Our church exists to preach, teach, and live out the doctrines defined in the Bible, and summarized in our Statement of Faith. Therefore, our church constitution is relatively simple, and is always subservient to the Word of God. The following broad guidelines should be used to assist in church decision-making:
1) We believe the church is a monarchy, under the supreme and exclusive rule of Jesus Christ, our Head and King.
2) Each local church is then led by servant-leaders who help in matters of church governance, always under the rule of Jesus Christ, and with constant reference to His Word alone, guided by the Holy Spirit, and committed to prayer.
3) These servant-leaders are:
i) Elders. Elders are also referred to as “pastors,” “bishops/overseers,” and “shepherds” in the Scriptures. Elders serve with plurality, meaning there are more than one, and with parity, meaning they have equal standing and authority (see Acts 14:21–23; Titus 1:5; James 5:14; Acts 11:30; 16:4; 20:17; 21:18; 1 Timothy 3; 5:17-20). In the context of that plurality and parity, certain elders may give themselves more to teaching than others, and may also receive more financial support from the church than others (1 Timothy 5:17: “Let the elders who rule well be counted worthy of double honor, especially those who labor in the word and doctrine”).
ii) Deacons. Deacons serve alongside the elders, focusing on physical needs and church logistics (Acts 6:1–6; 1 Timothy 3:8–13). While they may occasionally preach (Acts 7), and while they may be involved in decision-making with the elders, deacons are not responsible for leadership in the same way elders are.
4) The offices of elder and deacon are to be held by men only (1 Timothy 3).
5) Our church is “elder-led” rather than “congregational” in governance. This means that major church decisions will be made by the elders, in loving consultation with the deacons when needed, and in loving consultation with the church when needed (Acts 1:23; 6:1–6). While congregational voting or casting of lots could be practiced as the need arises, we do not see this as the New Testament norm; therefore, the majority of our decisions should be made by competent elders and deacons whom the church trusts.
6) The church elders and deacons should always be committed to loving consultation and transparency with church members, especially in financial matters and church decisions that affect the entire body.
7) Before a plurality of elders and deacons is established in our church, able and godly men should make decisions about how to proceed, whom to appoint as elder(s), and how to function on a daily basis. These decisions should be made with prayer, transparency, and in loving consultation with the church body.
8) When one elder has been established, it is his immediate duty to seek out, train, and equip other men to serve as elders and deacons. We see 2 Timothy 2:2 (“And the things that you have heard from me among many witnesses, commit these to faithful men who will be able to teach others also”) as not only a command that must be followed, but also as a fruit of healthy ministry. It is the job of appointed leaders not to “lord it over” the congregation, but rather to mobilize other men to serve as elders and deacons, and to mobilize the whole church to serve as evangelists and disciple-makers (Titus 2; Matthew 28).