Church Government


The biblical teaching on the subject of two church offices is found in (I Timothy 3:1-16) and (Titus 1:5-9). Though there are three terms used for the offices of the church, i.e. bishop, elder, and deacon, a careful analysis of these terms indicates that bishop and elder are used interchangeably, with the bishop simply being the ‘ruling’ or leading elder. The pastor of OBC has the same spiritual authority as the rest of the elders. However, with the exception of the pastor, ministry staff will serve on the board only as qualified and at the request of the elders.
Selection
When the need arises for additional elders, a nominee will be selected by the existing Board of Elders. In keeping with the clear biblical injunctions regarding authority structures within the church only men will be considered for the office of elder. An in-depth interview will ensue to determine if the nominee is biblically qualified. The congregation will then be reminded of the biblical requirement for elders and given 30 days to speak personally with the nominee if they are aware of any disqualifying characteristics. If the matter remains unresolved, the nominee or church member should approach the Board of Elders and request that their name be withdrawn from consideration.

Term
Since Scripture indicates no fixed term for elders, each elder, upon appointment, shall be asked to serve with no fixed term. As needed, the commitment will be reviewed, along with a possible re-commitment and reaffirmation by fellow elders. During the review, both the individual and the other elders shall evaluate his continued service as an elder, again considering the biblical qualifications, as well as any personal factors that might affect his service. An individual’s service as an elder may be discontinued by his own decisions or by a consensus decision of the other elders. A person leaving the Board of Elders would not preclude his service as a future elder, subject to the regular selection process.

Duties
The Scriptures are clear that the elder’s responsibility is the spiritual oversight of the congregation. The elder’s responsibility can be broken down into three main areas:

  • Ensuring that the doctrine of the church remains purely biblical; all doctrinal issues in the church will be settled by the Board of Elders.
  • Ensuring that the direction of the church remains consistent with our statement of purpose and our foundations statement as outlined in the Constitution.
  • Administering in love and humility the biblical process of church discipline as outlined in (Matthew 18:15-20) and (Galatians 6:1-4). All decisions affecting the overall doctrine, direction, and discipline of the church will be the responsibility of the Board of Elders.

Structure
All elders will have equal authority and responsibility. The OBC Pastor will work in cooperation with the Elder Board Chairman to ensure healthy ministry development and strong accountability. Agenda items for the elder meetings must be submitted to the Elder Board Chairman prior to the elders’ meeting. An elders’ meeting may not be held without a majority of the elders present and the entirety of the elders informed. The Elder Board Chairman will be selected by consensus decision of the Board of Elders with no fixed term and may not be one of the pastors. The Elder Board will consist of the Chairman, the Senior Pastor  and additional elders, who will assume responsibility as agreeable and necessary.

Qualifications (Titus 1:6-9)

  • 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
  • Manage own household
  • Not a new convert
Selection
All members of the pastoral staff will be chosen by the Board of Elders. The OBC Pastor will automatically be a member of the Board of Elders. The elders may nominate additional member(s) of the ministry staff (if qualified) to serve on the Board of Elders.

Term
All pastoral staff members will serve for an indefinite period of time. The OBC Pastor is responsible and accountable in the performance of his duties to the Board of Elders. All other staff members are responsible to the Board of Elders through the OBC Pastor. A staff member may only be dismissed by a consensus decision of the Board of Elders.

Duties
The responsibility of the OBC Pastor will be to faithfully preach God’s Word and model the priority of discipleship within the church. He will give oversight and direction to all ministry staff and work with the Board of Elders in carrying out the overall vision of Oaklands Bible Chapel.

Qualifications
The qualifications are equivalent to the biblical qualifications of an elder.

Additional Ministry Staff
Ministry job descriptions for the remaining pastoral staff will be established by the Board of Elders in keeping with the giftedness of the individual and agreed upon at the time of hiring.

The office of deacon is one that exists biblically to give leadership to the serving functions of the church (Acts 6). The qualification for deacons are the same as elder in the area of character, but different in aptitude. The elders are to be “apt to teach” while the deacons are to be “able and proved as servants”. The term “ministry leadership team” is used to refer to servants carrying out the office of deacon. Men and women are both considered as eligible for the office of deacon.

Selection
When the need arises for an additional ministry leadership team member (deacon), a nominee will be recommended by the existing Board of Elders. Following an independent interview to determine if the nominee is biblically qualified, the congregation will be reminded of the biblical requirements for deacons and given 30 days to speak personally with the nominee if they are aware of any disqualifying characteristics. If the matter remains unresolved, the nominee or church member should approach the Board of Elders and request that their name be withdrawn from consideration. Since Scripture indicates no fixed term for deacons, no specific term of office is recommended. Instead, each ministry leadership team member, upon appointment, shall be asked for a two year commitment. At the end of two years the commitment will be reviewed, along with a possible recommitment and reaffirmation by the Board of Elders. During the review, both the individual and Board of Elders, shall evaluate their continued service as a ministry leadership team member, again considering the biblical qualifications as well as any personal factors that might affect his or her service. An individual’s service as a ministry leadership team member may be discontinued by his own decision or by the consensus decision of the Board of Elders.  A person leaving the Ministry Leadership Team would not preclude his or her service as a future ministry leadership team member, subject to the regular selection process.

Term
Ministry Leadership Team shall serve a term of two years and be eligible for additional terms upon nomination of the Board of Elders. A ministry leadership team member may only be dismissed by a consensus decision of the Board of Elders.

Duties
The Ministry Leadership Team will be responsible for the oversight of all financial, benevolent, ordinance, and facility operations of the church.

Structure
The Ministry Leadership Team will report to the Board of Elders. The church treasurer will be the ministry leadership team member in charge of finances. The remainder of the ministry leadership team members will assume responsibilities as agreeable and as needed.

Qualifications (I Timothy 3:8-12)

  • Individual of dignity
  • Above reproach
  • Not double tongued
  • First tested as servants
  • Not addicted to wine
  • Spouses must be faithful
  • Dignified Temperate
  • Not fond of sordid gain
  • Holding to the mystery of faith with a clear conscience
  • Manages household well