A call to serve and lead
Proper church organization begins and ends with a proper understanding of Authority. The Bible teaches that Jesus possesses all authority.
“And Jesus came up and spoke to them, saying, "All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth.” Matthew 28:18
Thus, Jesus is the head of Grace Crossing Baptist Church. Jesus is the Apostle who plants a church. Jesus is the Senior Pastor and Chief Shepherd who rules the church. (1 Peter 5:4)
Therefore, it is absolutely vital that a church loves Jesus, obeys Jesus, imitates Jesus, and follows Jesus at all times and in all ways, according to the teaching of His Word. (Col 3:16)
Jesus is our example of how we should both act when we are in authority and react when we are under authority. We, as a local church, learn of Jesus’ authority through His Scriptures and through the ministry of the Holy Spirit. Thus, for Grace Crossing, the Scripture (the whole counsel of God – both the Old and New Testament) will be the highest authority by which all other things are tested. Scripture (Old and New Testament) is our highest authority, our Supreme Court, by which all other things are tested. Practically this means the lesser courts of reason, tradition, and culture are under the highest court of truth, which is divinely inspired Scripture.
Human leadership in the church is simply people who are dedicated to being true disciples of Jesus Christ. Grace Crossing Elders recognize that to “not take the Lord thy God’s name in vain” is more than a reference to vocabulary. It is a call to ambassadorship. Grace Crossing Elders will represent their Lord faithfully and competently in everything they do.
Philippians 1:1 provides an outline for Grace Crossing governance. Serving under Jesus are elders, deacons and church members.
“Paul and Timothy, bond-servants of Christ Jesus, to all the saints in Christ Jesus who are in Philippi, including the overseers and deacons.” Philippians 1:1
Elders are the male leaders of the church who are synonymously called pastors, bishops, and overseers throughout the New Testament (Acts 20:28; Eph 4:11; 1 Pet 5:2). The Elders are men chosen for their ministry according to clear biblical requirements after a sufficient season of testing in the church. (1 Tim 2:11-3:7; Titus 1:5-9). They serve directly under Jesus, the Head of the church. Like Christ, their leadership is best understood through the imagery of a shepherd.
Essential Duties of a New Testament Elder
* Praying and studying Scripture (Acts 6:4)
* Leading the Church (1 Timothy 5:1-7)
* Managing the Church (1 Timothy 3:4-5)
* Caring for people in the Church (1 Peter 5:2-5)
* Giving account to God for the Church (Hebrews 13:17)
* Living exemplary lives (Hebrews 13:17)
* Rightly using the authority God has given them (Acts 20:18)
* Teaching the Bible correctly (Ephesians 4:11; 1 Timothy 32)
* Preaching (1 Timothy 5:17)
*Praying for the sick (James 5:13-17)
*Teaching sound doctrine and refuting false teachings (Titus 1:9)
*Working hard (1 Thessalonians 5:12)
*Rightly using money and power (1 Peter 5:1-3)
*Protecting the church from false teachers (Acts 20:17-31)
*Disciplining unrepentant Christians (Matthew 18:15-17)
* Obeying the secular laws as the legal ruling body of a corporation (Romans 13:1-7)
*Developing other leaders and teachers (Ephesians 4:11-16; 2 Tim 2:1-2)