Elders

"Paul and Barnabas appointed elders for them in each church and, with prayer and fasting, committed them to the Lord, in whom they had put their trust." -Acts 14:23

"The elders who direct the affairs of the church well are worthy of double honor, especially those whose work is preaching and teaching." -1 Timothy 5:17

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Elders

RCS Church Polity

Restoration Church of Sanford is Elder ran and Congregationally ruled. 

How do elders relate to the authority of the congregation?

  1. Elders are installed and removed by the will of the congregation. Even though they should have considerable authority over the congregation, they are finally accountable to the congregation and their continuance in office depends on the consent of the congregation.

  2. A congregation should trust and follow their elders in matters of Christian discipleship. The New Testament commands church members to obey and submit to those in authority over them (Heb. 13:17, 1 Thess. 5:12).

  3. Elders have the “authority of counsel,” to use an old phrase. That is, they lead the congregation by teaching the Word. Their authority is ministerial and declarative. They teach the Word of God and so authoritatively instruct and lead the people. Their authority depends on their faithful teaching of Scripture and obedience to Scripture as they lead the church.

  4. Congregations have the “authority of command.” That is, the elders’ authority is finally advisory in matters of membership, discipline, and even doctrine. They cannot effectually unite Christians to the church, or discipline them from it. They cannot give themselves office. The elders teach, but the church is ultimately accountable to God for what they believe and who they listen to (Gal. 1:6-9). The elders oversee people’s lives and lead the church in dealing with sin, but the congregation finally decides whom to accept into membership and whom to exclude (Matt. 18:17; 1 Cor. 5:12). While the church recognizes its elders precisely so that they can lead them by teaching the Word to them and watching over their lives, God holds the church finally accountable for its membership, discipline, and doctrine.

 

(9 Marks Resource)

We believe that the scripture teaches that the local Church should be governed by a plurality of elders.

 

What are the advantages of having a plurality of elders?  

  1. Biblical accountability. Godly fellow elders are a great means for holding the pastor accountable to live, teach, and lead faithfully. In addition, sharing authority among a number of men can keep one man from wrongly lording it over the congregation

  2. Wisdom. There is more wisdom to be found in a multitude of counselors (Prov. 11:14; 24:6).

  3. Balance. No one man has all the gifts that are necessary to build up the church. Having a plurality of elders serves the church by bringing men with different gifts into the church’s leadership who can complement the pastor’s strengths.

  4. Burden sharing. Caring for the whole church is a burden God does not intend one man to bear alone. Even the most faithful, gifted pastor needs help from other godly men in order to pay careful attention to himself and to all the flock (Acts 20:28).

  5. Sets an example for the church. Having a plurality of elders demonstrates that the work of ministry is not reserved for a select few. Rather, it provides an example of maturity for every man, particularly when some of the elders are men who work ordinary jobs and are not paid by the church.

(9 Marks Resource)