Sunday Gatherings @ 9:00a & 10:45San Rafael, CA
There are various forms of church government in use today. With so many of them varying greatly, discerning how the church should be governed can prove difficult. There are three models being the most common:
Anthem Church adheres to the elder-led model for a number of reasons. First of all, we believe it most closely follows the New Testament pattern for church leadership. Scripture throughout the Epistles contains instructions about this form of leadership. Second, a plurality of elders helps protect against heresy, false teaching, pride and the unqualified. Finally, since different elders have different gifts, a wide range of ideas and wise counsel are brought into each discussion. The qualifications for elders are found in (1 Timothy 3:1-7) and (Titus 1:5-16). We have a very thorough and public process for elder selection.
The responsibilities of elders are spelled out all through scripture, including the often-used metaphor of a shepherd. The apostle Paul exhorted the elders to “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” (Acts 20:28) and Peter said, “shepherd the flock of God that is among you, exercising oversight, not under compulsion, but willingly, as God would have you” (1 Peter 5:2). A study of the role of shepherds in the Bible (see Ezekiel 34:1-24 and Psalms 23:1-6) reveals a lengthy list of responsibilities which can be summed up as leading the flock, providing oversight and direction, caring for and feeding them, guarding them from going astray, protecting from savage wolves (false teachers), seeking the lost, and helping the weak. Other responsibilities include that of directing the affairs of the church (1 Tim. 5:17), determining church policy (Acts 15:22), preaching and teaching (1 Tim. 5:17), praying for the sick (James 5:14), and given to prayer and the ministry of the Word (Acts 6:3).
Except for these broad parameters of shepherding the flock and providing oversight, much flexibility is used by various churches regarding their organizational structure. At Anthem Church, the elders determine direction and vision, but the day-to-day responsibility for carrying out those decisions is given to the staff and deacons, under the authority of the elders. Exceptions to this exist when the scriptures mandate a responsibility to the elders.
At Anthem Church, all elders are equal. One person is selected as a moderator, but that is primarily to plan the agenda and facilitate meetings. Some elders may appear more prominent than others, but that is a function of giftedness rather than position. The responsibility of being an elder is a very serious matter. It is God’s work that we are doing (Titus 1:7), not ours, and we will have to give an account to God for the way we lead (Hebrews 13:17).