Who Is In Charge?
The leadership of our church consists of one professional minister or “pastor,” as well as a board consisting of elected members of the congregation and some of the pastoral staff. This leadership is exercised in the context of a “congregational” form of church government, about which some observations should be noted at the outset.
As the label suggests, a “congregational” form of church government is one in which the members of the church (the congregation) actively participate in the oversight and life of the church. Members are to participate in all major decisions bearing on the life and work of the church, with many major decisions being determined by means of the congregation. Local church constitutions stipulate the terms of this process, regarding such matters as identifying the types of decisions that require a congregational vote, defining the quorum needed to take a vote, and stipulating the percentage of votes needed to determine various types of decisions. A copy of the constitution and by-laws can be secured from the church office. This form of church government is grounded in a high view of the priesthood of all believers and a belief in individual soul competency. This empowerment of the congregation is, nonetheless, combined with leadership exercised by the pastor.
In accord with the emphasis on the supreme authority of the Bible, with particular emphasis on the New Testament, the qualifications by which candidates are evaluated are drawn from the New Testament, with 1 Timothy 3:1–4:16 being foundational. These qualifications include such matters as integrity of life and conduct, both internally and externally, within the church, in society, and in one’s home; holding to sound doctrinal beliefs; and above all, submission to God’s will.
As noted above, we have a high view of the priesthood of all believers and of individual soul competency, and, in accord with this, each individual should and can engage God in Christ directly. This is to be done in the context of the fellowship of a local church, often informed by a local church covenant, but ultimately the individual church member stands directly before God.
“…you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light.” 1 Peter 2:9