For the first time since Pastor Blake joined us in 2015, we’re excited to add new elders to our elder team. We don’t think you’ll be surprised by any of the three. In fact, you might be caught off guard that they aren’t already official elders. We’ve been committed to plural elder leadership from the beginning of our church. Plural male elder leadership is not a preference issue for us, but a convictional one. The New Testament shows us two offices most clearly. Elders, who lead the church through exemplary conduct and gifted teaching, and deacons, who serve the church through exemplary conduct and practical ministry. Titus 1:5-9; 1 Timothy 3:1-7; and 1 Peter 5:1-4 contain objective qualifications that elders must meet, and the overwhelming use of “elders” in the plural shows us the consistent practice of more than one elder in the early local church.
Plural eldership blesses our church as it provides the gifting, oversight, and leadership of multiple men. Far from standing or falling on one man, plural eldership gives our church the security of multiple leaders. Plural leadership also protects our individual elders. No one man has to feel the sole responsibility of our entire church, nor does any one elder have final authority over our whole church by himself. As our church family grows, so too does our need for the blessing and protection of multiple elders.
We are confident that Dominic Avila, Charlie Fernandez, and Shay Thomason are gifted and qualified to be elders at our church. We believe the Holy Spirit makes a man an elder (Acts 20:28), but that the church is responsible to recognize that appointment. Dom, Charlie, and Shay have been ministering with us for several years now. During that time, they’ve been part of monthly elders’ meetings, had elder training, and been observed as they have taught and led in our church. You as a church family have provided affirmation and shaping for these men as you’ve responded to them, and we’re confident in adding them to the elder team. That confidence comes from a slow but deliberate process, as we recognize the vital importance of which men become pastors at Grace Church.
You’re invited to give us feedback over the next month. We’d love to hear your affirmation or concerns. You can email any of the elders, call us, write on the information card, or sit down with any of us. On February 11, we’ll have an examination time from 2:00 to 5:00 pm that you are all welcome to attend. We’ll examine all three men together in their doctrine, philosophy of ministry, and conduct, so come to be part of that examination. Then on February 18, we’ll pray and lay hands on them during our morning worship service as we ordain them to be pastors. Join us in prayer and evaluation as we add these three gifted men to our elder team.