The elders here at C3 are Danny Jones, Butch Gross, and Rick Cease. What is their role at Celebration?
Biblically, the term elder means overseer. The idea being the elders would serve as shepherds of the church while overseeing the administration the ministry. The primary role of the shepherd of the church is not seeing someone when they are sick or calling on someone when they miss church (that is the role of the church body- a common misunderstanding). Their primary role, per the example of the Apostles, is to pray and to teach (Acts 6). When it comes to the other ministerial roles they are to delegate those functions to other servants in the church (Acts 6).
In the New Testament the elders were appointed (Acts 14:23, Titus 1:5). They were not voted into office. I know many people use Acts 1:26 as a proof text for voting in leaders, but clearly the early church did not follow that example. I believe this is an example of eisegesis and not exegesis. Here at C3 we appoint our elders after going through a training called Braveheart, an interview with the Elders, and then after appointment, a one month period of review from the congregation. Not everyone is qualified to be an Elder. According passages in 1 Timothy and Titus an elder is to be a seasoned Christian that has a high moral character, demonstrates a passionate pursuit of holiness, and full of the Holy Spirit.
The reason we have prospective Elders go through a 6 month training course is each church is unique in the family of God and this course helps insure candidates understand our individuality. Specifically, for an eldership to successfully work together they need to be on the same page doctrinally, philosophically, and in friendliness.
The elders at our church certainly strive to follow God to the best of their ability (and then some. Most of their prayers express a dependence on God because they do not have the ability without God). Being an elder is tough position to take. It is a volunteer position, so each of our elders work full time jobs in addition to being leaders in the church. They do not get paid. Often they have to listen to the gripes and complaints of people in the church over decisions they make or be put in the middle when a person in the church complains about a staff member. This places stress on them spiritually and on their families too. Many times, when the minister messes up and leaves the church it’s the Elders that are left to clean up the mess they leave behind. Really, to be an elder you have to believe in it because why would anyone put up with the frustration willingly?
I appreciate my Elders. They put up with a lot from me, their minister. I am constantly pushing, pulling, throwing one idea after another out there and they listen to me. They pray for me. I covet that more than anything. I admit I enjoy working with these guys. They have done a lot for me and my family.
So when you get the chance please tell Rick, Butch, and Danny “Thank you.” They deserve it. They need to hear it from you. Send them a card. A note of encouragement from you truly makes a difference.