Harvest Bible Chapel Church Government
Harvest is committed to the Bible’s teaching that Elders are to oversee the various functions of the local church supported and assisted by Deacons.
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: bishop, elder, and pastor, analysis of these terms indicates that bishop, elder and pastor are used interchangeably.
Elder Qualifications—Titus 1:6-9
Able to teach
Husband to one wife
Not addicted to wine
Free from the love of money
Manage own household
Not a new convert
The Scriptures show that the elders serve by leading and that their responsibility involves the spiritual oversight of the congregation. All elders are equal in authority but not necessarily equal in influence.
The elders’ primary responsibilities include:
Doctrine – Ensuring that the doctrine of the church is biblical; all doctrinal issues in the church will be settled by the Elders Team.
Direction – Ensuring that the direction of the church is consistent with the Harvest Bible Chapel statement of purpose and the four pillars.
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.
Plurality of Elders
The Scriptures teach that a plurality of men called 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 giftedness, 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. This truth does not eliminate the possibility and likelihood that one or more elders will stand out from the others as more public in their ministries or more influential in their workings on the Elder Board.
The Harvest Bible Chapel Senior 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 Team. The Senior Pastor should be gifted primarily as a preacher/teacher and as a leader.
The Bible teaches that deacons lead by serving—Acts 6. We tend to refer to them as Support Teams and Support Team members for this reason. The qualifications for elders and deacons are the same regarding an individual’s character, but they differ in aptitude. The elders are to be able to teach while the deacons are to be able and proved as servants.
Deacon Qualifications: 1 Timothy 3:8-12
Individual of dignity
Not double tongued
First tested as servants
Not addicted to wine
Spouses must be faithful
Not fond of sordid gain
Holding to the mystery of faith with a clear conscience
Husband of one wife
Manages household well