High Pointe Statement on Elder Nominations

“The saying is trustworthy: If anyone aspires to the office of overseer, he desires a noble task. Therefore, an overseer must be above reproach, . . .” (1 Timothy 3:1-2, ESV).
According to our confession of faith (the 1853 New Hampshire Confession, Article XIII), we, High Pointe, confess together that the only officers of a gospel church “are elders (also called pastors) and deacons, whose qualifications, claims, and duties are defined in the Epistles to Timothy and Titus.”
Our constitution and by-laws explain how we, as a church, understand the role of such officers and carry out their election. Regarding elders, as noted in Article V, section 2, we agree that “subject to the will of the congregation, the elders shall oversee the ministry and resources of the church. In keeping with the principles set forth in Acts 6:1-6 and 1 Peter 5:1-4, the elders shall devote their time to prayer, the ministry of the Word (by teaching and encouraging sound doctrine), and shepherding God’sflock.”

Further, “the church shall recognize men gifted and willing to serve in this calling, nominated to a three-year term by the body of elders, and affirmed by the congregation according to the constitutional provisions on elections. These men shall be received as a gift of Christ to His church and set apart as elders. After an elder, other than the preaching pastor or staff elder(s), has served two consecutive three-year terms, he may only be elected to the office of elder after a sabbatical of at least one year.”

Our constitutional provisions on elections (Article VII, section 2) state that “the election of officers shall be held at a members’ meeting of the church. The names of nominees to serve as elders or deacons shall be presented publicly to the congregation for at least two weeks before the election, and the election shall proceed as directed by the moderator.”

What is the role of the congregation in this process? The elders are always open to receiving recommendations from the congregation regarding men whom you may believe to be qualified for the office of elder. Whom should the church consider as qualified candidates for church office? Consider these four “C”s:

  • Character: Men of godly character, as outlined in 1 Timothy 3:1-14; Titus 1:5-16. The basis character quality of a godly man is above reproach. To be above reproach means that when (not if) accusations come against an elder, they do not stick because that man is not characterized by what he is being the accusation against him. Paul shares four areas in which an elder must be above reproach:
    • Above reproach in his character: the elder, though not expected to be perfect, must be aman who pursues holiness and is characterized by fighting sin: “sober-minded, self-controlled, respectable, hospitable, . . . not a drunkard, not violent but gentle, not quarrelsome, not a lover of money (1 Tim.3:2-3)
  • Above reproach in his family life: the elder must be a man who has first displayed maturity in shepherding his own household well. He must be faithful to his wife, not neglecting her but loving her and caring for her; he must be faithful in his parenting, disciplining his children. If someone cannot manage his own house, how will he be able to manage God’s house ( 1 Tim. 3:4-5)
  • Above reproach in his public life: the elder must also be well thought of by outsiders (1 Tim. 3:7). How will an elder lead if he does not have a reputable name?
  • Conviction: An elder must also be a man of biblical convictions and above reproach in his doctrinal life. He must be a mature and maturing believer (not a new convert). “He must hold firm to the trustworthy word as taught, so that he may be able to give instruction in sound doctrine and also to rebuke those who contradict it” (Titus1:9).
  • Care: The word “pastor” indicates feeding, protecting, caring for a flock. Pastors or elders, then, are called to “shepherd the flock of God that is among you” with love and compassion, leading by example (1 Peter 5:1-4). Here’s some evidence that shows whether or not men care for the flock: They are with the flock when we gather on the Lord’s Day (am/pm). They are with us when we publicly care for one another in our members’ meetings. They care by displaying deeds of love for other members (prayer for members, visitation of the sick or shut-in, practicing hospitality with other members of High Pointe); they care for other brothers by engaging in discipling relationships, and they care for unbelievers by sharing the gospel.
  • Competent: While Scripture emphasizes character over competency, the elder must be a man who is “able to teach” (1 Timothy 3:2). And though “apt to teach” does not necessarily mean an elder must be a preacher, an elder must be able to , not only teach God’s people God’s word in various settings, he must also be able to refute opponents of the gospel with kindness and patience so that the Lord may grant even these gospel enemies repentance (2 Timothy2:24-26).
  • These four “C”s observed over time (1 Timothy5:22) produce credibility. So, at High Pointe , we, elders , utilize the following leadership formula when observing men at High Pointe:
C (character) + C (conviction) + C (care) +C (competency)= Credibility T (time)
Article VII, section 2 or our constitution states, “any member with reason to believe that a nominated candidate is unqualified for an office should express such concern to the elders. Members intending to speak in opposition to a candidate should express their objection to the elders as far in advance as possible before the relevant church members’ meeting.”
Finally, the congregation has the responsibility to affirm its leadership. “The moderator shall declare elected all individuals receiving a two-thirds majority of all votes cast…of the members present and eligible to vote” (article VII, section 2).

Official Nomination on 10 February 2019

In accordance with our statement of faith and constitution and by-laws, the elders nominate Jaime Francisco as an elder candidate for your consideration. You will have two months to pray for and consider his candidacy. At our next members’ meeting on the second Sunday evening in April (14 April 2019), we will present Jaime Francisco for your affirmation as an elder.
Again, any questions about elder candidates, or any elder for that matter, should be addressed to the elders “as far in advance as possible before the relevant church members’ meeting.”
Please pray for our elders and for Jaime over these next two months. Consider his life to see if he meets the qualifications of an elder. If you have questions or concerns about Jaime, please feel free to address your concerns with one of the elders. If you have a personal difference, then Scripture commands you to address such matters directly with Jaime.
On behalf of the elders, let me say that it is a great joy to shepherd High Pointe. You are a wonderful congregation and spiritually responsive to our leadership. I pray that the Lord will continue to raise up men like our present elders and like Jaime to shepherd High Pointe into the presence of Christ.