How Our Church Is Lead
While Scripture does not give us an exact model for the governance of the church, it does outline for us the qualifications and responsibilities of leaders, the proper use of spiritual gifts, the exercise of discipline, the judging of doctrinal issues, etc. The following is what we at Redemption Hill believe to be a biblically viable and faithful expression of church governance.
While Jesus is the Chief Shepherd over the church universal, He also appoints men to oversee and care for local expression of the church. The terminology used for this singular position/office is threefold: overseer/bishop, elder, and pastor. These three terms are used interchangeably and synonymously in the New Testament as they display different and plural aspects of the same position and responsibilities. For example, Peter uses elder (presbuteros), overseer (episkopos), and shepherd (poimen) in his exhortation to leaders in 1 Peter 5:1–2. Without here developing a well-reasoned exegetical and theological argument (which is beyond the scope of this work), it seems safe to say that the New Testament describes elders as pastors and overseers who are to shepherd the flock of God, protect the flock, watch for and guard against wolves, be examples to the flock, visit and pray for the sick, exercise oversight in the church, take care of the church, preach and teach in the church, exhort in sound doctrine, and refute those who contradict. Scripture also gives us a clear list of qualifications for those who would be appointed to such positions (1 Timothy 3; Titus 1—2; 1 Peter 5:1–3).
Redemption Hill holds to the concept of shared leadership, or a plurality of elders in the local church. This concept is seen throughout the Scripture. Shared leadership is found in the Old Testament priesthood and the elders of Israel, in Jesus’ founding of the apostolate, and in the Pauline protocol for establishing elders in the church. Examples of the plurality of elders and shared leadership abound in the New Testament (Acts 13:1;14:23;15; 20:17–28, 1 Corinthians 15:15–16, Philippians 1:1; 1 Timothy 5:17; Titus 1:5; 1 Thessalonians 5:12–13; Hebrews 13:7,17,24; James 5:14–15; 1 Peter 5:1–2). Shared leadership is not a hindrance but rather a great benefit, because it allows leaders to share responsibilities and burdens that would overwhelm a single leader and perhaps hinder him from caring for the whole body. Shared leadership also provides much-needed moral and administrative accountability, care, and support. Therefore, Redemption Hill is an elder led and protected church. The final authority for the church, under God, rests with the Elders.