Eldership at SCBC
At Songtan Central Baptist Church, we believe the Church is to be led by a plurality of elders, qualified men appointed by the members of the church. These men are to be competent theologically and exemplar in character. These have a deep devotion to Jesus, a love for God’s Word, a growing life of prayer, a lifestyle of obedience, a commitment to mission, and an abiding commitment to the health of the local church as God’s primary means for completing the Great Commission.
At SCBC our Elders team leads as a plurality of leaders with our Staff Pastor serving as “responsible among equals,” carrying the greatest load of preaching and teaching. The other elders share in leadership, teaching, together making strategic and missional decisions, addressing the health of the church, ministering to the needs of the congregation, and overseeing church membership and finances. Our elders meet twice monthly and when circumstance necessitates.
Process of Appointment
Each member of our Eldership team has gone through a thorough application and evaluation process. Elder applicants must be members for at least one year before being considered for elder candidacy.
Our Elders are voted in by our church membership.
Once an applicant is vetted for eldership and approved by the elders, he moves into elder candidacy. The candidate then undergoes teaching and training in the areas of character, theological convictions, ministry competency, and capacity for cultural engagement.
Eldership at SCBC
The first qualification is that one must humbly aspire to this role.
The saying is trustworthy: If anyone aspires to the office of overseer, he desires a noble task. - 1 Timothy 3:1 (ESV)
The word “overseer” refers to an elder, one called to give oversight to the local church and care for its health and mission. It is a task that is noble and when God calls a man to it, that calling is first experienced as a strong aspiration and desire. It is not a desire for a position, but for a task; not a platform in front of people, but a ministry among a people.
The qualifications listed for eldership focus mainly on godly character. The elder is to be an exemplar in his character, manifesting a Christ-likeness in his life and in his relationships.
2 Therefore an overseer must be above reproach, the husband of one wife, sober-minded, self-controlled, respectable, hospitable, able to teach, 3 not a drunkard, not violent but gentle, not quarrelsome, not a lover of money. - 1 Timothy 3:2-3 (ESV)
He is to live a life free of accusations, blameless, sexually pure, and maritally faithful, humble, controlling his passions and appetites, gentle and not marked by anger or violence, not argumentative, and content with what he has.
The elder must be able to teach (1 Timothy 3:2). This does not mean that he has the gift of teaching, but that he knows the Scriptures well, can defend the Church against false teaching and can communicate Christian doctrine clearly to others.
HEALTHY FAMILY LIFE
The Church is a family of families and the elder cannot be entrusted with a family of families if he cannot love and lead his own family well. If he is married with children, he must be one who cares for his wife and children and promotes their discipleship. This does not mean that an elder cannot be single. Jesus, our Chief Shepherd was single, as was the Apostle Paul.
4 He must manage his own household well, with all dignity keeping his children submissive, 5 for if someone does not know how to manage his own household, how will he care for God’s church? - 1 Timothy 3:4-5 (ESV)
AN ESTABLISHED BELIEVER
Elders are not to be new Christians, but rather mature Christians who have a good history of walking with Jesus.
6 He must not be a recent convert, or he may become puffed up with conceit and fall into the condemnation of the devil. - 1 Timothy 3:6 (ESV)