Ephesians 1:22-23 tells us that God has placed Christ as head over everything for the church. Christ is the head. According to I Peter 5, the elders are to be the shepherds of God’s flock, serving as overseers. Overseers also is translated “bishops” and in the English, elders are called pastors. The Bible defines the qualification of elders in I Tim. 3:1-7 and Titus 1:5-9. which we use in defining the qualifications of pastor because they are the same. According to I Tim. 5:17, the senior elder (Pastor) is the one that does most of the preaching. So, we have a senior pastor and all other pastors are a part of the elders as mentioned in I Tim. 5:1, “The elders (plural) who direct the affairs of the church…”
Having established who the leaders of the church are, we come to Acts 6:1-7.
But as the believers rapidly multiplied, there were rumblings of discontent. The Greek-speaking believers complained about the Hebrew-speaking believers, saying that their widows were being discriminated against in the daily distribution of food. 2 So the Twelve called a meeting of all the believers. They said, “We apostles should spend our time teaching the word of God, not running a food program.3 And so, brothers, select seven men who are well respected and are full of the Spirit and wisdom. We will give them this responsibility. 4 Then we apostles can spend our time in prayer and teaching the word.”
5 Everyone liked this idea, and they chose the following: Stephen (a man full of faith and the Holy Spirit), Philip, Procorus, Nicanor, Timon, Parmenas, and Nicolas of Antioch (an earlier convert to the Jewish faith). 6 These seven were presented to the apostles, who prayed for them as they laid their hands on them.
7 So God’s message continued to spread. The number of believers greatly increased in Jerusalem, and many of the Jewish priests were converted, too. Acts 6:1-7
THE MINISTRY SUPPORT TEAM
In 2009, following the example of Acts 6, the Ministry Support Team was created. This is a team of church members “who are well respected and full of the Spirit and wisdom.” These folks have already shown themselves to be committed to the life and well being of GCC and are already involved in ministry. They also act as ambassadors to those in the congregation.
The word deacon is not found in this passage, but the work of a deacon is. The word deacon simply means “servant” and these are people appointed by the elders. In fact, there is no evidence in scripture to support the congregation voting on this team of servants.
The Ministry Support Team is currently comprised of the senior and associate Pastor as well as nine appointed members. The team currently meets every other month to discuss the following issues.
1. Financial issues– The MST safe guards the church finances. This includes making decisions on salaries, wages and gifts for Pastors and other church staff. Large purchases including vehicles, building and property improvements and expansion and other items are discussed, researched and voted on by the MST.
2. Future direction– The MST discusses and researches strategic planning for the future of the church based on the vision of the Pastoral staff. They also vote on these issues when applicable.
3. Being an ambassador of the leadership team to the congregation- It is important for the growth of our church to have clear lines of communication, but the more people are involved the more difficult this can become. The MST acts as ambassadors to the congregation by protecting the reputation of this church and each other. Specifically, each MST member should be prepared to articulate the direction of the church and the decisions being made.
The Ministry Support team is not a group of “yes men” who simply ratify every whim of the Pastoral staff. In the meetings, honest dialogue is encouraged. The MST are not only ambassadors of the church leadership to the congregation, but also ambassadors of the congregation to the church leadership.
When entering new directions or difficult decisions, we like to take the time needed to allow for a well thought out conclusion. For instance, the issue of going to two services in 2014 was discussed, researched and voted on before any plan to move forward was made.
“What do the words committees, elections, majority rule, boards, board members, parliamentary procedures, voting, and vote have in common? None of these words are found in the New Testament! We have imposed an American form of government on the church and, as a result, most churches are as bogged down in bureaucracy as our government is. It takes forever to get anything done. Man-made organization structures have prevented more churches from healthy growth than any of us could imagine.” - Rick Warren “The Purpose Driven Church” and Pastor of Saddleback Church
At Grace Community we want to have a simple structure so we can maximize ministry and minimize maintenance.