The Scriptures teach that God has ordered His church to be led by a team of elders. (Acts 14, 20, 1 Timothy 3, Titus 1, 1 Peter 5) The elders/pastors lead the church to carry out her mission in the world, preach/teach the Scripture, care for the church family and protect them from error. They are accountable to God for the way in which they serve and should be men of such integrity and faith that when the church follows them, she will grow in spiritual maturity and be healthier for it.
In line with our Bylaws, we have established a 3-Stage process by which we discover, develop and deploy men to serve as Elders. Once a year we accept nominations from the membership for this role. Nominations may be submitted during a designated two-week period each January.
The Process – Discover, Develop, Deploy
- Discovery is the initial nomination and qualification stage. The congregation will nominate men for consideration, and they will be given the opportunity to accept or decline their nomination. If they accept, nominees will work through two qualifying steps, including the completion of a comprehensive application by both husband and wife which includes references and a background check. Following a personal interview, if the process continues, the nominees will be announced to the church as members of the Elder Development Cohort.
- The Elder Development Cohort will meet twice per month for 90 minutes beginning in April and ending in October. Attendance and completion of assignments will be in line with the expectations and understanding of the role of an Elder in the church. Cohort participants will read, discuss and apply content in three areas: Scriptural Foundations, Pastoral Leadership, and Practical Shepherding. Upon completion of the cohort, there will be a final interview of the husband and wife with the Elder Team. If the process continues, the Cohort member becomes and Elder Candidate.
- Elder Candidates will be announced to the congregation and given opportunity to share their story of calling and testimony of faith in Christ. They will be available to members for questions or concerns. The congregation will affirm Elder Candidates during the Family Meeting in December. If they are affirmed, Elder Candidates become Elders upon their installation in January. And the process starts over.
Deferment: If a man is unable to continue the process due to life circumstances, he may defer for up to one year. If he is unable to move forward in a year, he will need to be renominated and start the process over.
Drop: If a man requests to be dropped from the process or is dropped by the Elder Team for cause, he will need to be renominated and start the process over as well as provide evidence that the reason for the drop has been scripturally resolved.
Nominations/Qualifications for Eldership
Elders are men who meet the qualifications enumerated in the following scriptures: 1 Timothy 3:1-7 and Titus 1:5-9. Particularly, Elders should be men who are able to teach the scriptures. To qualify, they must be members in good standing of Foothills Baptist Church.
Qualifications to consider
Should I nominate a particular man to be an elder at Foothills? Should I accept a nomination to be considered as an elder at Foothills? The following guidelines, though not the final word on the matter, may help as you consider these questions.
Five categories of qualifications
- Calling: Calling is both inward and outward. A man should desire to serve and be recognized by others as possessing the gifts and graces necessary for the task.
- Character: Though none of us are perfect, a potential Elder must be exemplary, modeling in a consistent way the character of Christ. 1 Timothy 3 and Titus 1:5-9 offer a useful summary of the character qualifications.
- Competency: Potential Elders should give evidence of the inclination and ability to fulfill that particular biblical role.
- A potential Elder should be actively equipping and caring for people spiritually.
- They should know their way around the Bible, able to teach and apply it correctly, and convincingly.
- They should be eager to and consistently sharing the gospel with non-Christians.
- They should be eager to consistently pray with people in need.
- They should be good managers and lead others well.
- Compatibility: Potential Elders must understand and fit into the vision and mission of Foothills, and with the current team of Elders.
- Comprehension: Potential Elders need to understand and accept Foothill’s convictions about theology and church government. This involves a commitment to the Bible’s authority, to Baptist church governance, the Baptist Faith and Message 2000, and any current Elder Team white papers.