Harvest is committed to the Bible’s teaching on leadership found in 1 Timothy 3:1-16 and Titus 1:5-9.
PLURALITY OF LEADERSHIP
The Scriptures teach that a plurality of elders governed individual New Testament churches (Acts 14:23; Acts 20:28; Titus 1:5; Philippians 1:1). The Scripture does not mention any congregations featuring a stand-alone pastor and leader. A plurality of godly elders, exercising their individual gifts, squares with the Scripture’s teaching that wisdom is found in a multitude of godly counselors (Proverbs 11:4; Proverbs 12:15; Proverbs 15:22; Proverbs 19:20; Proverbs 24:6). This truth does not eliminate the possibility and likelihood that one or more elders will stand out from the others as more public in their ministries or more influential in their workings on the elder board.
The senior pastor automatically serves as an elder and, because of his public presence and responsibility before the congregation, may be considered “first among equals” as a member of the elder board. The senior pastor should be gifted primarily as a preacher, teacher and leader.
Men who are above reproach, able to instruct in sound doctrine, husband to one wife, not addicted to alcohol, self-controlled, disciplined, peaceful, free from the love of money, hospitable, successful managers of their own households, and a mature believer (Titus 1:6-9).
Although there are three terms used for the offices of the church, i.e. bishop, elder and deacon, analysis of these terms indicates that bishop and elder are used interchangeably.
Elders serve by leading. They oversee the spiritual health of the congregation. All Elders are equal in authority but not necessarily equal in influence.
Elders ensure that the doctrine of the church is biblical. All doctrinal issues in the church will be settled by the board of elders.
Elders ensure that the direction of the church is consistent with the Harvest Bible Chapel statement of purpose and our four pillars of doctrine.
Elders administer in love and humility the process of church discipline as outlined in Matthew 18:15-20; Galatians 6:1-4; Titus 3:10; 2 Thessalonians 3:14-15; 1 Timothy 5:17-25; 1 Corinthians 5; 2 Corinthians 2:5-11 and Romans 16:17.
The Bible teaches that deacons lead by serving (Acts 6). The qualifications for elders and deacons are the same regarding an individual’s character, but they differ in aptitude. The elders are to be “able to teach” while the deacons are to be “able and proved as servants.”
Deacons are to be individuals of dignity, above reproach, honest, proven servants, sober, faithful, self-controlled, and succesful managers of their own households (1 Timothy 3:8-12).