Notes for church members – July 2023

  1. The Bible expects each local church to be cared for by:
    • a plurality (Acts 14:23; Phil 1:1; 1 Tim 4:14; Titus 1:5; James 5:14)
    • of carefully chosen (1 Tim 3:10, 5:22)
    • godly men (1 Tim 3:1-7; Titus 1:6-9)
    • interchangeably called elders and overseers (Acts 20:17, 28; Titus 1:5-7; 1 Pet 5:1-2)
  2. Their role is to lead, rule, shepherd, care for and equip the flock (Eph 4:11-16; 1 Tim 5:17; Heb 13:17; 1 Pet 5:2) by teaching the Bible (Eph 4:11; 1 Tim 3:2, 5:17; Titus 1:9).
  3. The Bible does not specify how many elders (and deacons) any church should have – allowing us to make a wise choice which reflects our specific circumstances and needs.
  4. We currently have 5 elders. We commissioned Stu Jessop early in 2021. We commissioned Ash Cunningham as our only staff-elder in October 2022, just before John Martin stepped down as our pastor. Sam Freedman was commissioned in 3 years ago, and Andy Gianelli and Ethan Macleod have been elders for (a little over) 4 years.
  5. After serving as elders for several years, it is right and fair to allow Stu, Sam, Andy and Ethan to review whether they wish to stand back from (or adjust) their responsibilities.
  6. There is also a recognition that the number of elders overall needs to be increased (though we are not prescribing the extent of this expansion at this stage). This is due to:
    • numerical growth over the past year (praise God) which brings extra pastoral care responsibilities
    • the additional responsibilities involved in appointing a new pastor
    • a need to allow Chris Cowen (church treasurer and trustee) to step down after faithfully serving in this role since the church began meeting. When John left, Chris graciously extended his tenure last year, despite having started the process of stepping down. Stu Jessop will take over the treasurer role later this year, whilst remaining an elder. We will re-distribute some of this responsibilities amongst other elders.
  7. The Bible shows that church members were consulted and involved in important decisions (e.g. Matt 18:15-20; Acts 6:1-7; 1 Cor 5:1-5; 2 Cor 2:6), and so we wish to repeat the process used to appoint the first elders, using the following as a proposed timescale:
    • Weighing up the requirements to be an elder (1 Tim 3; Titus 1) and the commitment necessary to serve, we invite recommendations/volunteers from the church (to [email protected], or us individually, or via Grace Group leaders) over the next 2 weeks.
    • The existing elders will review the recommendations (against the biblical criteria and the availability of individuals to make the commitment required).
    • Names of any men who emerge as suitable will be communicated in September.
    • After a further 2 weeks for comment from the church family on these names (again, to [email protected], or us individually, or via Grace Group leaders), any emergent candidates will be recommended to church and commissioned in October.

If this process or timescale needs to change, the elders will communicate this to the church family.