BRAVE Church is committed to the Bible’s teaching that men who hold the 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.

According to Scripture, Elders “serve by leading” and they are responsible for the spiritual oversight of the church family. All Elders are equal in authority but not necessarily equal in influence.

Deacons “lead by serving” (Acts 6). The qualifications for Elders and Deacons are the same regarding an individual’s character, but they differ in gifting. The elders are to be “able to teach” while the deacons are to be “able and proved as servants”.

Both the Elders and Deacons are deeply committed to prayer. Every meeting begins with a significant time spent in prayer. It is essential and a non-negotiable. Elders meetings are held twice a month. Deacons meet necessary according to the needs of the church family.

Elders are to be above reproach, able to teach, husband to one wife, not addicted to wine, temperate, not antagonistic, prudent, uncontentious, respectable, free from the love of money, hospitable, manages own household well, not a new convert (Titus 1:6-9).

Deacons are to be individuals of dignity, above reproach, not double tongued, first tested as servants, not addicted to wine, having a faithful spouse, dignified, temperate, not fond of sordid gain, holding to the mystery of faith with a clear conscience, husband of one wife, managing household well (1 Timothy 3:8-12).

The Elders are overseers. They delegate the day to day operational and ministry activities to the church staff. The Elders focus on the following:

  1. Doctrine: Ensuring that the doctrine of the church is biblical; all doctrinal issues in the church will be settled by the Board of Elders;
  2. Direction: Ensuring that the direction of the church is consistent with the BRAVE Church statement of purpose and the four pillars;
  3. Discipline: 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.

The Scriptures teach that a plurality of elders governed individual New Testament churches (Acts 14:23; Acts 20:28; Titus 1:5; Philippians 1:1). The Scripture does not mention any congregations featuring a stand-alone pastor and leader. A plurality of godly elders, exercising their individual gifts, 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).

Deacons serve the church and care for the needs within the local body of Christ. They oversee the Benevolence fund which helps those in need within the church and they are actively involved in connecting and caring for the church family.

The Lead 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 Board. The Lead Pastor should be gifted primarily as a preacher/teacher and as a leader.

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