High Pointe Statement on Elder Nominations

“The saying is trustworthy: If anyone aspires to the office of overseer, he desires a noble task.  Therefore, an overseer must be above reproach, . . .” (1 Timothy 3:1-2, ESV).

According to our confession of faith (the 1853 New Hampshire Confession, Article XIII), we, High Pointe, confess together that the only officers of a gospel church “are elders (also called pastors) and deacons, whose qualifications, claims, and duties are defined in the Epistles to Timothy and Titus.”

Our constitution and by-laws explain how we, as a church, understand the role of such officers and carry out their election. Concerning elders, as noted in Article V, section 2, we agree that “subject to the will of the congregation, the elders shall oversee the ministry and resources of the church. In keeping with the principles outlined in Acts 6:1-7 and 1 Peter 5:1-4, the elders shall devote their time to prayer, the ministry of the word (by teaching and encouraging sound doctrine), and shepherding God’s flock.’

Further, “the church shall recognize men gifted and willing to serve in this calling, nominated to a three-year term by the body of elders, and affirmed by the congregation according to the constitutional provisions on elections. These men shall be received as a gift of Christ to His church and set apart as elders. After an elder, other than the preaching pastor or staff elder(s), has served two consecutive three-year terms, he may only be elected to the office of elder after a sabbatical of at least one year.”

Our constitutional provisions on elections (Article VII, section 2) state that “the election of officers shall be held at a members’ meeting of the church. Names of nominees to serve as elders or deacons shall be presented publicly to the congregation for at least two weeks before the election, and the election shall proceed as directed by the moderator.” It is our practice to present elder candidates (nominees) at a members’ meeting, then have a vote on affirmation at a following members’ meeting. Typically, that is two months.

Our next members’ meeting will be this Sunday, August 23, at 5:00 p.m. Since we are returning to a regular members’ meeting schedule, we will not offer a live stream during the members’ meeting. If you are unable to attend physically, please be in prayer for High Pointe and our ministry during that 5:00 p.m. hour. By way of reminder, here is how you may participate in the elder nomination process.

What is the role of the congregation in this process?  
The elders are always open to receiving recommendations from the congregation regarding men whom you believe to be qualified for the office of elder. Whom should the church consider as qualified candidates for this church office? The biblical answer is faithful men who can teach others also (2 Timothy 2:2). Why men? The Bible is not against women, but the Lord has established a pattern of relationship between the man and the woman in marriage where the man leads, and the woman follows (Genesis 2:18-25). In God’s wisdom, he desires that this pattern also be reflected in the church. Therefore, we believe only men are to be pastors/elders – not just any men but qualified men (1 Timothy 2:9-15).

Therefore, as you consider men as candidates for pastor/elder at High Pointe, consider these four “C”s:
  • Character: Men of godly character, as outlined in 1 Timothy 3:1-14; Titus 1:5-16. The basis character quality of a godly man is ‘above reproach.’ To be above reproach means that when (not if) accusations come against an elder, they do not stick because that man is not characterized by the thing(s) of which he is being accused. Paul highlights several areas in which an elder must be above reproach:

Above reproach in his character: the elder, though not expected to be perfect, must be a man who pursues holiness and is characterized by fighting sin: “sober-minded, self-controlled, respectable, hospitable, . . . not a drunkard, not violent but gentle, not quarrelsome, not a lover of money (1 Tim. 3:2-3).

Above reproach in his family life: the elder must be a man who has first displayed maturity in shepherding his household well. He must be faithful to his wife, not neglecting her but loving her and caring for her; he must be faithful in his parenting, disciplining his children. If someone cannot manage his own house, how will he be able to manage God’s house (1 Tim. 3:4-5)?
Above reproach in his public life: the elder must also be well thought of by outsiders, a man of good reputation (1 Tim. 3:7). How will an elder lead if he does not have a reputable name?

  • Conviction: An elder must also be a man of biblical conviction and above reproach in his doctrinal life. He must be a mature and maturing believer (not a new convert). “He must hold firm to the trustworthy word as taught, so that he may be able to instruct in sound doctrine and also to rebuke those who contradict it.” And he must be able to apply God’s word to various situations in discipleship, counseling, even rebuke when necessary.

  • Care: The word “pastor” indicates feeding, protecting, caring for a flock. Pastors or elders, then, are called to “shepherd the flock of God that is among you” with love and compassion, leading by example (1 Peter 5:1-4). Here are some things that show evidence of a man’s care for the flock: They are with the flock when we gather on the Lord's Day (am/pm); they are with us when we publicly care for one another in our members' meetings; they care by displaying deeds of love for other members (prayer for members, visitation of the sick or shut-in, practicing hospitality with other members of High Pointe; they care for other brothers by engaging in discipling relationships, and they care for unbelievers by sharing the gospel regularly.

  • Competent: While Scripture emphasizes character over competency, the elder must be a man who is "able to teach" (1 Timothy 3:2). He must be able to not only teach God's people God's word, but he must also be able to refute opponents of the gospel with kindness and patience so that the Lord may grant even these gospel enemies repentance (2 Timothy 2:24-26).

  • These four “C”s observed over time produce credibility (1 Timothy 5:22). At High Pointe, the elders utilize the following leadership formula when observing men at High Pointe:
                     C (character) + C (conviction) + C (care) +C (competency) = Credibility
                                                                          T (time) 
       

Article VII, section 2 of our constitution states, "Any member with reason to believe that a nominated candidate is unqualified for an office should express such concern to the elders.  Members intending to speak in opposition to a candidate should express their objection to the elders as far in advance as possible before the relevant church members' meeting."

Finally, the congregation has the responsibility to affirm its leadership.  “The moderator shall declare elected all individuals receiving a two-thirds majority of all votes cast. . . of the members present and eligible to vote” (article VII, section 2).

Official Nominations and Affirmations on August 23, 2020
In accordance with both our statement of faith, our constitution, and by-laws, the elders will nominate Otis Fields, John Thompson, and Jonathan Oskins as elder-candidates for your consideration. Though you have been observing these brothers for some time now, you will have two months to ask them questions or raise any questions or concerns you may have about their potential service as elders.

As Bishop J. C Ryle said, “The best of men are men at their best.” So, please pray for all the elders. Pray that we would be at our best – saturated with the word and filled with the Holy Spirit. And please pray for Otis, John, and Jonathan (and their families). Consider their lives to see if they meet the qualifications of an elder. If you have questions or concerns, please feel free to address them with one of the elders. If you have a personal issue with a candidate, then Scripture commands you address such matters directly with the individual.

On behalf of the elders, let me say that it is a great joy to shepherd High Pointe. You are a wonderful congregation and spiritually responsive to our leadership. For some time now, we've been praying that the Lord would raise up more men to be elders/pastors at High Pointe. We've especially been praying that God would raise older men to be elders. We thank God for answering our prayers. As the Lord continues to grow our number, we will need more and more men to shepherd the flock of God among us. So, keep praying that the Lord will build up more men like our present elders to shepherd High Pointe into the presence of Christ.

Love,

Pastor Juan

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