About Us (Part I)
For the next several weeks, this space will be devoted to a discussion of the role of an elder in the church. Until recently, many of us have lived our lives in churches where no one had the title of 'elder'. The function of the elders was very likely present, but often went by different names. In some cases the role of elder was carried out by the deacon body in addition to their other duties. In many cases, it was the pastor who shouldered the burden alone. And in other congregations, it may have been a mix of the two or even some other arrangement of clergy and lay members. For those who may be new to our number and have not had exposure to such an arrangement of church government, and for those others who would like to know more about what it means to have elders and be an elder, several articles will be presented here to bring you up to speed. The annual elections for elders are coming in April. As a booster shot of knowledge on the subject, in addition to articles like this, there will be in February a one-time Sunday morning study next month during the Bible class hour for all adults and teenagers to go even deeper into elder definitions, qualities and activities.
First, scripture does not aid us in some of the fine points of this role, but fortunately has much to say on the meat of the matter. However, before getting into the meat, a review of our church policy will cover those finer points and show how the elder body has been determined by and implemented in our congregation. This year, two of our current elders will reach the end of their three year term. The elders who are ending their terms this year are Hollis Bagley and Wayne Eads. In addition to reconsidering these two for a second term, nominations for new/additional elders can be submitted by the congregation in March. The ballots for the April elections will contain the names of those men whom the elders prayerfully discern to put forward to the congregation. Those men receiving greater than 75% 'Yes' votes will be selected for the coming year. After serving only one term, an elder may be renominated and serve for a second three year term. After a second consecutive term, that elder is asked to take a hiatus of at least one year so as not to overburden the men who serve the church in this role. Finally, the preacher, the 'pastor' is also counted as an elder (more on this later), but he is not subject to the two term limit or hiatus.
With the Southside-specific details behind us, next week we will crack open the scriptures to see elders in action throughout both Old and New Testaments. Please be in prayer for our church and for the men that will be selected to lead the church in the coming year. If you have any questions about the elections or anything else, ask an elder. We can all be reached at once through the email address firstname.lastname@example.org. We welcome your input.