We are entering a prayerful time of discernment as our elder selection process begins for 2017. Our church has also existed as an Elder-guarded and Elder-guided church. Practically, this means that our elders do the following:
- Guard the mission, vision, doctrine, unity, and resources of the church.
- Serve as shepherds/overseers guarding our members through care, prayer, and discipleship.
- Chart the strategic trajectory of our church through their collective discernment, prayers for wisdom, and consensus-based decision-making.
At Rock Bridge, we have two subsets of elders: directional elders and campus/congregational elders. All of our elders serve at a local campus where they act as shepherds and discerners. Some of those elders then also serve as directional elders where they help guide the comprehensive, multi-campus direction of RBCC.
On a personal note, I thank God over and over for the plurality of eldership we find in the New Testament. God has repeatedly throughout our history protected our church through the wise counsel and Spirit-given discernment from our elders. By God’s grace, we have never had a “power play” or “political move” from any of our elders. Our elders have given me coaching, accountability, and encouragement. They have led us through building campaigns, cases of church discipline, and intense periods of outreach and expansion. They have put the brakes on at times and called us to pray. They have pressed the accelerator at times and moved us to seize God-given opportunities. Through all of this, they have operated in humility, unity, and passion for God’s glory and His church at Rock Bridge.
How are elders chosen?
First, elders must have been a member of our church for at least one year. Elders are also expected to tithe and be involved in the ministry of the church. Elders are not expected to be “perfect,” but should be actively demonstrating the characteristics and virtues found in I Timothy 3:1-7 and Titus 1:5-9.
Potential elder candidates are first considered confidentially through prayer and private conversations. Next, they are approached to see if God has given them to desire to serve as an elder (see I Timothy 3:1). They are asked a series of questions about their conversion, Christian lifestyle and witness, understanding and ownership of the Rock Bridge vision, support of our belief statement, and financial stewardship.
As these areas continue to affirm the Elder candidate’s call to this role, we present names to the church for prayer. For a period of two weeks, we ask our membership to pray. If a member has a question or concern about a candidate, they are asked to share that privately with a pastor or elder. Any concerns will be addressed and either resolved or cause the candidate to be no longer considered.
Finally, the elder is then affirmed by the current elders to serve a three-year term.
If you would like to suggest someone for consideration, first pray and ponder I Timothy 3:1-7 and Titus 1:5-9. Then you may email firstname.lastname@example.org.