Over the last few weeks I have asked our church family to prayerfully consider investing in the future health of Living Proof Baptist Church. Specifically, you have been asked to nominate men who would take up the responsibility to shepherd the church of God as elders. These men are those who will be given the specific tasks of teaching the Bible to our church, protecting us from false teachings, offering spiritual care and direction to our families, and providing overall spiritual direction and leadership for our church body.
I want to give you a few reasons why this is such an important issue for our church and why we are approaching it the way we have chosen to:
1) We believe biblical teaching most strongly favors a plurality of elders in each local church. This means that one person is not “the boss” in a local church, but rather the spiritual care and oversight of the church is shared among a group of qualified and recognized elders. This provides the church with not only a plurality of elders, but also a plurality of gifts, strengths, and weaknesses. The elders will take time to pray and discuss various issues and offer their counsel to the church as whole. They will do this as one voice after a sufficient amount of work has been done on any particular issue. The congregation as a whole should be able to find comfort in knowing that strengths have been utilized, weaknesses have been tempered, and gifts have been shared.
2) People come and go, bet elders will remain. I do not mean that elders will never move to another town or choose to no longer serve. I do mean, though, that the office of elder will remain as a vital part of the identity and ministry of Living Proof. This will add consistency and balance to our church family for years to come. We all know that in the life of a small church, a few families moving away, illnesses, or death can leave holes in life and in ministry. We pray that God would grant us a body of elders that will be able to continually keep God’s mission for LPBC before us regardless of how that mission will have to be carried out depending on numbers, finances, buildings, staffing, etc.
3) Elders work when the congregation works. Here we see the principle of Ephesians 5:21 come bear. (Have you ever heard anyone talk about this verse?) We submit to one another out of reverence for Christ. Elders are recognized, nominated, and finally affirmed by the membership of Living Proof. This whole process depends on the reality that we have a group of people seeking God’s face and heart for the direction of His church. The present elders will take the people that the congregation nominates and work through the selection process with them. So the current elders and prospective elders submit to the church body for direction while the church body submits to the current elders for leadership in this whole process. It ought to be a beautiful picture of how the church functions in light of the gospel.
There are a few details to remember in this process. First, please take time to pray through the material in the document entitled A Vision for Leadership at LPBC. Remember that when Jesus was preparing to select his 12 disciples, Luke tells us that he passed the night in prayer (Luke 6:12-16). If we move through this process and treat it just as a mental exercise without committing it to prayer, we declare that we are stronger and wiser than our Lord Jesus. We know this obviously is not true of us. So let us make sure that we are living in accordance with this truth and seeking God’s direction for these types of decisions, as did Christ.
You may nominate more than one person. You may nominate as many people as you feel are qualified. There is no limit. Again, this process depends upon the wisdom and discernment of the church under the leadership of the Holy Spirit. So if you know two men to be qualified, nominate them both. If there are three…go for it.
Finally, nomination forms need to be in by March 25th. You can give them to Dean Raynes or myself or you can scan and email an electronic copy to us. Below, you will find both the vision document and the nomination form.
I look forward to seeing what God has in store for our faith family. Join me in prayerfully looking toward the future.
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