An elder is a spiritually mature man who is called by God and who also desires to govern, shepherd and teach God’s people in the local church (I Timothy 3:1-, Titus 1:5-16, 2:1-10). After a thorough and public examination by the present team of elders to determine if the man is spiritually, doctrinally, and morally qualified to serve as an official leader in the church, hands are then laid upon the man commissioning him to service.
Elders are called by God to perform a function, not merely hold an office or position. They are responsible to care for and lead the flock through the following service (1 Peter 5:1-3) …
1. General oversight of the church (Acts 11:29-30; Acts 15-16:4; Acts 20:28; Hebrews 13:17; I Thessalonians 5;12). This implies in a supervisory role, not a direct interaction role. The elders of the church should:
- See that all are cared for, but not care for all.
- Lead the leaders that do the ministry, but not manage the ministries.
- Help set the direction of the church.
- Guard the mission and vision of the church.
2. Teaching the church (Acts 20:20,27; I Timothy 3:2, 5:17;I Thessalonians 5:12; Titus 1:9)
3. Protecting the church (Acts 20:28; Hebrews 13:17)
4. Praying for the church (James 5:14)
5. Modeling godliness to the church (I Timothy 3:1-7, 1Pet 5:1-3)
The Bible uses three terms to describe different facets of the one man who serves in this office. These terms are “elder”, “bishop”/“overseer”, and “pastor”. To distinguish between the elders who make a living in the ministry and elders who make a living in the marketplace, Mosaic calls the elders who make a living through the church vocational elders or “pastors”, and the other men are called “lay elders.”
The Elder team is comprised of vocational elders (pastors) and lay elders. There are times when the pastors are dismissed from matters and decisions in Elder team meetings that deal with finances, staffing, and performance evaluations due to a possible conflict of interest. The lay elders, with input from the Directional Leading Pastor when appropriate, are entrusted with the responsibility of handling these matters. On the other hand, the pastors, who typically spend more time tending to the needs of the people, make recommendations to the lay elders as it pertains to caring for the flock and disciplining the flock.
Decisions by the Elders team are made in a spirit of unanimity. While unanimity is desired, it is not necessarily a biblical requirement for all decisions. There will be times when one or more elders will not be in agreement with the remainder and a decision of sort will have to be rendered. While it is not necessary to have unanimity in the decision itself, it is important to have unanimity among the elders that the decision was made in a spirit of oneness.
Calling of an Elder
From time to time, the Elders of the church will need to add capacity to the board or replace a sitting elder who has asked to be relieved of “active duty”. As a matter of practice, the Elders have a collection of individuals who demonstrate their potential calling to the role as a result of modeling a Christ-centered life and a commitment to serve others. At a point of need, the Elders will invite these individuals to prayerfully consider accepting the call to be a candidate for Elder of Mosaic. These candidates are then presented to the church body for affirmation and consideration. While a formal vote does not occur, members of the church are invited to provide feedback to the Elder board regarding the candidates over a set period of time after which, these candidates may be confirmed and commissioned.