council of elders


“Let the elders who rule well be considered worthy of double honor,
especially those who labor in preaching and teaching.” (1 Timothy 5:17, ESV)


Grace Church is an elder-led congregation.  Along with the Council of Deacons, the church staff, the Council of Elders provides the spiritual oversight of the congregation.  Grace Church currently has three elders who currently serve on the council.


The following is taken from our church by-laws and constitution.

COUNCIL OF ELDERS

 

1. BIBLICAL OFFICE OF ELDER

The Council of Elders shall consist of members selected by the Pastor and current Elders based on their spiritual gifts of leadership, administration,  wisdom and maturity. 

  • The church at its annual business meeting or special called business meeting must approve an Elder by a 75% majority vote of those members present.
  • Since the office of an Elder is a biblical one, certain qualifications of spiritual maturity must be met (1 Timothy 3:1-7; Titus 1:5-9; 1 Peter 5:1-4).
  • The Bible indicates that men are to only hold this “ruling” office and that the church is to set them apart for this ministry in a special act of laying on of hands. These men will lead the church and be its primary shepherds and teachers.
  • The Elder is a Christian first. It is critical for both the church and its Elders that leadership is seen in a proper light. Pastors and churches suffer when pastors are seen in an inflated manner or as some “professional” class of Christians far removed from “the rest of us.” 
  • There are several Biblical principles that inform how an Elder should view of himself.
  • Elders are men under authority before they are men entrusted with authority (1 Corinthians. 11:3, Rom. 1:1).
  • Elders are “brothers in Christ” with all those in their church before they are “fathers in the faith” to anyone (Romans 12:10, John 1:12).
  • Pastors are also sheep before they are shepherds (John 10:1-15; 1 Pet. 5:4).
  • Overseers are servants before they are “leaders” (Mark 10:42-45; 1 Tim. 3:4-5).
  • Elders must see themselves as only one part of the body of Christ with Christ alone as the head (Ephesians 1:23; 4:15-16; 5:23; Col. 1:18; 2:19).

 

2. PROCESS OF SELECTION:


The congregation will be informed of the need of additional Elders and given at least two weeks advance notice in order to prayerfully consider names of the man/men recommended by the Council of Elders.

  • These candidates will be interviewed by both the Lead Pastor and the Council of Elders.  If the candidate(s) show both willingness and spiritual fitness for the office, their names will be brought to the congregation for final confirmation by the membership of Grace Church.
  • The candidate must be affirmed as an elder by a 75% majority vote of members present and qualified to vote. This vote shall be taken by written-secret ballot.
  • Upon the recommendation of the Council of Elders and the vote of the church, a Special Business Meeting can be called to dismiss an Elder at any time. 
  • A former Lead and/or Senior Pastor of Grace Church will not be considered nor allowed to serve on the Council of Elders.

 

3. PRIMARY RESPONSIBILITIES:

 The responsibilities of the Council of Elders will include, but not be limited to:

  • To lead in planning of the future direction and goals of the church, to set ministry direction and the structures of ministry and in communicating these decisions to the church body.
  • To oversee the planning of the budget, including annual reviews of staff salaries and benefits to be presented at the Annual Business Meeting. They are responsible for the work of the Financial Officer and/or Treasurer, keeping track of the income and expenditures.
  • The establishment, hiring, replacement and dismissal of any and all staff positions, providing the total budgeted salaries are not exceeded.
  • To appoint people to fill vacancies on ministry teams and other positions due to illness, dismissal or resignation.
  • To promote and teach sound doctrine.
  • To oversee the legal affairs of the church, including the management of the church properties, enter legal arrangements, and sign legal papers necessary for “corporation” of Grace Church. 
  • To hire, recommend or appoint from among the church membership, leaders, which include:
  • To appoint a Business Meeting Moderator: They will set the agenda and preside at all the meetings of the congregation.  If possible, he/she should represent Grace Church at the Converge Southeast annual meeting. 
  • To appoint a Recording Secretary:  The recording secretary will keep the minutes of all the meetings of the church and elders and take care of the correspondence in the name of the church as assigned.  It is the responsibility of the recording secretary to maintain an accurate record of all the members of the church, plus any other historical records of Grace Church. 
  • To appoint a Financial Officer:  The Financial Officer (F.O.) is the principal steward of financial policies and procedures. The F.O. will oversee the following functions:
  • Manage the church's relationship with government taxing authorities, i.e. submit tax funds, reports;
  • Submit policy and procedure recommendations to the Elders;
  • Submit reports required by the Elders;
  • Deposit of all funds in a timely fashion;
  • Keep confidential records of all contributors;
  • Oversee the payment of expenses as authorized by the budget or congregation with checks which are required to have two signatures.
  • The Financial Officer will be responsible to the Elders and will work with a Financial Team appointed to help with Grace's financial policies.
  • To appoint an Elder of Benevolence Ministries: The Council of Elders shall disburse the benevolence fund in cooperation with the Lead Pastor, and shall assist him in all other outreach efforts of the church.
  • To oversee the needs of the church in the absence of the Lead Pastor: They shall provide the pulpit supply and choose a moderator for church meetings if the Lead Pastor is unavailable or the office of Lead Pastor is vacant. Upon the death, resignation, or dismissal of the Lead Pastor, the Council of Elders will appoint a pulpit committee.
  • To provide oversight of the church properties: All appointments for public worship, Bible studies and the arrangements thereof, including time, place and the use of all properties belonging to the church, for any other purposes, shall be under the direction of the Lead Pastor, who, with the advice of the Council of Elders, will determine the appropriateness of all property use, as well as persons permitted to the use the church property. 
  • To function as the Board of Directors of Grace Church: The Lead Pastor and the Council of Elders shall constitute the Grace Church “Board of Directors” of the corporation. 

    In addition to the various powers specifically granted the Elders under these bylaws, the Council of Elders have authority to exercise the following powers, upon authorization by a 75% majority vote of the eligible members at a duly-called business meeting:

  • To purchase, lease, or otherwise acquire real and personal property on behalf of the church, and to take real and personal property by will, gift, or bequest on behalf of the church.
  • To sell, convey, alienate, transfer, lease, assign, exchange, or otherwise dispose of, and to mortgage, pledge, or otherwise encumber the real and personal property of the church, to borrow money and incur indebtedness for the purpose and use of the church; to cause to be executed, issued, and delivered for the indebtedness, in the name of the church, promissory notes, bonds, debentures, or other evidence of indebtedness; and to secure repayment by deeds of trust, mortgages, or pledges.
  • To exercise all powers necessary for the dissolution of the church corporation.
  • All responsibilities shall be compatible with the laws of the State of Florida.
  • The Council of Elders shall review the church bylaws annually, and shall bring suggested changes to a meeting of the Council of Elders of which has been previously designated for the purpose of reviewing the bylaws. 
  • Provide oversight to the safety and security of Grace Church members and attenders: The Elders shall, in conjunction with the Lead Pastor, conduct a regular ministry liability and safety review of the following policies and/or topics:
    (1) Child protection, including but not limited to worker screening procedures, child abuse reporting procedures, and worker training on child abuse prevention;
    (2) Building safety and security measures;
    (3) Insurance and liability coverage;
    (4) Financial accountability;
    (5) Transportation; and
    (6) Sexual harassment.