Developing Our Elder Ministry

From the very beginning of Grace Church, many “unofficial” elders and deacons have helped to provide leadership, since our founding pastor was working two, sometimes three jobs to provide for his family. We called these volunteers 'ministry leaders', or sometimes they had no official title. Through their service and their natural influence and giftedness, they provided “eldering” and “deaconing” in various areas of ministry.

In 2008 Grace Church began the process of thinking through and developing a more “official” Elder ministry. In the beginning of 2011, our pastor sent out a letter inviting people to consider participating in this process. We hoped to end up with a number of individuals who could serve the church as Elders. To read that letter, click here

Those who responded went through a very deliberate process of learning what the Scriptures say about being an Elder or Deacon, and participated in a number of activities to begin to develop friendships as a group. As this process continued, various ones decided not to continue for one or more of a number of good reasons (e.g., time; they couldn’t complete the readings and other assignments; after studying the scriptural qualifications, decided they weren’t elder or deacon "material” (an actual quote); or their season of life was not conducive to being an elder/deacon ministry at this time, etc.). In the end, this process yielded the individuals who are served as our first Elders.

For the Biblical Vision of what elders and deacons are, click here.

We still have many servant-leaders who are not official 'elders,' but still give a great deal of time and effort to ministries in which they serve. We hope and believe this will never change. Its important to note that “Official” Elders are not “over” anybody. In fact, sometimes someone who is not an Elder is leading a ministry team on which an official Elder serves! Elders, like everybody else, are first and foremost called to serve ('deacon') the Body in consistent ministry service, as well as being called to serve by prayerfully interacting with and providing scripturally sound direction and oversight to the entire Body.  

In time, as the newly established Elder ministry develops and matures, the members will be able to provide a more insightful and effective sense of direction for Grace Church. Some of the Elders may meld into the overall ministry of the Pastors and staff of the church, while others will increase their influence, wisdom, and oversight of the Body. The Pastors and staff will provide the primary leadership and direction for the Body and will lead and shepherd other Elders toward what they prayerfully consider to be their roles in the church.

Prospective Elders/Deacons

Below you will find much of the material which the current Elders/Deacons have worked through. While I know we are all leading full lives, perhaps you will carve out some time that you enjoy doing other things and 'recreate' with what's below; treasure it as you would something that's very special between you and God...  think/dream/process through one of the things that is truly precious to God: His Church. Grappling with the material below will do the necessary 'spade-work' for the ministry of Elders/Deacons, and the church they serve, to grow into something beautiful, fruitful, and powerful for God's glory! May the Lord bless you and your family and those you are ministering with and among. 

Pre-Work Articles (read these first):

REVEAL : Where Are You

Spiritual Formation as a Natural Part of Salvation

Complete each assignment and please email a copy of your completed work to Jason Tubbs or make a photocopy of your work and leave it in a file for Jason located at the base of the office level stairwell.  

Once you have completed the current series, Jason will provide you with the next.

Series 1 Materials

Handout 1.1 :: Solitude Exercise

Handout 1.2 :: Spiritual Growth Framework

Handout 1.3 :: Key Catalysts

Handout 1.4 :: Framework Assessment

If you have questions or comments, or are interested in becoming an elder or deacon, please email Jason Tubbs.

What about women as elders/deacons?

While we are aware that other biblical, God-honoring ministries hold different views on whether or not women should biblically hold the office of Elder or Deacon, we have taken the position that 1 Timothy 3:1-13 and Titus 1:5-9 seem to put forth: the office of Elder and Deacon are positions reserved for men. However, Romans 16:1-2 refers to Phoebe, a servant, or some would say, a “deaconess” of the church at Cenchreae. As a result of this passage and since there is certainly room for the interpretation that women "deaconesses" are also being referred to in 1 Timothy 3, in the coming years we will be considering the development of a "Deaconess" ministry. Regardless of these apparent distinctions between what biblical positions men and women can serve in, we affirm and encourage women to pursue the full use of their gifts and abilities in serving Jesus Christ in the local church. Further, we trust that even if someone strongly holds a different view on these matters, that they would feel welcomed and be encouraged to serve God in the area of their giftedness and passion.