Monday, April 28, 2008

A New Elder at GFC and a Big Promise for Every Pastor to Keep

Yesterday we added another elder to Grace Fellowship Church. It was a remarkable day! We take eldership quite seriously, so this was the end of a long process of training and evaluation. Murray and I are thrilled to have Julian Freeman serving alongside us as a fellow pastor!

After the sermon, I asked Julian to stand and respond to the following statement. This statement is a result of surveying the New Testament and considering some of the unique requirements and qualifications given to an elder. Just assembling this was a humbling and yet, encouraging task.

The references are included:

Called to the Office of Elder – The Promise

Having repented of sin and put your faith in Jesus Christ;

Having been baptized by immersion in water and made member of this local church;

Having faithfully served for many years in many capacities;

Having prayed and studied and read and grown in the grace and knowledge of our Lord Jesus;

And having aspired to the office of elder and having been approved and affirmed to that office after careful examination by all the elders and members of Grace Fellowship Church;

Will you now promise,

Hebrews 13:7

- to lead a life worthy of emulation

Hebrews 13:17

- to joyfully watch over the souls of this flock as one will give an accounting for each of them to God

James 3:1

- to always preach with the Day of God’s Strict Judgement for Teachers in mind

James 5:13

- to pray believingly for the sick

1 Peter 5:1

- to shepherd God’s flock allotted to you willingly, eagerly, seeking to model first what you ask of them

Acts 20: 17

- to serve the Lord with both joy and tears

- to resist every temptation to shrink back from declaring the whole Gospel (whether in the privacy of someone’s home or the public square)

- to preach repentance and faith in Christ alone

- to willingly accept suffering, should God call you there

- to value the calling and Gospel of Jesus Christ above your own life

- to guard the church as the blood-bought possession of Jesus Christ, and thus to care for her as His most valuable possession

- to stay alert at your post, even willing to rebuke fellow elders who preach or teach any doctrine not found in God’s Word

- to live as if, ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.”

1 Corinthians 14:29

- to carefully weigh the words of the preached Word

2 Corinthians 11-12

- to willingly suffer for Jesus’ sake hardship, physical torture, betrayal, inconvenience, exposure, disappointment, persecution, sovereign weakenings, calamities, and daily pressures of concern for the church

1 Timothy 4:6

- to value the Word of God over an argument won

- to train yourself for godliness

- to labour and strive with persistence in the work of your ministry more than any before you, giving God all the glory for any success

- to address men’s lives as well as minds; calling others to follow your personal growth in godliness and sanctification

- to keep close watch on your life and your doctrine

1 Timothy 6

- to purse righteousness, godliness, faith, love, steadfastness, and gentleness.

- to never quit, give up, swerve from or slack off in your effort to fulfil your ministry; not even when you are middle-aged, tired, and suffering

- to despise the allure of riches in this world and live for the eternal wealth of Christ’s presence in heaven

- to guard the sacred deposit entrusted to your care

Titus 2

- to teach the Truth of the Gospel of Jesus Christ in such a way that old men, old women, young men, young women, and children will understand how to adorn the Gospel of Jesus Christ with good works

- to value Jesus above your wife, your children, your church, your ministry, your knowledge, your self, and anything else in this world

- to speak to God’s people with gentle authority

- to be zealous for good works

2 Timothy

- to not be ashamed of the Gospel or the Saviour, regardless of the audience

- to flee youthful sins and run toward being a man who handles the Word of Truth accurately

- to correct with gentleness, not quarrelsomeness

- to preach the Word of God; in season and out of season, reproving, rebuking, and exhorting with complete patience and teaching

- to entrust your soul to the Faithful Creator no matter the blessing, the trial or persecution

If, in the sight of God and these witnesses you do now set your heart to make this pledge, promising that when you fail you will seek both forgiveness and restoration as soon as is possible, then I call upon you in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who is to judge the living and the dead, and by his appearing and his kingdom to answer, “I do.”

Julian, because we believe

- the Holy Spirit has gifted you to this ministry

- and made you a gift to this church

- and trust that we have not acted in haste, but in prayerful dependence on Christ

Therefore, it is our joy as the council of elders of this local church to lay hands on you and call upon God Himself to seal to you this ministry for your life and His glory.


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