Memorise 1 Timothy 5:17
“Let the elders that rule well be counted worthy of double honour…”
WHAT IS OUR FORM OF CHURCH GOVERNMENT?
A Presbyterian Church, as its name implies, is run by elders or “Presbyters” (The word ‘elder’ in the Bible is from the Greek word ‘presbuteros’). Church elders are members who are deemed to be the most spiritually mature. They are elected every 3 years by the congregation to form the managing body of the church, the Board of Elders (BOE). The BOE consists of both ‘Teaching Elders’, who are the pastors, and the ‘Ruling Elders’ who are laypersons that are likewise tasked with the oversight of the church. The BOE meets regularly to discuss issues related the spiritual direction and governance of the church. They would be the leaders of the congregation to make decisions on spiritual, theological, moral and visionary matters on behalf of the church. The Pastor is an Elder who has a special role of preaching God’s Word to the congregation because of his theological training and his ability to teach and instruct. He is also usually the moderator of the BOE.
The Biblical basis for this form of government comes from Acts 15:6, when the Apostles and Elders came together to discuss spiritual matters which affected believers. They met to decide how to tackle the problem of false teachings that had crept into the church, undermining the faith of the congregation. Likewise, the church Presbyters or Elders are expected to watch over the spiritual welfare of the congregation and to lead, instruct and protect them as per the biblical precedent set in Acts 15:6. Such a system is wise, for in the plurality of elders, there is safety. No decision is made unless there is unanimous agreement from these spiritual men. If they are truly men of God who seek only to obey God’s Word and do His will, then the church is in safe hands indeed.
Do you know who are the leaders of your church? Do you trust them and regard them well as men of faith? The Bible tells us that we ought to give double honour to those who rule well, knowing the heavy responsibilities and many duties that they have. On our part, we would do well to pray for them, and assist them in any way possible. After all, as a church, we are one body in Christ, and as members of this body, we all have a part to play!
Thought: Church leaders may be elected by the congregation but ultimately it is God who places and keeps them in their positions.
Prayer: O Lord, thank You for raising faithful men who are empowered by You to lead and protect us.