If you have been encouraged by others at Solace Church and feel led by God to be a candidate for Elder, use the following link to the Elder Application. The details will be explained in the application form.
Appointing Elders to oversee and shepherd the church is the pattern seen in the New Testament (Acts 11:30, Acts 14:23). The role of Elder is to protect and to make sure the congregation is spiritually fed (Acts 20:28-32).
At Solace Church, we are “Staff led and Elder protected”. Our staff operates with the pastoral gift to spiritually feed and equip, while the Elders protect by making sure we are on course with our mission and maintain biblical teaching that is in agreement with the commands of Jesus.
Is an Elder required to be Older?
Age is a factor is being and Elder but not a requirement in the New Testament. Titus 1:5-10 uses the word “Elder” (presbyteros in Greek) and “Overseer” (episkopos in Greek) interchangeably. This is important because the Apostle Paul makes an emphasis on the qualification and duties rather than the age of an overseer.
Wisdom and spiritual maturity often come with experience, but age does not assume spiritual maturity. The Apostle Paul charged Timothy to the responsibilities of an elder over the church at Ephesus (Ephesian 1:3-4). Paul also encouraged Timothy in his role even though he was young (Ephesians 4:11-12).
Why does Solace only allow men to be Elders?
This issue has been in debate for many years in the Christian Church. There are bible believing, spirit-led Christians on different sides of this issue. At Solace we look to several scriptures in the bible to come to this position.
The New Testament consistently describes the role of Elder for men (1 Timothy 3:1-7, Titus 1:5-9). The New Testament also describes the role of headship by men in the family and makes the analogy to the church (Ephesians 5:22-24).
We believe that women are gifted by God for roles of leadership in the Church. A woman is described as a deacon by the Apostle Paul (Romans 16:1, diakonon or deaconess in Greek). The New Testament describes women in very significant leadership roles in the life of the Church (Acts 16:14-15, 18:18,26).
Can an Elder be divorced?
Like other issues regarding biblical interpretation, there are Christian leaders on several sides of this issue. At Solace, we believe there are circumstances where a divorced man can serve as an Elder.
The qualifications of an elder in 1 Timothy 3:1-7 and Titus 1:5-9 make mention of a “husband of one wife”. This is the only mention to sexual purity for an elder yet the New Testament talks abundantly that sexual purity is a sign of Christian maturity (1 Corinthians 6:18, 1 Thessalonians 4:3-5,Colossians 3:5, Hebrews 13:4) The emphasis for an Elder is to be sexually pure by being faithful to his one and only wife.
The New Testament allows for divorce in cases of adultery (Matthew 19:9). There are other circumstances of unbelief, abuse or abandonment that could be allowable (1 Corinthians 7:15). If an Elder candidate is divorced it is not an automatic disqualification but would be an issue to discuss further in the interview process.
Will the congregation be allowed to vote on individual candidates?
There are no biblical guidelines on this issue. There are actually no New Testament examples of the congregation voting on any decisions in the church. Yet the Church should be made up of men and women who have gifts of wisdom and discernment. Our bylaws allow for congregational votes on several issues which includes appointing elders (Solace Church Bylaws 3.03)
It seems reasonable to allow the congregation to vote on each individual candidate nominated for Elder. The process for this will be explained before the vote during the annual business meeting.
How will candidates be nominated?
The congregation is encouraged to seek God’s guidance then approach men they think will serve well in the role of Elder. If the man feels encouraged by others and led by God to be considered for the role, they will fill out an application. The application will require at least two individuals who recommend the candidate for Elder. This is a strong endorsement by others that they see Christian Maturity in the man.
The candidates who fill out an application will be interviewed by a nomination team assembled by the current Elders which includes the Lead Pastor. The church bylaws allow the Elder Team to assemble the nomination team to assist in interviewing each candidate for nomination (bylaws 4.03). The names of the nomination team will be made known to the congregation.
Once the Elder nomination team has completed interviews for every applicant, they will bring before the congregation the men they believe God is leading to serve as Elder. The names of the nominated men will be available several weeks before the annual business meeting.