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First Church of Christ in Wethersfield

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  1. First Church of Christ in Wethersfield Elder Governance Informational Meeting November 2012

  2. Summary • An Elder Model of governance is Biblical and consistent with the Congregational Way • The Church Board, Deacons, and Pastoral Staff recommend that FCC be returned to the original Elder model (as prior to UCC) • FCC Congregational approval is required

  3. Bylaws require updating; omissions, unclear and outdated • Bylaws make no allowance for issues regarding doctrine, direction, and conflict resolution • Bylaws assume affiliation with UCC • Consistency with FCC size • Elders reflect biblical mandate • Elders brings us back to FCC governance history • Current board responsibilities & size require exceptional gifting that is difficult to fill and replace every 2 – 4 years Why Return to Elders?

  4. Bible Provides Direction* Elders (direction, doctrine, conflict resolution): • Biblical character, care for church (1 Timothy 3:1-7, Titus 1:5-9) • A believer, not a brand new believer (1 Timothy 3:6) • Able to direct the affairs of the church (1 Timothy 5:17) • Holds firmly to sound doctrine ( 1 Timothy 3:2, Titus 1:9) • Care and protect the flock (Acts 20:17-18, 28-31, 1 Peter 5:1-4) Deacons (directed, serving): • Biblical character (1 Timothy 3:8-13) • Able and willing to serve (1 Timothy 3:10, Acts 6:2-3) • Believers, full of the Spirit and wisdom (1 Timothy 3:9, Acts 6:1-4)

  5. Accountability Structure

  6. Comparison: Members Current Board: 14 Members: • President • Senior minister • Chairman of Department of Worship (Deacons) • Chairman of Department of Education • Chairman of Department of Research and Long Range Planning • Chairman of Department of Inreach • Chairman of Department of Outreach • Chairman of Department of Finance & Property • Chairman of Department of Communication • Chairman of Personnel Committee • Four members at large Elder Board: 7 Members: • Six Elders • Senior minister • One of the six elders will be chairman

  7. Comparison: Responsibilities Elder Board: Board responsibilities and activities (Direction, Doctrine, Conflict resolution) • Discuss and decide on important issues • Review and approve the financial budget • Develop the vision and mission • Implement the vision and mission (direction) • Help bring reconciliation to members in conflict and resolution to issues facing the congregation • Review and address concerns and needs of the congregation • Ensure that the doctrine and practices of the church remain biblical • Maintenance and revision of Bylaws • Responsible for church membership Current Board: Collectively, the board meets to: • Discuss and decide on important issues • Review and approve the financial budget • Review and approve changes to the vision and mission • However, most board members do not function as chairpersons of their respective departments

  8. Comparison: Characteristics Elder Board: • Strong Biblical Support • Allows people gifted in leadership to be leaders of the church • Allows people gifted in ministry to pursue ministry without additional responsibility • Limits turnover • Supports decision making in areas of direction, doctrine, and conflict resolution • Term: 3+3+1; Emeritus • Consolidated leadership authority • Stringent Biblical Character requirements Current Board: • Familiar • Strong committee representation • Scheduled turnover • Larger membership • No church leadership gifting requirement • Structure doesn’t easily support decision making in doctrine, direction or conflict resolution

  9. Elder Installation Initial Elder Selection will be done by a search committee, similar to a Senior Minister search. After initial membership is established, the elders will suggest future elder appointments, as they know best what the position requires. The congregation participates via suggested nominations and congregational vote. Each potential elder is voted on individually by the congregation. The Elders report to the congregation. Any elder can be removed by congregational vote. Accountability and discipline within the board of elders will be consistent with Matthew 18:15-20, 1 Corinthians 5:1-6:11, Galatians 6:1-2, 1Timothy 5:19-22 First Church of Christ Elder Notes

  10. Summary • A Elder Model… • Is Biblical • Is consistent with the Congregational Way • Is character and gifting based. • Provides more stable leadership. • Streamlines process and allows people to better serve Christ in the church and community. •

  11. Reference

  12. * Scripture References 1 Timothy 3:1-7: The saying is trustworthy: If anyone aspires to the office of overseer, he desires a noble task. 2Therefore an overseer must be above reproach, the husband of one wife, sober-minded, self-controlled, respectable, hospitable, able to teach, 3not a drunkard, not violent but gentle, not quarrelsome, not a lover of money. 4He must manage his own household well, with all dignity keeping his children submissive, 5for if someone does not know how to manage his own household, how will he care for God’s church? 6He must not be a recent convert, or he may become puffed up with conceit and fall into the condemnation of the devil. 7Moreover, he must be well thought of by outsiders, so that he may not fall into disgrace, into a snare of the devil. Titus 1:5-9 This is why I left you in Crete, so that you might put what remained into order, and appoint elders in every town as I directed you— 6 if anyone is above reproach, the husband of one wife, and his children are believers and not open to the charge of debauchery or insubordination. 7For an overseer, as God’s steward, must be above reproach. He must not be arrogant or quick-tempered or a drunkard or violent or greedy for gain, 8but hospitable, a lover of good, self-controlled, upright, holy, and disciplined. 9He must hold firm to the trustworthy word as taught, so that he may be able to give instruction in sound doctrine and also to rebuke those who contradict it. First Church of Christ Elder Notes

  13. * Scripture References 7/16/2014 First Church of Christ Elder Notes 13 Acts 20:17-18, 28-31 17Now from Miletus he (Paul) sent to Ephesus and called the elders of the church to come to him. 18And when they came to him, he said to them: 28 Pay careful attention to yourselves and to all the flock, in which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to care for the church of God, which he obtained with his own blood. 29I know that after my departure fierce wolves will come in among you, not sparing the flock; 30and from among your own selves will arise men speaking twisted things, to draw away the disciples after them. 31Therefore be alert, remembering that for three years I did not cease night or day to admonish everyone with tears. 1 Peter 5:1-4 1So I exhort the elders among you, as a fellow elder and a witness of the sufferings of Christ, as well as a partaker in the glory that is going to be revealed: 2 shepherd the flock of God that is among you, exercising oversight, not under compulsion, but willingly, as God would have you; not for shameful gain, but eagerly; 3not domineering over those in your charge, but being examples to the flock. 4And when the chief Shepherd appears, you will receive the unfading crown of glory.

  14. Baptisms • Caring Ministries Involvement • Deacon Emeriti Communication and Contact Updates • Communion & Extended Communion • Deacon-in-the-Box • Deacon Manual Updates • Funerals/Memorial Services • Good Samaritan Fund Committee • New Member Interviews (may share this with Elders) • New Member Commitment Team • Church Growth Team • Reviews membership rosters (may share this with Elders) • Notes for Pastor Coordinator • Participation in Worship Services • Secretary for Deacons Meetings • Special Projects Team • Special Service Coordinators • Ushering for Christmas Eve and Easter • Wednesday Night Services (Advent and Lent) Deacons Will Continue All Activities Defined in July 2011 Overview

  15. Process Notes on Initial Elder Selection Process Elder subcommittee to develop nomination form. Congregation to nominate members based on biblical description of elders. Elder nominating committee is trained on qualifications of elders. Elder nominating committee identifies candidates using nominations from congregation and leadership. Elder nominating committee to interview candidates. Upon approval and recommendation of elder nominating committee individual candidates names will be made available to the congregation. Congregation will have one month to reflect and pray on the candidates. Individual candidates to introduce themselves and give testimony at Congregational Meeting. Congregational vote of individual candidates. Elder Board assumes nomination responsibilities for future elders. First Church of Christ Elder Notes