Fellowship Church Lubbock is an elder-led church.
We believe that the New Testament is clear in it’s establishment of a plurality of equally qualified elders as the principal leadership of the local church. There is no distinction between “pastors” and “elders” in scripture. Elders are pastors, and pastors are elders. There might be one pastor of Fellowship Church Lubbock that preaches most often, or has more evident duties, but one elder does not operate as the “CEO” of the church – rather, he is one of a team of “equals”; all elders share the leadership responsibilities of teaching, preaching God’s Word, prayer, and shepherding the local congregation.
For more information about FCL’s current Elders, please see the “Staff” page.
Elders: At Fellowship Church Lubbock, we believe that God provides the individuals who are selected and qualified to be Elders.
Elders are recruited and trained by the existing elders, with the advice and input of the management team (deacons) and congregation, by the leading of the Holy Spirit.
As described in the by-laws of the church, these men are examined against the Bible’s guidelines in I Timothy 3:1-7 and Titus 1:5-9. The single, overarching qualification of which the rest are supportive is that he is to be “above reproach.” All of the other qualifications, except perhaps teaching and management skills, will be in line when a man is above reproach and a model of godliness.
According to these passages, an elder must be:
– above reproach
– the husband of one wife (a “one-woman man”)
– managing his household well
– in dignified control of believing children (if applicable)
– bearing a good reputation outside the church
– free from the love of money
– a lover of what is good
– able to teach
– able to exhort in sound doctrine
– able to refute those who contradict
– a faithful steward
An elder must NOT be:
– a new convert
– an addict
– fond of sordid gain
– self-willed, or
Under the guidance of an appointed elder Chairman, elder candidates go through a process of teaching and training that culminates in a formal ordination as an FCL Elder.
In biblical terminology, the primary role of an elder is to shepherd, oversee, lead, and care for the spiritual protection and development of the church.
With this in mind, the Elders at FCL have been called to:
– lead the local congregation (I Tim 5:17; Titus 1:7; I Peter 5:1–2)
– teach and preach God’s Word (I Timothy 3:2; II Timothy 4:2; Titus 1:9)
– judge doctrinal issues (Acts 15:6)
– protect the church from false teachers (Acts 20:17, 28–31)
– exhort the saints with sound doctrine (I Timothy 4:13; II Timothy 3:13–17)
– admonish the saints with sound doctrine (II Timothy 3:13–17; Titus 1:9)
– visit the sick (James 5:14)
– pray (Acts 6:4)
Deacons: The Elders of FCL are thankful to have the support of the members who serve in the biblical role of deacons. These loving, hard-working servants of the local congregation have a crucial role in the life and the health of the local church, but their role is different from the role of the elders.
In Acts 6:1–6 we find that the apostles were devoted “to prayer and to the ministry of the word”. Since this was their primary calling, seven other men were appointed to handle the practical needs of the church in order to allow the apostles the freedom needed to continue with their work. Likewise, the work of a group of deacons today provides church elders with the freedom and time needed to concentrate on their primary calling (see above).
The role of “deacon” is not described as an office of authority in the church. Rather, the Greek word, “diakonos,” which is transliterated “deacon” in some Bibles, simply means “servant.”
Potential deacons who desire to serve are examined and, if qualified, appointed to serve under the oversight of the elders to provide the practical physical and logistical needs of the church, including church finances and benevolence, the organization of the upkeep of the facilities, logistics, and the practical business of the physical church.
The Bible gives us our guidelines for selecting those who serve a deacons. They must:
– be dignified (respectable)
– not be double-tongued (two-faced/insincere)
– not be an addict (lacking self control/discipline)
– not be greedy for dishonest gain (lover of money)
– hold the mystery of the faith (believe the Gospel)
– have a clear conscience (behavior consistent with his testimony)
– be the husband of one wife (a “one-woman man”)
– be managing their children and their own households well (leading spiritually)
– be tested first
– be allowed to serve as deacons if they are proven qualified
Their spouses (if applicable) must also:
– be dignified (respectable)
– not be slanderers
– be sober-minded
– be faithful in all things.
Those who serve well as deacons “gain a good standing for themselves and also great confidence in the faith that is in Christ Jesus”. (I Timothy 3:8–13)
Each person who serves as a deacon at FCL has the heart of a servant, and a passion to serve the church and people of God.
If you’d like more information about any of the above, please contact an Elder.