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. The word “pastor” simply means “shepherd,” and the role is also referred to as “overseer” in Scripture. There may be one pastor of Fellowship Church Lubbock that preaches most often, or one elder that has more evident duties, but FCL does not have a particular elder that operates as the “CEO” of the church – rather, he is one of a team of “equals.” Each elder shares the shepherding responsibilities of teaching and preaching God’s Word, as well as praying for, and ministering to, the individuals that make up 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 men who are qualified and selected to be Elders. Elders are led to their role by the Holy Spirit and their desire to serve will be evident to themselves and to the congregation. At FCL, elder candidates are observed, selected, examined, trained, and ultimately appointed by the current elders with consideration of the advice, input, and approval of the deacons and congregation.
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 remainder 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 scripture
– 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 men and women who serve in the biblical role of deacons. These loving, hard-working servants have a crucial role in the life and health of the local church. Their role, however, 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 deacons today provides church elders with the freedom and time needed to concentrate on their primary calling (see above). As with Elders, God provides the individuals who are qualified and selected to be Deacons.
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 will usually make themselves known by their loving desire to serve. Those who have given evidence of that desire will be observed for a time and, if seemingly qualified, will be nominated and examined. If qualified, they will ultimately be appointed to serve as deacons under the oversight of the elders. Paul commends Phoebe as being such a servant in Romans 16:1.
The Bible gives us our guidelines for selecting those men and women who serve a deacons. Deacons must:
– be dignified (respectable)
– not be double-tongued ( or two-faced/insincere)
– not be an addict (or lacking self control/discipline)
– not be greedy for dishonest gain (a lover of money)
– hold the mystery of the faith (believe and live out 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
The women particularly must also:
– be dignified (respectable)
– not be slanderers (gossips, tale-bearers)
– be sober-minded (not an addict or lacking self-control/discipline)
– be faithful in all things.
Qualified deacons at FCL serve the elders and the church body by taking care of the practical needs of the church, including:
– meeting, fellowship, and travel logistics,
– finances and benevolence,
– greeting and ushering,
– caring for physically ill, infirm and elderly members,
– organizing and performing the upkeep of the facilities,
– praying for and serving the congregation and guests,
– and much more.
We want to be clear that a faithful deacon not only serves a physical need, but also provides a spiritual service to the Body of Christ in the performance of their practical duties! (Matthew 25:35-40) Indeed, we are also promised that 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)
FCL is blessed to have deacons who each have a bond-servant’s heart, and a passion to serve the people of God.
If you’d like more information about any of the above, please contact an Elder.