversight on behalf of the congregation. I’m directly accountable to the Directional Elders and ultimately the congregation. That means, for example, the elders know and set my salary, know and approve every single line item in our budget, review our staff policies and overall hiring practices. In other words, they’re involved in the details of leading a church on behalf of the congregation.
- Serve as a source of counsel for me as I lead the church with our staff and volunteer leadership team. They’re a sounding board, a source of stability in crisis and a place to consider where God is leading us as a church. A healthy elder board ensures I’m not off dreaming up vision alone on some mountaintop but rather am processing where God is leading us in the context of a community of Godly and mature men.
I hope these answers are helpful. If you have other questions, let me know. I’m really looking forward to taking this step on Sunday but want to make sure you have the information you need to vote with confidence.
I love being the pastor of this church and so look forward to adding Dan, Adam and Mike into the leadership mix by forming a functional elder board.