Nominating elders is an exciting thing. It ends up being an amazing way for the staff to know: Who are the key influencers and spiritual leaders in our congregation?
However, many people wonder: What does an Elder do? (Do they have to be old?) And how do I know if I’m nominating the right person? So, before answering these questions, allow me to give a quick reminder as to how they function in our church government.
Keep in mind: Substance takes the “Biblical Elder” and splits this role into four categories: Staff, Trustees, Overseers and “Elder.” We do this because, as churches have grown, so have the responsibilities. We don’t want to have a “single board” bottlenecking all of the decisions here. (And if you want to learn more about the brilliant government we employ, click here).
But it suffices to say: Trustees run the finances & business planning here. Overseers are “outside senior pastors” who will help us during crisis or church discipline. And Elders are basically a team of “lay-pastors” who help the staff and me shepherd the flock at Substance.
So what do “Substance Elders” do? Specifically, they meet with the staff to talk about questions like: “How can we mentor people better?” Or, “What would be some good topics to preach on?” Our elders help with small groups. They counsel with people. They pray for the sick. They license our pastoral staff. And lastly, they make sure I’m not preaching cultic things that are contrary to our statement of faith! So ideally, an elder is a person who has great maturity – someone you’d go to for help, prayer or spiritual advice.
According to 1 Timothy 3:2ff, the Bible says that elders should be a person who’s “beyond reproach.” I.e., They aren’t perfect; yet, people just don’t have anything bad to say about them. Specifically, they are sexually disciplined (vs. 2), self-controlled, have a great reputation, (vs.2)… They must love having guests in their home, able to teach sound doctrine. They’re peace-loving, and not addicted to things, including alcohol or money (vs. 3). And they manage their money and their families well (vs. 4).
To put this another way, who are the people you would trust to truly know and follow the Lord? Does anyone come to mind? Who would you go to for Biblical advice? …marital advice? …parenting advice, Etc.
Keep in mind, according to Substance’s definition of an elder, we allow anyone over 18 to be nominated (male or female, married or single). But you only get to nominate one person. Keep in mind, if they’re married, the spouse is automatically nominated (so, don’t nominate someone who has a crazy spouse : )
Ultimately, once we tally up the numbers, the staff and I will vet the top candidates, confirm the nomination (I.e., approve them). And once confirmed, we will commission them to the people in a future service. It’s awesome!
So thanks for voting! Yours prayers and insights will change eternity forever!