Leadership

Leadership Structure in the Church

The goal of this position paper is to clarify the position of First Christian Church of Mountain City GA concerning the leadership structure that governs the body. This paper is not intended to take the place of the Bible which remains the ultimate authority and the only rule for faith and practice. The expiration date for this paper reinforces the idea that while the position is being clarified by the use of this document, the Bible will be consulted on a regular basis to ensure a strong foundation for this doctrine.

FCC of Mountain City belongs to the Stone-Campbell Movement also known as the Restoration Movement which means that this church seeks to restore the structure of the church to its original form found in the New Testament. In Ephesians 2:20, the Apostle Paul states that the foundation of the church is built on the Apostles and the Prophets using Jesus as the cornerstone. Since Jesus is described as the cornerstone, this means He has the authority over the church. This church belongs to Jesus, so we will structure this church using the example set forth in the Scriptures by the Apostles as they were chosen by Jesus to represent Him.

In Mark 3:13-19, Jesus selected 12 of His disciples for the purpose of preaching, and He called them apostles. This special designation indicates that they are to be the leaders of the church that Jesus was building. Just before the Ascension, Jesus pulled the Apostles together as recorded in Acts 1 to give them instructions to wait for the coming of the Holy Spirit and to reaffirm that they were going to be His witnesses. This indicates that the role of the Apostles was to build the church. At that point, Judas Iscariot was no longer with the group, so the Apostles cast lots, and Matthias was added to the 11.

In Acts 9:1-19, Jesus chose Saul to become a “Chosen instrument” to carry His name to the Gentiles. This means that Saul was selected to become part of the Apostles, so his name was changed to Paul, and this was the last recording of an Apostle being selected. With the Apostles in place, the churches were now being built. At this point, it is important to note that the only way a disciple could be chosen to become an Apostle was to have Jesus give him that position.

The Apostles created leadership positions for the church by choosing disciples who have been baptized in the name of Jesus. Although there were many co-workers who helped build the church, none of them were considered to be Apostles. Therefore, it is logical to conclude that the position of Apostle was reserved for the ones specifically designated by Jesus, and once they passed on, the position of Apostle passed on with them.


Leadership Roles: Elders, Deacons, Preacher

The goal of this position paper is to clarify the position of First Christian Church of Mountain City GA concerning the roles of the elders, deacons and preacher. This paper is not intended to take the place of the Bible which remains the ultimate authority and the only rule for faith and practice. The expiration date for this paper reinforces the idea that while the position is being clarified by the use of this document, the Bible will be consulted on a regular basis to ensure a strong foundation for this doctrine.

FCC of Mountain City belongs to the Stone-Campbell Movement also known as the Restoration Movement which means that this church seeks to restore the structure of the church to its original form found in the New Testament. This church follows the NT model of being an Elder-led church which means the Elders are the overseers for the people God has entrusted in their care. Along with Elders, there are Deacons selected as necessary to lead specific ministries, and a Preacher is supported by the church to serve full time for the edification of the saints.

In Acts 20:17-38, the Apostle Paul met with the Elders of the Ephesian church to say goodbye and give encouragement because he knew that this was the last time they would be together. During this meeting, the role of the Elder is defined. The Elders are the overseers and shepherds of the church. This means that they have the authority to make sure the church continues in the way the Apostles taught them to go and the responsibility to care for the people in the church.

In Hebrews 13:17, the Elders are in charge of keeping watch over the spiritual health of the church. They are held accountable by God to make sure the church remains spiritually healthy, so this is not a task that can be easily overlooked. To protect the spiritual health of the church, the Elders are responsible for the pastoral work of the church. The following list contains examples of the pastoral work of the Elders:

  1. To teach sound doctrine (1 Tim. 5:17; Tit. 1:9)
  2. To alert the congregation to false teaching (Acts 20:28-31; Tit. 1:9)
  3. To monitor the growth of the members (Heb. 13:17)
  4. To visit the sick (James 5:14)
    1. The healing comes from prayer (James 5:15)
    2. The oil and laying on of hands are symbols indicating who is the focus of the prayer
    3. The Elders are not authorized to forgive sins, but they are to be prepared to discuss spiritual matters during a sick visit and guide a person to repentance and renewal.
  5. To model sound Christian living (1 Pet. 5:3)

To assist the Elders in the leadership of the church, the position of Deacon was created to oversee specific ministries. In Acts 6:1-7, the Apostles were spread too thin to be effective in their responsibility for preaching the Word of God, so they had the people select men to oversee the daily distribution of food for the widows. This is the first example of Deacons serving in the church. They served as the leaders of the benevolence so the Apostles could focus on their responsibilities, and the church grew as a result. The position of the Deacon is based upon the needs of the church. Each year, the Elders decide how many Deacons are needed and what areas they will serve as leaders. Once selected and affirmed by the congregation, the Deacon serves a 1 year term and can be reinstated for additional years at the Elders' discretion. Each year, the congregation affirms the decision of the Elders by having a vote at the annual congregational meeting. The By-laws contain the complete details concerning the selection of the leadership.

The Preacher of the church serves a role that is unique when compared to the Elders and Deacons, but the leadership responsibilities overlap as the Preacher will often provide oversight and pastoral care alongside the Elders. The term Preacher is used in the New Testament to refer to a distinctive ministry position within the church (Rom. 10:14; 1 Tim. 2:7; 2 Tim. 1:11).

In Ephesians 4:1-16, the church is described as one body with many parts. In order to bring order to the many parts, God has equipped the people with different gifts for specific purposes. The leadership of the church is gifted in various ways so the church can be equipped for good works. The responsibility of the preacher is to make sure the church is properly equipped, and this involves getting to know the people so he can properly assess their spiritual needs. This is where he serves alongside the Elders in the pastoral care of the church.

Since the Preacher is well qualified in the area of teaching sound doctrine, the Elders delegate the education ministry of the church to the Preacher for oversight. This does not mean that the Preacher has to teach every class, but he does guard the church against false teachings by making sure the teachers are properly equipped for their classes. The Preacher and the Elders work together to cast vision for the church in all areas so the church can remain spiritually healthy.

The Preacher has committed his life to serving the Lord full-time; therefore the church supports the Preacher and his family financially. The Preacher submits to the authority of the Elders as they have been delegated by God to be the overseers of the church. However, the Preacher and the Elders work together as a team since they have both been set apart to lead God's church. Although many churches designate the Preacher as an Elder, the Elders and the Preacher here at FCC of Mountain City have chosen to keep the positions separate so the roles are not confused.

Because of the interpretive challenges inherent in understanding the Bible, we do not require our members to agree with the elders' conclusions regarding the leadership structure of this church. However, we do ask that our members obey the elders' directives and submit to their conclusions without divisiveness, recognizing that these are difficult decisions to make. We will continue to seek God's guidance and grow in our understanding of God's Word in this and all doctrinal matters.

Our Vision

To become a Biblically-functioning family of believers growing...

  • Deeper through worship
  • Larger through evangelism
  • Stronger through discipleship
  • Warmer through fellowship
  • Broader through ministry