Elders

Dave Atwood, Chris Beighley, Nathan Brand, Tim Korabek, Joel Kuhlmann, Paul Larsen, Peter Ulbricht.

Berean Community Church is led by a group of male elders who are called by the church body. Elders serve for three year terms and are allowed to serve two terms consecutively. New elders are nominated and appointed yearly or as needed. The following justification for elder leadership is taken directly from a message by John Piper titled "Who Are The Elders?", which can be found here.

You can also see a list of policies and positions that have been approved by the Elders.

These leaders in the congregations of the early church were elders. The point here is that the eldership was not one alternative leadership form among many in the early church. It was universal as far as we know, and there were always more than one in each church as far as we know. Consider these texts that show how widespread was the practice of having elders in each church.

  • Jerusalem: Acts 15:22, "Then it seemed good to the apostles and the elders, with the whole church to choose men and to send them to Antioch."
  • Ephesus: Acts 20:17, "And from Miletus [Paul] sent to Ephesus and called to him the elders of the church."
  • All the towns of Crete: Titus 1:5, "This is why I [Paul] left you in Crete, that you might amend what was defective, and appoint elders in every town as I directed you."
  • All the churches James wrote to when he said, "To the twelve tribes of the dispersion": James 5:14, "Is any among you sick? Let him call the elders of the church, and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord" (assuming that there are elders in every church).
  • All the churches in Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia that Peter wrote to: 1 Peter 5:1, "So I exhort the elders among you, as a fellow elder and a witness of the sufferings of Christ as well as a partaker in the glory that is to be revealed."
  • Finally, all the churches Paul founded on the first missionary journey (and presumably the other journeys as well): Acts 14:23, "And when they had appointed elders for them in every church, with prayer and fasting, they committed them to the Lord in whom they believed."

The universal extent of elders in the early church becomes even more obvious when you realize that the term "elder" is the same person designated by "bishop" or "overseer" (cf. Titus 1:5,7 and Acts 20:17,28) or "pastor" (Ephesians 4:11; cf. Acts 20:28 and 1 Peter 5:1-2 where elders are given a shepherding function). It is hard to escape the conclusion that God's will for the local church is that it have a group of elders as its primary leaders.