Eldership Affirmation

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eathumbIt is with joy and anticipation that I write to inform our family of faith about the proposed affirmation of Varughese George and Zander Viljoen to the eldership of BBC.

At the turn of this century (that sounds strange), BBC underwent a significant constitutional change in the government of the church. Though we had been practicing the biblical pattern of a plurality of pastors for several years, it was at this time when we officially and constitutionally made the change.

The Scriptures teach that the Lord desires a plurality of biblically qualified men (see 1 Timothy 3:1–7; Titus 1:5–9) to lead, give heed and feed His flock. The office that such men hold is identified by three different terms: bishop (overseer), pastor and elder. The names are interchangeable and the responsibilities the same. We at BBC prefer the title “pastor” or “elder.”

Regardless of where such a man receives his paycheque, each elder carries the responsibility, identified above, of giving oversight to the local church. It is a weighty responsibility and therefore is not to be accepted lightly but is rather to be entered into soberly, and in the fear of God.

For at least two years, Varughese and Zander have been undergoing an internship under the present eldership. This has given both the eldership and the congregation as a whole the opportunity to observe their character (and that of their families), their competency and their commitment to care for the flock. They have fared well. Therefore, the eldership is persuaded that the time has come for their appointment to the eldership, thus investing them with the full authority of the office.

BBC practices the biblical pattern of leaders appointing leaders. But coupled with this is the recognition that such appointed leaders receive the affirmation of the wider congregation. It would be unwise, in most cases, for the eldership to appoint elders whom the majority of the church was persuaded they could not in good conscience follow. Therefore, in terms of BBC’s constitution, the congregation is being informed of our desire to appoint these men to the eldership, and we are now calling upon you to either affirm or to reject this appointment.

BBC does not vote on the appointment of elders, in the sense of a formal procedure. However, we do vote in the sense of vocalising any concerns with reference to such appointment. If, after observing these men, you have reservations concerning their appointment to the eldership, we encourage you to either speak directly to them or to one of the elders. We will then share your concerns with them directly.

After this period of feedback from the congregation (the constitution calls for four weeks), and assuming there is a majority of corporate support, we will gather as a church on 5 August to affirm their appointment by ordaining (the word means “to appoint”) them to the eldership.

In closing, let me remind us all that the Lord Jesus, the chief Shepherd, appoints qualified men as undershepherds to care for His own. Over the next several weeks, give due consideration as to whether these men are those whom you can follow (Hebrews 13:7, 17).

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