Harvest Bible Chapel is committed to practicing the two Biblical church offices: elder and deacon. The Bible provides directions on the qualifications and functions of these two distinct office
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. overseer, elder and deacon, analysis of these terms indicates that overseer and elder are used interchangeably.
The qualifications for an elder are found in 1 Timothy 3:1-7 and Titus 1:5-9; the right attitudes are found in 1 Peter 5:1-3. The elders, after a time of personal examination of the man and receiving congregational input, appoint any new elders who aspire and are qualified.
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
Doctrine: Ensuring that the doctrine of the church is biblical; all doctrinal issues in the church will be settled by the elders; 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 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). 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 in the church. Each elder has equal authority in leading the church. There is no biblical basis for differing degrees of individual authority between vocational (“staff") elders and volunteer (“lay”) elders
The Senior Pastor should be gifted primarily as a preacher/teacher and as a leader. The Senior Pastor must be determined by the elders to be qualified to serve as an elder, according to the qualifications above, prior to his appointment. The Senior Pastor has an equal share of authority that each elder has and has the primary role of preaching/teaching and is expected to shepherd and lead with other elders. The Senior Pastor provides oversight of the staff.
Meet our Elders
The Bible teaches that Deacons “lead by serving” (Acts 6). The qualifications for Elders and Deacons are the same regarding an individual’s character (1 Timothy 3:8-10), but they differ in role. The qualifications for deacons are found in 1 Timothy 3:8-12.
Likewise, deaconesses are to be servant leaders in character (1 Timothy 3:11-13) and deeds.
How Deacons Function in our Church
The deacons and deaconesses both function in the life of our church by serving under the authority of the elders. They facilitate the ministry in order to allow the elders to maintain devotion to the ministry of the Word of God and prayer (Acts 6:4). Under a pastor they are able to exhibit administration and guidance to others, while strengthening and unifying the body of Christ.