Elders & Ordination Questions

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tfelice

Puritan Board Freshman
This question would be primarily for those who are Baptists and/or Independents.

I am in the early stages of a pioneer church plant in Central PA. I would be serving as the "Executive Pastor" handling all the administrative aspects of the ministry, and a friend of mine (who is presently a Youth Pastor) would come on board as the Senior Pastor. We would be independent and likely align ourselves eventually with one of the Reformed Baptist fellowships.

The questions that came up the other night when we were going over the plans for the church plant were regarding the process by which we become elders within this new church. Since this church will be formed from within a core group, does the core group elect us as the elders? If so how do they become members and at what point. Or does the office of elder somehow become appointed to us from a church that is overseeing our startup work?Also, since neither one of us is presently ordained, who does the ordaining?

A lot of this was merely out of curiosity in the process as we are quite a ways from all this falling into place, but I wanted to see if anyone would have any insights on this.

Thanks
 

KMK

Administrator
Staff member
I would think that if you are the one doing the church plant then you are already an ordained elder. When prospective church goers examine your church, they are also examining you. If you do meet the qualifications for eldership then those who allign themselves to your church would automatically be aligning themselves to your eldership. It would be your job to then disciple men to be elders eventually. If people do not think you meet the qualifiactions they aren't going to align themselves to your church.

It would be nice to have church sponsorship but I know from experience that this is not always possible. This is my :2cents: from my limited experience of church planting.
 

Herald

Administrator
Staff member
Tony, are you ordained by your current church? Are they starting this church plant or is this an individual effort? It would be a good idea for your current church to ordain the elders. Future elders could be ordained by the new church once it gets up and running.
 

tfelice

Puritan Board Freshman
Ken,

Thanks for your input. That makes a lot of sense.

Bill,

Neither of us is presently ordained from our home church. This church plant is an individual effort (well it will be a partnership of sorts). Having
the denomination we are currently members of ordain us and/or oversee the church plant is unlikely since the church plant will be (for lack of a better term) much more Reformed than our current denomination. That being said there is at least one elder from our home church that would surely approve of our work. So I am guessing that all we need is one elder from another church to confer the status of elder upon either of us. Is that correct?
 

JonathanHunt

Puritan Board Senior
Where there are elders to lay hands on you, if they determine to do so, it would be with the consent and approval of the church to which they belong.

I honestly think you are (laying aside the presbyterian position here, you guys, this is a baptist thread, don't even think about it ...:lol: )
worrying too much about being 'ordained' at this point. If there is gospel work to do, well, get on and do it - get yourselves a basic framework and go from there. Work out the finer details later - constitution etc - and then think about church offices when you have people to be officers for.

Some will disagree here I know, but I'm a baptist. Remember that! I would also say, though, that at the very least you should have some oversight. If the church you have come from isn't reformed, then get in touch with RB churches and get to know some godly elders who can provide help and support.

If you are planting/pioneering, this article might be useful, written from a British angle but has got some good commonsense in it:

http://www.reformedbaptist.co.uk/Pioneering Notes.htm
 

tfelice

Puritan Board Freshman
Jonathan,

Thanks for the article.

Just so you know, this is not something of huge concern for us at this point - more something out of curiosity of how the process would work. There is a whole ton of work that needs to be done before the first Call to Worship.

Incidentally, I do plan on contacting other RB churches in the region for oversight once we get to the point where I have a dedicated core group established and we start meeting as a group for planning, study, prayer, etc.
 

crhoades

Puritan Board Graduate
Incidentally, I do plan on contacting other RB churches in the region for oversight once we get to the point where I have a dedicated core group established and we start meeting as a group for planning, study, prayer, etc.

What is your reasoning for waiting that long? Would they not be able to provide wisdom and aid in even starting the core group and could be praying for you?

{All other Presbyterian type questions stifled.:) -twitch...twitch...twitch.}
 

tfelice

Puritan Board Freshman
What is your reasoning for waiting that long? Would they not be able to provide wisdom and aid in even starting the core group and could be praying for you?

Good point. I just thought it would be much better to approach a potential supporting church with a "group in hand" rather than simply my desire and the demographic research.

That being said there is an elder from another church that is aware of my work here and I have been leaning on him for support and to bounce ideas off of.
 

KMK

Administrator
Staff member
Were you asked to do this by a group of families who do not have a Reformed church in the area? Or are you going to go out publicly (door-to-door) searching for sheep? The reason I ask is that you probably want to be careful of seeking to steal sheep from another shepherd, even if he is not reformed. :2cents:
 

KMK

Administrator
Staff member
BTW, I noticed in another thread that you visited Grace Baptist in Carlisle. It seems to me Grace Baptist would be a good place to encourage people to go if you are close enough, instead of planting another church.

If not, I recommend you talk to Grace Baptist about your plant. I went to ARBCA's church planting school and I know for a fact one of their primary missions is to see more RB churches planted in the US.
 

tfelice

Puritan Board Freshman
Ken,

A couple of points.

First Grace Baptist is about an hour from here. I will be contacting them with more details as they are available because the ARBCA is one of the fellowships I am looking at.

Second, this is a pioneer plant in every sense. After living here for a while now and seeing the need for a RB church in the community, I have really felt led to do the planting work needed. Believe me I have tried hard to fight it, but the desire is there.

I'm taking a four pronged approach to building the initial congregation: first the core group will be solicited from a list of contacts we have made in the last 2 years. Additionally, I am going to be holding a neighborhood Bible study and two community Bible studies to reach other people. Lastly, before we actually "launch" and have the first public service we will be doing a huge amount of promotion to reach out to the community at large.

I've though long about the "stealing sheep" aspect and talked with my old pastor on this. Our conclusion was that it is probably inevitable that some of the people that come on board will be from other churches. What I am not doing however is joining (or even attending reguarly) a local church with the hopes of taking congregants out of that church to follow me to the church plant. That, in my opinion, would not be right to do.
 

KMK

Administrator
Staff member
I've though long about the "stealing sheep" aspect

Good!

and talked with my old pastor on this.

Also good!

Our conclusion was that it is probably inevitable that some of the people that come on board will be from other churches.

This is especially true if there are not already any reformed churches in your area. There may be many who are doing their best at their current church but are very hungry. If you start offering food to hungry sheep they will probably come. If they are not hungry or are already being fed at their own church, they probably won't change shepherds.

What I am not doing however is joining (or even attending reguarly) a local church with the hopes of taking congregants out of that church to follow me to the church plant. That, in my opinion, would not be right to do.

I agree. Just start feeding sheep and see what happens!
 

tfelice

Puritan Board Freshman
Ken

That's exactly my thinking. Sort of like "If you build it they will come". I know that if someone was starting one here in this area, I certainly would join up with them.
 

Chris

Puritan Board Sophomore
I really have no advice to offer here (I'm a member of a new church plant, and would NOT recommend that you follow our lead in ordaining deacons (we're not reformed...no elders...:()) but I'd love to hear updates on how you handle this issue.
 

KMK

Administrator
Staff member
I really have no advice to offer here (I'm a member of a new church plant, and would NOT recommend that you follow our lead in ordaining deacons (we're not reformed...no elders...:()) but I'd love to hear updates on how you handle this issue.

I would also like to hear updates.

Chris, your signature says you are 'Evangelism Leader', but you also say there are no 'elders'. Is it one of those situations where you and other men are elders in the biblical sense but you just aren't referred to as 'elders'?
 

Chris

Puritan Board Sophomore
Chris, your signature says you are 'Evangelism Leader', but you also say there are no 'elders'. Is it one of those situations where you and other men are elders in the biblical sense but you just aren't referred to as 'elders'?

I'll send an IM. That's the best way to explain my situation.
 
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