Leadership at GBC Dauphin
Last week we looked at what the Bible says about leadership, describing the positions that Christ set for His church from the beginning: elders, pastors, deacons, deaconesses, evangelists, church planters. As an Associated Gospel Church (www.agcofcanada.com), Grace Bible Church has a constitution and set of by-laws that set up a form of governance that seeks to follow the Biblical model. Let me describe for you what it looks like today.
“The AGC recognizes that there is a wide spectrum of interpretation regarding those passages that address the subject of elders. Based on our understanding of various Biblical passages, the AGC affirms (1) that the role of elder was established by the Apostles during their ministry in the first century church and is the model presented to us in the Scriptures, (2) that the Biblical model is one of multiple eldership, (3) that the Biblical role of elder as established by the NT apostles is open only to men, (4) that the NT supports this male only model by using the creation model of leadership and accountability, (5) that the role of Lead/Senior Pastor is filled by an elder.” (Doctrine and Credentials Document)
The governance of Grace Bible Church is by a single team of leaders, appointed by God and elected in confirmation by the congregation. It consists of elders (including the pastor), deacons and deaconesses. This team of leaders work together to meet the physical, emotional, and most importantly spiritual needs of the people who consider themselves a part of the GBC family. Remember, by Biblical definition, the church is a body of believers in Jesus Christ. So, technically, not everyone who attends GBC is a part of The Church (since not everyone who attends is not a genuine believer in Jesus Christ), however, since we are not called to judge others, we welcome all people in and encourage them to participate.
Elders are the spiritual leaders of the church, led by the Pastor, and therefore are carefully chosen and trained men, as described in the AGC statement above. They must fulfill the requirements given in Scripture (as laid out last week from 1 Timothy and Titus), as well as being affirmed by member vote.
Deacons and deaconesses are caretakers of the church, under the direction of the elders, to direct the facilities, finances, and programs. These are men and women who are chosen and trained as well according to the guidelines of Scripture, the direction of the elders, and the affirmation of the members by vote.
There are some things that all members of the Leadership Team do, and some tasks that are separated among the members as portfolios of direction. All the members are to work together with the elders in connecting with and praying for the congregation (all who attend on a regular basis). All members are to have a say in the major decisions that are made as a team. Portfolios to direct ministries are divided up under the categories of Hospitality, Christian Education, Missions, Facility Care, Finances, Worship and Prayer. The team also chooses a Chairperson, Vice-Chairperson, and Secretary to direct the meetings. Meetings take place once per month.
Since leadership must be carefully and prayerfully chosen according to God’s direction, there is a process by which leaders are developed. Starting in August, potential leaders are asked to join the Leadership Team meetings, and then spend some time after each meeting learning what it means to be a leader at Grace Bible Church. At the end-of-year congregational meeting, these candidates and the congregation then prayerfully decide if they are suited to join the team as leaders. Leaders who join the team start their term in January, but do join the December meeting as a transitional time. Terms run for two years, and there may be two consecutive terms. After two terms, the leader must take a year off, except in extenuating circumstances. This allows the leader to take a break from the heavy responsibility of leadership, and to allow for the development of more leaders.