Elders at Christ Fellowship
Christ Fellowship is governed by a team of elders. We believe this is in harmony with the New Testament teaching regarding church leadership, that the church be led by a plurality of qualified leaders (more than one person). The Bible instructs elders to oversee the church and care for the flock. They are the primary group who are accountable for the overall health and effectiveness of the church. Ultimately, Jesus Christ is the head of the church, so the essence of the elders’ responsibility is to seek his direction in overseeing, guiding and caring for the church.
The qualifications for eldership are laid out in 1 Timothy 3 and Titus 1, and we take these qualifications very seriously. All elders have served in our church for enough time for these character qualities to be observed and confirmed by many, and we have a thorough process for elder selection.
An “elder-led” church is different than some other forms of church government. We are not a pastor-led church, meaning that we are not led by one person, such as the senior pastor, but by a plurality of leaders. Our senior pastor is one of the elders and works with the rest of the team to lead the church. We are also not a congregationally-led church, which is why we do not have business meetings during which the congregation votes on directional issues. The elders seek input from a variety of people, especially our church’s overall leadership team. The elders have the authority to make overall directional decisions for the church.
An elder team has some similarities with a typical organization’s “board of directors,” but in many ways it is dissimilar. The role is a practical one but even more so a spiritual one. Our elders serve as shepherds of our church, who seek to love and care for the rest of the church body. They serve as an example to the church and also teach and mentor others in the faith. They understand that the true leader of the church is Jesus himself, the “head of the church.” Because of this, seeking his direction in prayer is a significant part of the elder function.
The advantages to being an elder-led church are many. Accountability is provided within the team format. Leadership is provided through men with a variety of gifts and decisions are made through the wisdom of multiple godly people. An elder-led church also escapes the political environment that can happen in a congregationally-ruled church, where churches are often split by voting blocks and church politics. Another advantage is that they are able to make decisions in a timely manner to ensure the ongoing health and effectiveness of the church.
Our elders typically meet twice a month for “agenda meetings,” and seasonally they meet weekly for study of the Word and prayer,” where often their wives join them to evaluate our church in light of the New Testament and to pray for the church.
For biblical teaching on eldership, please see these Biblical Passages on Elders. We recommend Gene Getz’s book, Elders and Leaders, for an excellent biblical treatment of what it means to be an elder. We’ve provided answers to Common Questions about Elders.