Guide: Leadership through Service

At GPC we are committed to developing leaders and cultivating a thriving church.

For lack of guidance a nation falls, but many advisers make a victory sure.

Proverbs 11:14

Both the development of leaders and the cultivation of a thriving church necessitate that we each be invested in the decisions of the church. Because we are representational in our government, that doesn’t mean that every decision has to pass through every member, but it does mean that all are invited to enter into the process both in serving on ministry teams which lead us in ministry to one another and Kernersville, but also in appeals made to ministry teams and team leaders regarding opportunities that are out there.

According to Proverbs, our seeking to guide and being willing to be guided greatly increases our chances of success. Guidance involves engagement, and it involves submission. When we speak of engagement, we are speaking to entering into the battle of ministry, when we speak of submission, we are speaking of coming under (sub-) the mission of the church. Only in our mutual submission–not because some are better than others–but out of reverence for Christ will we be able to move forward together.

The Governing Of The Church: Presbyterian

The Head of the Church
Jesus Christ is the Head of the Church and the source of all its authority (Matt. 23:10; John 13:13; 1 Cor. 12:5; Eph. 1:20-23; 4:11-12; 5:23-24). He rules the Church, not by force, but by His Word and Spirit. All human officers in the church are clothed with the authority of Christ and must submit to the control of His Word.

The designation Presbyterian comes from the New Testament Greek word presbuteros, which means elder. Thus it means “elder-ian”-ecclesiastical government by presbyters, or elders. The NT uses several other words used to describe this office in the church: episcopos (which literally means overseer: epi-, over + skopos, watchman-sometimes translated “bishop”) and poimenos (shepherd). It is important to note that these words or titles are used interchangeably with presbuteros. The clearest examples of this are Titus 1:5-7, where elder and overseer are used interchangeably, and in Acts 20:17,28 and 1 Peter 5:1-3, where elder, shepherd, and overseer are all three used interchangeably).

Elders. Frequent mention is made of elders in the Acts of the Apostles (11:30; 14:23; 15:2,6; 16:4; 20:17; and 21:18). Paul’s pattern of church-planting included the identification/equipping/ordination of elders in each church. This was not done immediately, but after some period of waiting and with prayer and fasting (Acts 14:21-23). The portions of the NT which address the qualifications of the offices of elder are found in the pastoral epistles (1 & 2 Timothy, Titus) in 1 Timothy 3:1-7; 4:14; 5:17-19; and Titus 1:5-9. Two additional biblical inferences concerning elders:

  1. There were many of them. Rule consists of a plurality of elders (James 5:14; Acts 14:23). It follows that the only legitimate one-man rule in the church is that of the one Man whom Peter calls “the chief Shepherd.”
  2. There may be two kinds of them-those who direct the affairs of the church and those who teach (ruling elders and teaching elders-1 Tim. 5:17).

Deacons. In addition to the office of elder, the New Testament also speaks of deacons. Philippians is addressed “to all the saints in Christ Jesus at Philippi, together with the overseers and deacons” (Phil. 1:1). 1 Timothy 3:8-10, 12-13 discusses qualifications of the office of deacon. The prevailing opinion is that the institution of this office is recorded in Acts 6:1-6:

In those days when the number of disciples was increasing, the Grecian Jews among them complained against the Hebraic Jews because their widows were being overlooked in the daily distribution of food. So the Twelve gathered all the disciples together and said, “It would not be right for us to neglect the ministry of the word of God in order to wait on tables. Brothers, choose seven men from among you who are known to be full of the Spirit and wisdom. We will turn this responsibility over to them and will give our attention to prayer and the ministry of the word.”

This proposal pleased the whole group. They chose Stephen, a man full of faith and of the Holy Spirit; also Philip, Procorus, Nicanor, Timon, Parmenas, and Nicolas from Antioch, a convert to Judaism. They presented these men to the apostles, who prayed and laid their hands on them.

The word we translate “deacon” is the Greek diaconos, which means “servant”. It is an office of sympathy and service, after the example of our Lord Jesus. In Mark 10:45 we learn that not even the Son of Man-Jesus-came to “be deaconed,” but “to deacon,” and to give his life a ransom for many.