Our church’s bylaws have been updated to follow the elder-led model presented in Scripture.
A Congregational church is unique, in that the overall (human) governing authority is in the direct hands of the congregation. The leadership recommends elders, the congregation votes them in, then the elders are responsible for guiding the congregation in spiritual matters, following the guidance of Scripture and His will by prayer. More on this in detail below.
The bylaws were originally made available to the congregation in 2014, and approved by the membership who attended in February 2015. A small amendment was made regarding membership requirements and ministry positions, which was approved by attending members at the April 25, 2017 Ministry Meeting.
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Biblical Leadership, Congregational Authority
In the Bible, the leaders of the church were given authority to lead the church. They were called to pray fervently for the church and were responsible for the church’s direction. Beyond just being “congregational,” we want to make sure we’re biblical.
In the Bible we see the leaders teaching, preaching (Acts 2), collecting and distributing the money (Acts 4:34-35), delegating ministry tasks (Acts 6:1-7), commissioning missionaries (Acts 13:1-3), governing the affairs of the church, etc… We would like to follow that model, with godly leaders who love the Lord, read their Bibles, pray for the church and direct the various ministries within the church.
We also see the church granting them this authority and trusting their leadership (I Tim 5:17-20). We know that all people are sinful and make mistakes, and that’s why, as a congregational church, the members have the authority to remove a leader.