We have scheduled an ordination service for Sunday, Oct. 26 during which Dan Warda will be ordained as an elder and Ron Merrill will be ordained as a deacon. Pastor Rick Anderson of Faith Community Church in Oxnard will be our guest preacher. Here is what our church believes regarding elders and deacons in the church (this is an excerpt from our church constitution):
8.3.1 Terminology. Those who have been called of God to rule and teach in the church are called elders, pastors, or overseers (sometimes translated “bishops”). These three titles are interchangeable and designate various functions of one and the same office in a New Testament church (Acts 20:17, 28: Eph. 4:11,12; Titus 1:5, 7).
8.3.2 Qualifications. Anyone desiring the office of an elder must evidence to God’s people the personal, domestic, and ministerial qualifications that are set forth in the Scriptures (1 Tim. 3:1-7; Titus 1:5-9).
8.3.3 Authority. The authority to oversee or rule this local church has been delegated by Jesus Christ in the Bible to the elders
(1 Tim. 3:1; 5:17; 1 Peter 5:2; Hebrews 13:17. This God-given authority has both high prerogatives and important limitations:
220.127.116.11 It is Local Authority. The authority of the elders is limited to the sphere of the local church. Thus, they will not require punishments for sin beyond those of biblical church discipline, will not invade the biblically-defined spheres of other divinely-ordained human authorities (husbands, fathers, civil rulers, and employers), and will not command God’s people regarding matters not specified in Scripture except to order the house of God by the application of His Word (Matt. 22:21; Luke 12:13-14; Acts 20:28; Rom. 13: 1-7;
1 Cor. 7:25-28, 35-40; Eph. 5:22-6:9; 1 Pet. 5:2-3).
18.104.22.168 It is Accountable Authority. The authority of elders is conditioned by the fact that they are themselves members of the local church. While elders are shepherds over the flock, they are also members of the flock. Therefore, each individual elder is entitled to the same privileges, is obligated by the same responsibilities, and is subject to the same discipline as are all the other members of the church. Thus, each individual elder is both under the oversight of his fellow elders and accountable to the church as a whole (Matt. 18:15-17;
Matt. 23:8-9; Gal. 2:11; 3 John 1, 9-10).
22.214.171.124 It is Shared Authority. The official authority of every elder is the same. Thus, every elder has equal rule in the church. Though gifts possessed and functions performed will vary from elder to elder, this diversity must not undermine real parity among the elders
(Acts 20:17, 28; Gal. 2:11; 1 Pet. 5:1-2; 1 Tim. 5:17). Furthermore, the elders shall seek the concurrence of the members of the church regarding the sale or purchase of a church building or real estate or other such significant matters that the elders deem appropriate (Acts 6:2-6; 9:26; 1 Cor. 5:4-5; 13; 2 Cor. 2:6).
8.3.4 Pastoral Visits. One aspect of the elders’ duties is personally shepherding the flock of God (Acts 20:20, 28; 1 Thess 5:12). Fulfillment of this duty shall include meeting with each member of the church on at least an annual basis.
8.3.5 Plurality. The New Testament norm is for the office of elder in each local church to be shared by more than one qualified and called man at any given time (Phil 1:1; Acts 20:17). However, this church shall not ordain unqualified men as elders merely to maintain a plurality of elders (1 Tim 5:22). The specific number of elders this local church will have at any given time will be determined by the need as assessed by the existing elders, the number of qualified men in the congregation, and the collective assessment of the church members expressed through the advisory ballot and voting process.
8.3.6 Term of Office. The New Testament does not dictate the length of an elder’s term of office. One truly called to this office is usually called to it for life. He is a gift of Christ to the church, and the gifts of God are without repentance. Only when an elder fails to meet the necessary scriptural qualifications for his office does he disqualify himself from being an elder. An elder may honorably resign from his office for a time if he is providentially hindered from properly discharging his pastoral duties. He may, at the discretion of the elders, without re-examination by the congregation, re-assume office when those hindrances have been removed.
8.3.7 Absence of Elders. Should the office of elder be vacant, the deacons shall call a church meeting over which one of their members shall preside. At this meeting the church, by vote, shall place herself under the temporary guidance of the elders of a like-minded, confessional church. This guidance shall remain in effect until removed by congregational vote.
8.4.1 Purpose. The office of deacon was ordained by the Apostles to enable the ministers of the Word to concentrate on the specific functions of their office; namely, preaching, teaching, counseling, and prayer (Acts 6:1-6; 20:20, 31; Eph. 4:11-13). Deacons are primarily responsible to administer the benevolent and business affairs of the church.
8.4.2 Qualifications. The qualifications for the office of deacon are almost identical with those for the office of elder (1 Tim. 3:1-13; Titus 1:5). The only contrast between the qualifying standards for both offices is that the elders must be “able to teach” (1 Tim. 3:2) and equipped to shepherd God’s people (Acts 20:28).
8.4.3 Relationship to the Elders. Scripture indicates that elders have authority over diaconal concerns (Acts 6:2-4; 11:30). The deacons, therefore, must fulfill the duties of their office in cooperation with, and in subjection to, the elders.
8.4.4 Number. The number of deacons shall not be fixed. The church shall choose as many as are needed from among the men who evidence the scriptural qualifications for the office and who are willing to serve (Acts 6:1-6; 1 Tim. 3:8-13).