Elder Discernment Process
"It is a true saying that if someone wants to be an elder, he desires an honorable responsibility." 1 Timothy 3:1 (NLT)
Overview of Process
Frequently Asked Questions
• bishop (1 Peter 2:25)
• overseer (Acts 20:28-32)
• Model Christ-like behavior for the church (1 Timothy 4:12)
• Discipline or confront sinful, divisive behavior (Galatians 6:1)
• Oversee the finances of the church (2 Corinthians 8:19-20)
• Pray for the sick, hurting or distressed (James 5:14-15)
• Correct false doctrine (Acts 20:30-31)
• Committed to LVCC vision & leaders
• Participating in a Growth Group
• A proven ministry leader
• Highly involved at LVCC for at least one year
• Tithes to ministries of LVCC
• Regular involvement with LVCC ministries (Growth Group, Sunday services, congregational meetings, special events)
• Regularly pray for LVCC
• Email correspondence
• Additional meetings as needed
"The elders who direct the affairs of the church well are worthy of double honor, especially those whose work is preaching and teaching." 1 Timothy 5:17 (NIV)
These qualities are there to ensure that a church is lead by qualified, effective Elders. These qualities are found in 1 Timothy 3:2-7…
“Here is a trustworthy saying: If anyone sets his heart on being an overseer, he desires a noble task. Now the overseer must be above reproach, the husband of but one wife, temperate, self-controlled, respectable, hospitable, able to teach, not given to drunkenness, not violent but gentle, not quarrelsome, not a lover of money. He must manage his own family well and see that his children obey him with proper respect. (If anyone does not know how to manage his own family, how can he take care of God’s church?) He must not be a recent convert, or he may become conceited and fall under the same judgment as the devil. He must also have a good reputation with outsiders, so that he will not fall into disgrace and into the devil’s trap.”
“…must be above reproach…”
This term seems to be an all-inclusive term that is defined by the rest of the list. Not having outstanding concerns or charges against you with believers or nonbelievers. Paul mentions the same qualification in 1 Timothy 3:1-7 making sure an Elder has a “good reputation with outsiders.”
Paul was addressing marital infidelity that was common in his day (and still is today.). The phrase can mean a “one-woman man.” An Elder must be completely loyal to his wife and committed to and working on his marriage.
An Elder must be emotional stable, not volatile and rash. Emotions run high when decisions regarding the ministry have to be made. During such times he must be even-tempered and in control of his emotions.
The word can be translated, “discrete…sober…sensible.” An Elder must practice self-control in all areas of his life, not wrestling with any addictions or habitual sin.
An Elder’s life must be attractable to others and well thought of within the church and community. The lifestyle an Elder lives must be attractive to unbelievers and complementary to the gospel.
The word means “lover of strangers.” It also includes how freely we share our possessions and time with those around us, which is a character all Christians should possess. An Elder must love, pray for and invite the unchurched into the community of faith, freely sharing all he has.
An Elder needs to know basics of faith and can verbalize them to others, whether it is one on one or in a public setting. The term also describes having a non-argumentative, non-defensive posture toward those who might be hostile to the message.
Drinking alcohol beverages isn’t prohibited in scriptures, but drinking in excess, indulgently or in a way that causes someone else to stumble is prohibited. An Elder must model Christ-like behavior in this area, especially since LVCC reaches out to people with this particular addiction.
Not pugnacious, aggressive, challenging or looking for conflict. Must be quick to forgive and settle disagreements. This quality gives people grace and displays compassion, especially when challenged.
Leaders of the church should be free from the pull and temptations money brings. An Elder must model generosity and freedom from materialism, involved in tithing with a cheerful heart.
It appears that Paul considered the family unit as a testing ground for potential Elders. Just as a father is responsible for shepherding his children in the Lord, so to Elders are charged to shepherd the church. An Elder needs to be aware of and work on any family issues, displaying a commitment to parenting his children.
Paul warned against putting a recent convert in a position of leadership and authority, making the person vulnerable to pride and ungodly attitudes. An Elder must be a maturing Christian, showing signs of growth in his faith.
A solid, respectable reputation with the unbelieving community was important to Paul, since the church is designed to be engaged and involved with it’s community. It’s imperative that Elders maintain a positive reputation with those outside the church.
Elder Qualifications continued...
Paul gave additional qualities in Titus 1:6-9…
An elder must be blameless, the husband of but one wife, a man whose children believe and are not open to the charge of being wild and disobedient. Since an overseer is entrusted with God’s work, he must be blameless—not overbearing, not quick-tempered, not given to drunkenness, not violent, not pursuing dishonest gain. Rather he must be hospitable, one who loves what is good, who is self-controlled, upright, holy and disciplined. He must hold firmly to the trustworthy message as it has been taught, so that he can encourage others by sound doctrine and refute those who oppose it.
Anger can quickly endanger relationships and trust. An Elder must be able to display self-control in this area, not become easily angered.
“…one who loves what is good…”
An Elder must not be involved with anything that might be considered controversial or improper.
This word can also be translated as “wise, discerning, non-prejudiced and fair.” An Elder must be a man of integrity in his relationships.
“…holy and disciplined…”
An Elder must model devotion to Jesus Christ, striving to grow in his character and faith. The word for “holy” does not mean sinless, but complete and mature. While we all have plenty to work on, and Elder must display evidence that he has progressed in many areas of his faith.
“…He must hold firmly to the trustworthy message as it has been taught…”
In the day of false teachers and heretical doctrine, and Elder must not be swayed from the elements of the gospel by argument or persuasion.
"Care for the flock that God has entrusted to you. Watch over it willingly, not grudgingly—not for what you will get out of it, but because you are eager to serve God." 1 Peter 5:2 (NLT)
Elder Ground Rules
The following are ground rules we strive to maintain as we work as a team:
- We affirm that the bible is our guide in all decisions- Our policies, decisions and perspective is based on scripture, committing our ministry and our personal lives to its authority.
- We affirm that prayer is imperative for effective spiritual leadership – Prayer allows us to focus our thoughts, desires and mood on the leadership of Christ, conforming our agenda to His.
- We affirm the unity of the team – We seek to be of one mind and heart as we lead LVCC, striving for consensus on all decisions. When we are in disagreement, we give each other time to clearly sense God’s voice.
- We affirm dissenting opinions – Even though factions and dissentions can prevent godly decisions, so can a group of “Yes Men” who rubber stamp everything. When someone expresses a dissenting opinion, we interpret that as a possible “caution sign” from God.
- We affirm our personal relationship with each other – When we disagree on decisions we still affirm each other personally. We commit to growing closer to each other on a personal level.
- We affirm the diversity of our team – We all bring to the table diverse gifts, perspectives, interpretations and experiences. We strive to learn from each other and to see our differences as assets to the team rather than threats.
- We affirm that having our say is more important than having our way – Expressing our view points and convictions is necessary to arrive at a godly conclusion. However, we do not expect to get our way on every point. We recognize that our opinion sometimes may not be in line with God’s Spirit.
- We affirm the privilege of spiritual authority – We will not demand authority or use it in a dictatorial way. We understand that our authority is based on people’s trust, and that trust must be earned.
- We affirm the act of leading by example – We strive to model church involvement and Christian character, embodying the vision and mission of LVCC by attending events, tithing and by maintaining a high profile within the church.
- We affirm the reality of financial support – To accomplish our vision we must address the realities of our finances. Therefore, we strive to balance responsible financial management while remaining faithful to the vision.
Lead Pastor-Elder Working Relationships
The Lead Pastor and the Elder board share different levels of accountability with each other. At one level, the Elders are accountable to the Lead Pastor for training, spiritual leadership, appointment of Pastors serving as Elders and for the agenda of board meetings. At another level, the Lead Pastor is accountable to the Elders for settling unresolved conflict, ensuring he is fulfilling his duties and being hired or terminated. There is another level in which the Lead Pastor and Elders are equals, primarily in the ongoing decision making process.
Here is an explanation that best illustrates the different levels of accountability:
Lead Pastor leads in…
…the hiring and supervision of staff/co-pastors, the teaching ministry of church, the training of Elders, ensures LVCC fulfills it’s mission, determines which pastors if any serve as Elders and assists Lead Elder in agenda of Elder meetings.
Elders lead in…
…the hiring/termination of Lead Pastor, establishment of Lead Pastor’s salary/bonuses, ensures the Lead Pastor fulfills his duties and the settling of unresolved conflicts with Lead Pastor and/or staff.
Management of Staff
The Lead Pastor is responsible for overseeing, directing and managing the staff and leaders of LVCC, according to the constitutional sections listed below. He is to be the primary link between the staff and Elders, providing information, updates and/or reports to the Elders so that decisions can be made effectively. The diagram below best illustrates the lines of communication and authority:
Lead Pastor ↔ Elders
Elder Candidate's Personal Profile Form
In order for us to get to know you a little better, and to continue with the discernment process, please fill out the Elder Candidate's Personal Profile form.