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ARTICLE VII

Church Leadership Offices
There are two church leadership offices: elders and deacons/deaconesses (Philippians 1:1; 1 Timothy 3:1-13).

I. Elders

    A. Qualifications
Elders must be men who are members of North Center Baptist Church and meet the qualifications identified in 1 Timothy 3:1-7;     Titus 1:6-9; 1 Peter 5:1-4; Acts 6:4; Ephesians 4:11-17

    B. Responsibilities

        1. Primary Responsibilities
            The Elder Council is North Center’s primary leadership and administrative body. The primary responsibilities of the Elder Council are:
  • Governing the Church    
  • Overseeing the faithful teaching of the Word    
  • Overseeing the administration of the ordinances of baptism and the Lord’s Supper    
  • Overseeing the welfare and nurture of the flock of God that forms the congregation of North Center Baptist Church    
  • Correcting error and administering church discipline    
  • Equipping the congregation to do the work of ministry    
        2. Other Related Responsibilities
            Other responsibilities of the Elder Council include:
  • Overseeing the disciple-making processes, ministries, and activities of the Church    
  • Overseeing the process of preparing candidates for baptism    
  • Overseeing the process of becoming a member of North Center    
  • Overseeing all matters related to weddings and funerals    
  • Overseeing the ministry of the Deacons    
  • Provide counsel and guidance to those who are in serious violation of the Membership Covenant or whose lives threaten to bring discredit to the Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ or upon the witness of the Church 
  • Overseeing, coordinating, and promoting the ministries of the Church   
  • Mobilizing the Church for world missions   
  • Preparing a church budget to present at the annual business meeting and monitoring the finances of the Church   
  • Communicating quarterly with the congregation about the church’s status and progress regarding its ministries and vision. The Elder Council will present a progress report and vision plan at the annual business meeting.   
  • Preparing ministry descriptions for church staff positions   
  • Overseeing the ministry effectiveness of church staff   
  • Recommending and overseeing ordinations, licensings, and commissionings   
  • Representing the church in all legal matters   
    C. Elder Council
Members of the Elder Council shall be men who meet the qualifications in item A.1. above and have been ordained to the elder ministry.

1. The Senior Pastor will be a member of the Elder Council.

2. The Scriptures indicate that some elders (such as senior pastor) are called to special devotion to the faithful preaching and teaching of the Word and should, therefore, be duly compensated (1 Tim.5:17-18). Since these salaried elders are accountable to the Elder Council and since the Elder Council makes recommendations regarding their salaries, a majority of the members of the Elder Council must not be employed by North Center Baptist Church.

    D. Appointment of Elders
The Scriptures indicate that elders in the Church are not appointed by men, but by God (Acts 20:28). The task of the people in the Church, then, should be to seek and discover God's direction and leading within the Church body in the appointment of elders. The purpose of North Center Baptist Church’s elder selection process is to discern and affirm those whom God has called to this ministry. The whole congregation should be alert for men whose lives are characterized by the qualifications laid out in the Bible (as identified in section A.1. above). Any member of the church may recommend to the Elder Council men whom they consider to be biblically qualified.

The elders will prayerfully consider all the nominees and examine their qualifications for the position of elder. The Council will approach each qualified nominee to explain the specific nature of     the office of elder and to determine his willingness to serve (1 Tim. 5:22). If the elder nominee(s) is willing to serve, and the Elder Council affirms that the nominee(s) is qualified, the nominee(s) must begin a probationary period with the Elder Council for at least one year that will involve mentoring, instruction, and observation. Following this probationary period the Elder Council may recommend the nominee(s) to the Church body as a candidate for ordination and appointment to the Council. The Council of Elders shall present a ballot of candidates for calling or reaffirmation as Elders to the congregation at the annual meeting. The Council of Elders may also nominate candidates for election to office at a special business meeting, provided that the written ballot of nominees is available for review in the church office at least fourteen days in advance of the meeting - and is announced in the Sunday morning worship and/or to the church’s active members by mail at least fourteen days in advance of the meeting. Candidates must be affirmed by at least 75% of those voting in order to be ordained, appointed, or re-appointed. Candidates who have been previously ordained do not need to be re-ordained.

    E. Tenure
       
1. Terms
Elders are appointed to serve a three-year term and may be re-appointed to serve a second consecutive three-year term if reaffirmed by a 75% vote of the members of the congregation. After two consecutive terms, an elder must rotate off the Council for at least one year. Such inactive elders may be re-appointed to the Council by a 75% vote of the members of the congregation.

2. Voluntary Resignation
An elder may resign at any time he so chooses. The Elder should prayerfully reflect on his decision and seek advice from the Council before making a final decision.

3. Involuntary Dismissal
Involuntary dismissal of any elder will be a disciplinary action of the church body in accordance with the instruction of 1 Timothy 5:19-20; Galatians 6:1 and Matthew 18:15-18.
If the Elder Council decides that a situation exists that necessitates dismissal from office, the Council may suggest voluntary resignation by the person involved. If he refuses, or believes he has been unfairly treated, then it is to be brought before the congregation to hear the issues and to allow the person concerned to present his case. It will then be decided by a majority vote of the body at a congregational meeting. The body must be informed of such meeting at least two weeks prior to the time of the meeting.
If an elder who has been removed from office desires later to repent and become reconciled to the congregation, he may enter voluntarily into a one-year restoration program with the Elder Council. During that time the person is to meet with an appointed elder(s) for prayer, mentoring, and counseling. After the restoration program is successfully completed, the elders will recommend the person’s reconciliation be affirmed by the congregation. The reconciled person will not be eligible to serve as an elder for at least four more years.

    F. The Congregation’s Responsibility Regarding the Elders
Since elders are appointed by God to provide leadership in the Church, the Bible instructs congregations to:
  • Respect and honor its elders (1 Thessalonians 5:12-13; 1 Timothy 5:17-20)
  • Submit to their leadership (Hebrews 13:17)   
  • Pray for them to lead well, maintain a clear conscience, and live honorably (Hebrews 13:18)
    G. Selection of Senior Pastor

        1. Responsibilities
        The Senior Pastor shall:
a. Be an elder and shall be responsible to lead the Church in accomplishing its mission and in overseeing the welfare of the congregation.
b. Preach and teach the Bible and conduct public worship services.
c. Serve as moderator at all business meetings.

        2. Calling of the Senior Pastor
Whenever a Senior Pastor vacancy occurs, the Elder Council will invite members of the Church to submit nominations of people to serve on the Pastor Search Committee. After receiving nominations, the Elder Council will choose those who will be recommended to the Church to be elected to serve on the Pastor Search Committee. The Pastor Search Committee will prayerfully seek God’s leading as it conducts a search for a prospective pastor. The Elder Council must approve any prospective candidate before he will be presented to the Church for consideration.

Only one prospect at a time will be recommended to the Church. The Church will be given an opportunity to assess the preaching gift of the prospective Senior Pastor before voting to extend a call. At a special business meeting, with notice being given at least one week in advance, the Church will vote on the recommended candidate by secret ballot. An affirmative vote of at least 85% is necessary for a call to be extended to the candidate. The Senior Pastor will serve until the relationship is terminated at either the pastor's or the Church's request. The request for termination must be made by a 75% vote of the Elder Council and a 75% vote by the Church. A thirty-day's notice must be given before the termination of the pastor's responsibilities, unless otherwise mutually agreed upon.

    H. Selection of Paid Ministerial Staff
The Elder Council will recommend candidates for staff ministry positions other than Senior Pastor to the Church for approval at a business meeting. Ministerial staff will carry out specific areas of ministry under the direction of the Elder Council.

    I. Hiring and Terminating of Support Staff
The Elder Council is empowered by the Church to hire and to terminate the employment of custodial, secretarial and other support staff for whom funds have been approved in the church budget.

II. Deacons / Deaconesses

    A. Definition
The Deacons assist the Council of Elders primarily by caring for and ministering to the needs of those in the congregation.

    B. Qualifications
Deacons must be members of North Center and meet the qualifications identified in Acts 6:1-8 and 1 Timothy 3:8-12. Deacons may be men and/or women (cf., 1 Timothy 3:11).

    C. Responsibilities
        The responsibilities of Deacons are to:
  • Pray for and spiritually encourage the families/individuals assigned to the deacon’s care
  • Contact those assigned families/individuals who have been absent from worship services
  • Pray for and visit assigned families/individuals in times of  illness, need, crisis, etc., and work with the church to  provide material and practical assistance when required
  • Assist with preparations for and administration of baptism and the Lord’s Supper
    D. Election
The Council of Elders will assume a guiding and directing role in selection of Deacons. The decision to seek a new Deacon(s) will be announced to the church. The congregation will be asked to suggest qualified prospects for the position based on the biblical criteria for Deacons (see qualification passages listed in section B.2. above).

After a time of prayerful consideration, the Elders will meet to consider all the nominees and to examine their qualifications for the position. The Council will approach each qualified nominee to explain the specific nature and function of the office of Deacon and to determine the person’s willingness to serve.

The Council of Elders shall present a ballot of candidates for calling or reaffirmation as Deacon to the congregation at the annual meeting. The Council of Elders may also nominate candidates for election at a special business meeting, provided that the written ballot of nominees is available for review in the church office at least fourteen days in advance of the meeting - and is announced in the Sunday morning worship and/or to the church’s active members by mail at least fourteen days in advance of the meeting.

Candidates must be affirmed by at least 75% of those voting in order to be appointed or re-appointed as a Deacon.

    E. Tenure   

Deacons are appointed to serve a three-year term and may be re-appointed to serve a second consecutive three-year term if reaffirmed by a 75% vote of the members of the congregation. After two consecutive terms, a deacon must rotate off the Council for at least one year. Such inactive deacons may be re-appointed to the Council by a 75% vote of the members of the congregation.

        1. Voluntary Resignation
A Deacon may resign at any time he so chooses after prayerful consideration.

        2. Involuntary Dismissal
Involuntary dismissal of any Deacon will be a disciplinary action of the church body in accordance with the instruction of 1 Timothy 5:19-20; Galatians 6:1 and Matthew 18:15-18.

If the Elder Council decides that a situation exists that necessitates the dismissal of a Deacon, the Council may suggest voluntary resignation by the person involved. If he refuses, or believes he has been unfairly treated, then it is to be brought before the congregation to hear the issues and to allow the person concerned to present his case. It will then be decided by a majority vote of the body at a congregational meeting. The body must be informed of such meeting at least two weeks prior to the time of the meeting.

If a deacon who has been removed from office desires later to repent and become reconciled to the congregation, he or she may enter voluntarily into a one-year restoration program with the Elder Council. During that time the person is to meet with an appointed elder(s) for prayer, mentoring, and counseling. After the restoration program is successfully completed, the elders will recommend the person’s reconciliation be affirmed by the congregation. The reconciled person will not be eligible to serve as a deacon for at least four more years.


North Center exists to glorify God by making disciples who know Christ, grow in Him and show their love for Him