What is an Elder?
Elders at Westover have two primary responsibilities: Governance (1 Tim 5:17, 3:4-5, Acts 20:28, 1 Peter 5:2, 1 Thess 5:12, Acts 14:23, Heb 13:17) and Teaching (Ephesians 4:11-12, 1 Tim 3:2, 5:17, Titus 1:9). Our Elders are divided into four functioning teams – Vision, Leadership, Shepherding, and Biblical Studies.
What are the responsibilities of Elders at Westover?
- Enact church policy, along with the Pastors, while setting the direction of the church (Acts 15:22)
- Lead, teach, and preach within the body (1 Timothy 5:17)
- Exhort and refute – protecting the Westover body from doctrinal error (Titus 1:9)
- Act as shepherds, setting an example for all (1 Peter 5:1-3).
- Devote themselves first to prayer and to the ministry of the Word, while delegating ministry assignments to gifted and qualified individuals (Acts 6:3-4)
- Interview new members, to get to know them and ensure they understand the membership commitments of Westover.
“The saying is trustworthy: If anyone aspires to the office of overseer, he desires a noble task. Therefore an overseer must be above reproach, the husband of one wife, sober-minded, self-controlled, respectable, hospitable, able to teach, not a drunkard, not violent but gentle, not quarrelsome, not a lover of money. He must manage his own household well, with all dignity keeping his children submissive, for if someone does not know how to manage his own household, how will he care for God’s church? He must not be a recent convert, or he may become puffed up with conceit and fall into the condemnation of the devil. Moreover, he must be well thought of by outsiders, so that he may not fall into disgrace, into a snare of the devil.” (1 Timothy 3:1-7 ESV)
“This is why I left you in Crete, so that you might put what remained into order, and appoint elders in every town as I directed you—if anyone is above reproach, the husband of one wife, and his children are believers and not open to the charge of debauchery or insubordination. For an overseer, as God’s steward, must be above reproach. He must not be arrogant or quick-tempered or a drunkard or violent or greedy for gain, but hospitable, a lover of good, self-controlled, upright, holy, and disciplined. He must hold firm to the trustworthy word as taught, so that he may be able to give instruction in sound doctrine and also to rebuke those who contradict it.” (Titus 1:5-9 ESV)
At Westover Church, each Elder must consent to the Articles of Faith in the Westover Church Constitution. He must be a man of exemplary Christian conduct who is devoted in attendance and service to Westover Church. He must also have served at Westover for at least one year as a Deacon.
What is the Elders’ relationship to the congregation?
Elders are called and appointed by God, confirmed by the church body, and ordained to shepherd the local body of believers. They are responsible for modeling biblical lifestyles. Hebrews 13:7 and 17 emphasize both the responsibility to live as an example, manifesting virtue in his lifestyle, and the church’s desire to follow this example.
“Remember your leaders, those who spoke to you the word of God. Consider the outcome of their way of life, and imitate their faith.” (Hebrews 13:7 ESV)
“Obey your leaders and submit to them, for they are keeping watch over your souls, as those who will have to give an account. Let them do this with joy and not with groaning, for that would be of no advantage to you.” (Hebrews 13:17 ESV)
Who are the Elders and how are they selected?
On-session Elders identify qualified men and present them to the membership of Westover for confirmation each year. Elder candidates are selected by observing the life and ministry of men as they serve at Westover. There is a formal interview process with each Elder candidate. Once confirmed by the membership, Elders serve a four-year term.
What are the responsibilities of the four Elder Sub-teams?
The four Elder sub-teams are Vision, Leadership, Shepherding, and Biblical Studies.
The Vision Team serves to set the vision and direction of Westover Church.
The Leadership Team serves to establish, develop, and call new leaders into service at Westover Church.
The Shepherding Team serves to ensure the body of Christ is effectively shepherded and cared for.
The Biblical Studies Team serves to establish Westover’s position on a variety of theological, doctrinal, social, moral, and political issues.
“Obey your leaders and submit to their authority. They keep watch over you as men who must give an account. Obey them so that their work will be a joy, not a burden, for that would be of no advantage to you.” Hebrews 13:17