A Biblical Model of Leadership
Like many Protestant Evangelical congregations, Grace Church of DuPage is overseen by Elders and served by Deacons. But unlike many such congregations, we have labored to define these roles according to Scripture. Several passages in the Bible inform the office and operation of Elders and Deacons, including their character qualifications (1 Timothy 3:1-13; Titus 1:5-9), their responsibilities in the body (1 Peter 5:1-4; Acts 20:28), and the nature of the authority they wield (Hebrews 13:17) as gifted and called servants of God and His church (Ephesians 4:11-16).
Servants & Stewards
In 1 Corinthians 4:1-2 Paul speaks of church leaders as “servants” and “stewards.” Both words emphasize that our leaders are working on behalf of—or, perhaps better, under the authority of—another. The compound Greek word behind “servants” literally means “under-rowers,” calling to mind the team of men that moved ships with oars in pre-industrial times. They work together in almost synonymous harmony to achieve a purpose—the shepherding and teaching of God’s people—which no one of them could have accomplished on his own. A “steward” is one who has been entrusted with the care of someone else’s property. Church leaders, according to Paul, are “stewards of the mysteries of God,” the wide-ranging truths of the gospel that can be known only because God in His grace as revealed them.
In essence, this is how we perceive our leaders at Grace Church: servants of God, and stewards on our behalf of the mysteries of God. And we describe our responsibility using the words of the writer of Hebrews:
Obey your leaders and submit to them, for they are keeping watch over your souls, as those who will have to give an account. Let them do this with joy and not with groaning, for that would be of no advantage to you
Elders are responsible for the shepherding and the spiritual oversight of the body. This begins with the priorities of Elders as outlined in Acts 20:28-35.
The Deacons shall consist of Grace Church members possessing the qualifications described in 1 Timothy 3:8-13. They shall be servants to the Church as they assist the Elders in the ministry of service to the Church body, which may include the overall responsibility for the general physical care of the Church facilities; for the Sunday School administrative duties; for the day to day financial oversight; and for any other duties as may be assigned to them by the Elders, from time to time.
For some larger ministries, the Elders have determined that it is necessary for the shepherding and oversight of that ministry to be done by a full-time pastoral staff member. The Elders have searched for biblically qualified and gifted men to fill these roles.