Calvary Fellowship is committed to the Bible's teaching that men who hold offices of Elder and Deacon are to oversee various functions of the local church. The Bible's teaching on the subject of two church offices is found in 1 Timothy 3: 1-16 and Titus 1 :5-9. Although there are three terms used for the offices of the church, i.e. bishop, elder and deacon, analysis of these terms indicates that bishop and elder are used interchangeably.
(Titus 1:6-9, 1 Timothy 3:1-7)
The husband of one wife
Of good behavior
Able to teach
Not given to wine
Not greedy for money
One who rules his own house well
Not a novice
A good testimony outside the church
The Scriptures show that the Elders serve by leading and that their responsibility involves the spiritual oversight of the congregation. All Elders are equal in authority but not necessarily equal in influence.
The Elders' primary responsibilities:
Doctrine - Ensuring that the doctrine of the church is biblical; all doctrinal issues in the church will be settled by the Elders.
Direction - Ensuring that the direction of the church is consistent with the Calvary Fellowship mission statement and core values.
Administering in love and humility the process of church discipline as outlined in Matthew 18:15-20; Galatians 6:1-4; Titus 3:10; 2 Thessalonians 3: 14-15; 1 Timothy 5: 17-25; 1 Corinthians 5; 2 Corinthians 2:5-11 and Romans 16:17.
Plurality of Elders
The Scriptures teach that a plurality of elders governed individual New Testament churches- Acts 14:23; Acts 20:28; Titus 1:5; Phil1ipians 1:1. The Scripture does not mention any congregations featuring a stand-alone pastor and leader. A plurality of godly elders, exercising their individual giftedness, squares with the Scripture's teaching that wisdom is found in a multitude of godly counselors- Proverbs 11:4; Proverbs 12:15; Proverbs 15:22; Proverbs 19:20; Proverbs 24:6. This truth does not eliminate the possibility and likelihood that one or more elders will stand out from the others as more public in their ministries or more influential in their
workings on the Elder Council.
The Calvary Fellowship Pastor automatically serves as an Elder and, because of his public presence and responsibility before the congregation, may be considered first among equals as a member of the Elder Council. The Pastor should be gifted primarily as a preacher/teacher and as a leader.
The Bible teaches that Deacons lead by serving- Acts 6. The qualifications for . Elders and Deacons are the same regarding an individual's character, but they differ in aptitude. The elders are able to teach while the deacons are to be able and proved as servants.
(1 Timothy 3:8-12)
Not double tongued
Not given to wine
Not greedy for money
Holding the mystery of faith with a pure conscience Tested and proved
Wives must be reverent, temperate, and faithful Husband of one wife
Ruling their children and house well
Willingness to work and serve
Pastor / Elder Relationship
1. The terms pastor and elder refer to the same office.
a. The New Testament norm was a multiplicity of elders in each church.
b. In the Southern Baptist Convention, a tradition of one pastor has been developed over the years.
c. There should be a mutual respect between pastor and elders.
d. There should be a mutual accountability between pastor and elders.
e. Even though the term pastor was only used three times in the New Testament, and the term elder was used more prominently, there is no biblical reason why we should not have the freedom to use these terms interchangeably.
a. Peter was the obvious leader among leaders and primary spokesman at the church of Jerusalem. Acts 14:7
b. Timothy was the obvious leader among leaders and primary spokesman at the church of Ephesus. 1 Tim. 1:3
3. There is a distinction between elders who are paid and those who are not. 1 Tim. 5: 17
a. Those who devote full time to preaching and teaching should be paid.
b. Those who are freed up to devote full time to their ministries will naturally have a greater influence than the others.
4. There are some decisions a pastor should have authority to make on his own, and others should be made with the counsel of the elders.
a. Every attempt should be made to develop a relationship that is based upon mutual trust.
b. The senior pastor should be given the authority by the church to oversee the day to day operations of the staff and church as is written in the Constitution and By-Laws.
c. While the senior pastor should be given this authority, he should also see himself as accountable to the elders for his words and deeds.
d. There are considerations that should be brought to the elders for counsel and advice such as:
1. Doctrinal issues that require clarification for the Body.
2. Changes in eliminating existing ministries or starting new ministries.
3. Major changes in the direction or operation of existing ministries.
4. Matters of church discipline.
5. Problem solving with staff and lay leadership.
6. Major financial decisions.
7. Church wide ministry projects.
8. The ordination of new pastors.
9. Selection of elders and deacons.
10. Developing long range purpose, vision, and goals.