ARTICLE VI: Elders
Section 1. Qualifications. Each elder must be an active member of this church and possess the qualifications described in 1 Tim. 3:1-7and Titus 1:6-9. He shall be ...
A. One who desires the office.
He has a great desire to serve the Church as an overseer.
B. Blameless; above reproach.
Accusations against him are baseless and there are no hidden sins.
C. The husband of one wife; a one-woman man. He has single-minded dedication to his wife.
D. One who rules his own house well and with dignity.
His wife is submitted to his leadership and his children are faithful, not accused of rebellion to God or disobedience.
He has mastered his appetites and desires.
F. Sensible, sane, of sound mind. He is in his right mind.
G. Well behaved, orderly, decent.
He is known for his good behavior.
H. Given to hospitality.
He is hospitable to friends and strangers alike.
I. Forbearing, considerate, moderate, gentle.
He is attentive and understanding with others.
J. Peaceable; not quick-tempered, inclined to anger, pugnacious nor violent. He seeks peace and is not easily provoked.
K. Loves goodness and what is good.
He loves people of good character and things of good quality.
L. Has a good reputation with those outside the Church.
His good character is consistent in every area of life and recognized even by unbelievers.
M. Just, righteous.
He makes fair and impartial judgments based on righteousness.
N. Holy, devout, pious.
He strives to avoid sin and live righteously.
O. Apt to teach.
He is teachable and able to teach, exhort and persuade believers and refute false
P. One who holds firmly to the faithful word and teaches it.
He is loyal to and teaches the word of God and sound theology.
Q. Not a drunkard or given to drink.
He is neither a habitual nor excessive drinker of alcohol.
R. Not greedy or covetous; not a lover of money; not fond of sordid gain.
He does not pursue materialistic accumulation of wealth and possessions.
S. Not a new convert; not a novice.
He has been a Christian long enough for his godly character to be evident to all.
T. Not arrogant or self-willed.
He is humble and prefers others before himself.
Section 2. Responsibilities.
Paragraph A. Sphere and Limits of Their Authority. The sphere and limits of the elder's authority is defined in the word of God. The eldership, as a body, is authorized and responsible to give comprehensive oversight to the Church (Acts 20:28; 1 Pet. 5:1-3), including the preaching and teaching of the whole council of God (Acts 20:20-21, 27; Titus 1:9), the watching out for the welfare of the soul of every Christian (Eph. 4:11-13; Col. 1:28; 1 Thes. 2:11; Heb. 13:17) and the directing of the Church in all its tasks (1 Tim. 3:4-5). Nonetheless, the elders must exercise this authority with sensitivity to the congregation (Acts 6:5) and in the posture of servants and examples to it (Matt. 20:25-28; 1 Pet. 5:3). Therefore, according to the examples found in Acts 6 & 15, the elders should seek the support of the congregation respecting any major endeavor. They should consider congregational input when to do so would serve the interests of the Church and would not involve the elders in sinful relinquishment of their God-given responsibilities or authority.
Paragraph B. Related Powers. Subject to the limitations of this constitution and of pertinent restrictions of Connecticut State Law, all the activities and affairs of the Corporation shall be exercised by or under the direction of the elders. Without prejudice to such general powers, but subject to the same limitations, it is hereby expressly declared that the elders shall have the following powers in addition to those enumerated thus far in this constitution:
(1) To select and remove all officers, agents, pastors, staff and employees of the Corporation, and prescribe such duties for them consistent with the Bible, law and/or this constitution, as they may deem best.
(2) To make such disbursements from the funds and properties of the Corporation as are required to fulfill the purposes of this corporation as are more fully set out in Article II of this constitution. To generally conduct, manage and control the activities and affairs of the Corporation and to make such rules and regulations consistent with the Bible, law and/or this constitution, as they may deem best.
(3) To adopt, make and use a corporate seal and to alter the form of such a seal from time to time as they may deem best.
(4) To establish policies and practices for the church consistent with the purposes of this corporation.
(5) To administrate the ordinances of baptism and the Lord’s Supper.
(6) To carry on a business in which it may legally engage and apply any such proceeds that result from the business as they see fit.
Section 3. Number of Elders and Tenure of Office. Since the Church should endeavor to recognize all the men whom the Holy Spirit has endowed with the requisite graces, gifts and sanctified desire, the number of elders shall not be fixed. These may all continue in office as long as they remain qualified, able and willing to serve.
Section 4. Plurality of Elders. The Scripture teaches that normally there should be a plurality of elders in each local assembly (Acts 14:23, 16:4, 20:17; Titus 1:5; James 5:14). Therefore, the Church should endeavor to discover and formally recognize all the men whom the Holy Spirit has endowed with the requisite graces and gifts, but only such men. If, in the providence of God, Newtown Bible Church were to have only one elder, they should pray fervently that God would raise up others. The sole elder should seek spiritual oversight for himself and his family from the eldership of a church with which we have like-minded fellowship. He should seek council from these spiritual overseers in matters of importance in the life of the Church. However, his use of such council neither deprives nor relieves him of the authority and responsibility of his office as elder in this church.
Section 5. Nomination. Periodically the elders shall request that the congregation of Newtown Bible Church nominate men for the office of elder who are members of the church in good standing.
Section 6. Candidacy, Examination & Recognition. All nominees for the office of elder shall be examined by the elders according to the qualifications found in Article VI.1. of this constitution. If the elders know of a reason why a nominee is not qualified they shall meet privately with him, explain their position regarding his lack of qualification(s) and remove him from the list of nominees. The elders shall then inquire whether the remaining nominees desire to serve the Church as an elder. A list of those that desire the office shall then be posted in alphabetical order for four consecutive weeks. Anyone knowing a reason why a nominee may not be qualified for the eldership shall privately and in person inform the elders of their concern(s) regarding a nominee's lack of qualification(s). The elders will then carefully examine the person bringing the charge, the charge itself and the nominee. If the charge is found to be accurate the nominee will be removed form the list of nominees. The remaining nominees shall become elder candidates and shall be examined, given oversight in areas corresponding to their giftedness and desires and be carefully observed by the elders. If, during this examination, a Candidate is found to not be qualified the elders shall explain their position regarding his lack of qualification(s) and remove him from the list of candidates. If, after this period of examination, the elders are convinced of the individual’s calling to the office he will be considered approved for the eldership. The final list of candidates approved by the elders shall be posted in alphabetical order at least two weeks prior to the annual meeting of the church members. At this meeting the slate of candidates shall be presented to the members to affirm the decision of the elders. Upon confirmation the candidates shall assume the office of elder.
Section 7. Ordination of Elders. Ordination is the unanimous recognition by the elders of a man’s call to official Church ministry. After serving above reproach in the examination period as an elder candidate the existing elders will then establish an ordination board consisting of the elders of this church and elders of churches with which we are like-minded. The ordination board shall have no less than six (6) members. At a time designated by the elders, the ordination candidate shall defend the sound doctrine of the word of God and our Statement of Faith through both written and oral means. If the candidate fulfills the ordination requirements to the satisfaction of the ordination board, he shall be presented to the church membership at a special meeting called by the elders. This will be his official installation and ordination. Ordination shall be conferred for life, so long as the man continues to manifest the qualifications of the office of elder.
Section 8. Licensing. The elders will issue a license to all elder candidates. Its aim is to allow a man to perform the ecclesiastical duties and functions of the Church. The elders may, at their discretion, also issue licenses to men whom they perceive as called to the gospel ministry. Licenses will be evaluated on a yearly basis and issued as the occasions arise.
Section 9. Discipline of Elders. While elders are overseers of the flock they are also members of it. Therefore, each elder is under the oversight of his fellow elders and is subject to the same discipline as are all the members of the church according to Article V.8.A.3., 4. and 5., but elders must adhere to a more rigorous standard of conduct than other members according to Article VI.1.
Section10. Termination o fOffice. Paragraph A. Reasons for Termination.
(1) Voluntary Resignation. An elder may resign his office if for a good and valid reason he finds he is no longer able to discharge his duties with a good conscience. However, before such resignation will be accepted said elder shall confer with the remaining elders in order that they may come to unanimity on said elder’s resignation.
(2) Non-culpable Incompetence. In cases where the elders determine that another elder is no longer competent to fulfill the duties of his office, by reason of infirmities not of themselves culpable, they shall explain their concerns to him and seek his resignation. If said elder does not agree with the assessment of the remaining elders, the elder will continue in office until the eldership reaches unanimity on the matter.
(3) Church Discipline. An elder may be removed from office according to Section 9 of this Article.
ParagraphB. Implications of Termination.
(1) When a man leaves the office of elder he no longer retains the authority of that office and may no longer continue in its functions, privileges and titles in relation to this church, other churches and society at large.
(2) It is expected that all former officers will respect the sanctity of the trust previously given to them and that they will maintain the confidentiality of all ecclesiastical matters as required by Scripture, this constitution, the Statement of Faith and the judgment of the existing elders.
(3) A former officer may again be considered for office, but only in the manner prescribed by Sections 5 and 6 of this Article.
Section 11. Meetings of the Elders.
Paragraph A. Place of Meetings. Notwithstanding anything to the contrary provided in this constitution, any meeting of the elders of the Corporation may be held at any place within or without the State of Connecticut.
Paragraph B. Regular Meetings. Regular meetings of the elders shall be held without call or notice on the first Tuesday of each month, unless otherwise modified by the elders.
Paragraph C. Special Meetings. Any elder may call special meetings of the elders at any time. Special meetings of the elders shall be held upon four (4) days’ notice by e-mail or first class mail, or, a twenty-four (24) hour notice given personally or by telephone or other similar means of communication. Any such notice shall be addressed or delivered to each elder or at such elder’s address as it is shown upon the records of the Corporation or as may have been given to the Corporation by the elder for such purpose of notice.
Paragraph D. Participation in Meetings by Conference Telephone. Elders may participate in a meeting through use of conference telephone or similar communications equipment, so long as all elders participating in such a meeting can hear one another.
Paragraph E. Action without Meeting. Any action required or permitted to be taken by the elders may be taken without a meeting if all elders individually or collectively consent in writing to a duly prepared resolution to such action. Such consent or consents shall have the same effect as a unanimous decision of the elders and shall be documented by attaching the signed resolution with the minutes of proceedings of the elders.
Section 12. Rights of Inspection. Every elder shall have absolute right at any reasonable time to inspect and copy all books, records and documents of every kind and to inspect the physical properties of the Corporation and also of its subsidiary organizations, if any, of which such person is an elder, for a purpose reasonably related to such person’s interest as an elder.
Section 13. Decisions of the Elders. All decisions shall be reached after prayerful consideration by unanimous vote in a spirit of humility, with each elder regarding one another before himself.
Paragraph A. Quorum. In cases of emergency where all the elders cannot meet together, be duly notified and are unable to give written consent of action according to Article VI.11.E., at least three- fourths (3/4) of the elders must be in attendance and come to unanimity on any issues.
Section 14. Fees and Compensation. Elders may require financial support in order to fulfill their pastoral responsibilities. Although elders have a right to receive support from the Church, they may waive the right and support themselves (1 Cor. 9:6-12; 1 Tim. 5:17-18). The elders will determine the amount of compensation, but any person receiving support directly or indirectly from Newtown Bible Church shall not be in a position to determine the nature or amount of said support. If Newtown Bible Church has only one elder he shall call a meeting of all men in the church who are members in good standing to assist in determining the amount of his financial support, if any.
Section 15. Councils and Committees. To promote efficient handling of matters, the elders may appoint various councils and committees from within its membership, the staff and the church at large. These councils and committees shall perform tasks solely in accordance with the duties and powers specifically delegated by the elders as per the examples in Acts 6 & 15. The general function of councils and committees are; A) to bring considered recommendations before the elders concerning ministries and, B) to provide a wider base of counsel to the elders having the oversight of specific ministries. All councils and committees shall exist for a period specified by the elders.