ARTICLE VI – ELDERS

We acknowledge no ecclesiastical authority other than our Lord Jesus Christ, who is Head of the Church, the Chief Shepherd, and who directs the affairs of each local church through Elders chosen and ordained according to the precepts of Holy Scripture (Acts 20:17-32; Ephesians 4:11-16; 1 Timothy 3:1-7, 5:17; Titus 1:5-9; Hebrews 13:17; 1 Peter 5:1-4). This being true, the Elders themselves are under-shepherds who stand under the authority of the Scriptures and are accountable to God and one another.

Section 1. Definitions

We understand the New Testament terms pastor-elder-bishop-overseer as referring to one and the same office (Acts 20:17,28; 1 Peter 5:1-3).

Section 2. Equality of Elders

Scripturally all elders, by calling, desire, responsibility, and accountability before the Lord of the Church, are to be recognized and respected equally as pastors-elders-overseers.

Section 3. Qualifications

Each member of the Board of Elders must be an active member of this church for at least one year and possess the qualifications described in 1 Timothy 3:1-7 and Titus 1:6-9. He shall be:

(a) He shall be a man (1 Timothy 2:12, 3:1)

(b) Blameless as a steward of God; above reproach (1 Timothy 3:2; Titus 1:6-7)

(c) Husband of one wife; a one-woman man (1 Timothy 3:2; Titus 1:6)

(d) Temperate, sober, vigilant (1 Timothy 3:2)

(e) Sober-minded, prudent (1 Timothy 3:2; Titus 1:8)

(f) Of good behavior; orderly, respectable (1 Timothy 3:2)

(g) Given to hospitality (1 Timothy 3:2, Titus 1:8)

(h) Able to teach; he can exhort believers and refute false teaching (1 Timothy 3:2, Titus 1:9)

(i) Not given to wine (1 Timothy 3:3; Titus 1:7)

(j) Not violent; not pugnacious (1 Timothy 3:3, Titus 1:7)

(k) Patient, moderate, forbearing, gentle (1 Timothy 3:3)

(l) Not a brawler; uncontentious; not soon angry or quick-tempered (1 Timothy 3:3, Titus 1:7)

(m) Not covetous; not a lover of money; not fond of sordid gain (1 Timothy 3:3, Titus 1:7)

(n) Rules well his own house; keeping his children under control with all dignity; his children are faithful, not accused of dissipation or rebellion (1 Timothy 3:4, Titus 1:6)

(o) Not a novice; not a new convert (1 Timothy 3:6)

(p) Has a good report or reputation with outsiders (1 Timothy 3:7)

(q) Not self-willed (Titus 1:7)

(r) A lover of good men and things (Titus 1:8)

(s) Just, fair (Titus 1:8)

(t) Holy, devout (Titus 1:8)

(u) Self-controlled (Titus 1:8)

An elder’s life must provide an example to be followed (1 Timothy 4:12, 1 Peter 5:3, Hebrews 13:7) because he is following the example of Jesus Christ (1 Corinthians 11:1). All elders must be in full agreement with the Doctrinal Statement of Potter Valley Bible Church.

Section 4. Appointment and Termination

Elders will be added to the Elder Board through a unanimous decision of the Elder Board either from among those “desiring the office” and presenting themselves in expression of that desire (1 Timothy 3:1), or from those groomed and trained by the Elders in an ongoing ministry to raise up godly leaders (Acts 14:23; 1 Timothy 2:2; Titus 1:5). The Elders shall determine that all candidates for the office shall meet the Scriptural qualifications as outlined in Article VI, Section 3.

To assist them in this process, the Elders will present the candidates to the church for their consideration. The entire Body will be given one month to express concerns or reservations to the Elders, personally and in the form of a “qualifications questionnaire” that will be made available to all member families.

After the Elders have acted upon the input of the congregation and if the Elders are in unanimous agreement that the individual has indeed been qualified by the grace of God for leadership within the church, the Elders will affirm what God has already done in the man’s life by setting him apart as an elder at any regular meeting, and he will be recognized by the church from that time forward as a member of the Elders.

Elders shall serve an indefinite term. Periodically, at least annually, the elders shall evaluate themselves and one another with regards to the question of continued service in the office of Elder.

Any elder may be removed from office at any regular or special meeting of the Elders if he is found to be physically or mentally incapacitated or spiritually unqualified (according to pertinent Scripture, including 1 Timothy 3:1-7 and Titus 1:5-9), after thorough corroborating investigation by the Elders, in accord with the procedures prescribed by pertinent Scripture, including Matthew 18:15-18. No accusation against an elder will be acted on unless there are two or three witnesses (1 Timothy 5:19), and these witnesses must have firsthand knowledge of the charge or charges being brought. Hearsay evidence is not acceptable. Such accusations need to be explicitly stated in writing. When an elder is removed because of sin that is deemed sufficient to disqualify him from shepherding, and if he refuses to repent from that sin, the removal shall be accompanied by a public rebuke, and notice shall be made before the church and the congregation thereof at a regularly scheduled worship service as prescribed in 1 Timothy 5:20. , an elder?s office may also be terminated for failure to continue to display the qualifications required in 1 Timothy 3:1-7 and Titus 1:6-9. When an elder ceases to meet those qualifications, he shall be asked by the Elders to step aside for a time so that he may get his life in order in that area. Such a request from the other elders shall be made only when they are in unanimous agreement (see Article VI, Section 8-b). an Elder may resign if he feels that is God’s will; or if the opportunities and/or obligations of his life or work render his continuing service impracticable; or if he is no longer in agreement with the purposes or doctrines of the church.

Secondly, an elder’s office may also be terminated for failure to continue to display the qualifications required in 1 Timothy 3:1-7 and Titus 1:6-9. When an elder ceases to meet those qualifications, he shall be asked by the Elders to step aside for a time so that he may get his life in order in that area. Such a request from the other elders shall be made only when they are in unanimous agreement (see Article VI, Section 8-b).

Thirdly, an Elder may resign if he feels that is God’s will; or if the opportunities and/or obligations of his life or work render his continuing service impracticable; or if he is no longer in agreement with the purposes or doctrines of the church.

Section 5. Overall Elder Priorities and Duties

The Elders shall meet regularly (at least once monthly) for the purpose of administrating the business and spiritual welfare of the church. They shall choose their own Chairman to preside over the meetings and their own Secretary to keep and maintain minutes of all meetings; different elders may occupy these offices from time to time. The Elders, for all legal purposes, shall function as the Trustees of the Corporation.

Besides possessing the essential qualifications outlined in Section 3, Elders are to function in accordance with the biblical principles detailed in Acts 20:17-38, Ephesians 4:11-16, Titus 1:9, and 1 Peter 5:1-7. These duties include:

(a) To be devoted to prayer and the study of God’s Word (Acts 6:4) and sustain a caring ministry for the flock, which involves:

1. Serving as partners together for the church’s spiritual growth;

2. Praying for the sick and visiting the congregation;

3. Providing sound biblical counseling; and

4. Overseeing the process of church discipline (Matthew 18:15-17).

(b) To teach and exhort as well as refute those who contradict the truth (Titus 1:9), which involves:

1. Insuring that all instructors, Bible study leaders and youth leaders are properly qualified;

2. Insuring that any and all curriculum utilized reflects the biblical convictions of this church;

3. Arranging for pulpit supply whenever necessary;

4. Arranging for preaching at special occasions such as Bible conferences, retreats etc.;

5. Perpetuating the eldership by providing instruction, mentoring and nurture for those men who have a desire to learn biblical ministry;

6. Defining and articulating the doctrine of the church and preserving its purity; and

7. Equipping the membership of the church for the work of service (Ephesians 4:11-12).

(c) To lead by Christ-like example, which involves:

1. Consistently modeling spiritual character, attitudes, values, and behavior among the flock of God (1 Timothy 4:12);

2. Providing and inviting the opportunity for frequent and ongoing contact with members of the congregation; and

3. Conducting affairs of the church in an atmosphere of openness and mutual sensitivity, focusing as much on nurturing one another as on making decisions.

(d) To oversee the affairs of the church, which involves:

1. Being responsible for the employment, terms of employment, direction, and termination of employed pastoral staff, deacons, and any other staff and employees of Potter Valley Bible Church;

2. Publicly installing any and all Pastor-Teachers;

3. Approving and overseeing all subordinate organizations or committees of the church;

4. Maintaining the legal status of the church;

5. Being responsible for the disbursement of funds necessary to meet the current expenses of the church;

6. Conducting the Annual and special business meetings of the church;

7. Submitting the approved budget to the congregation at the Annual Business Meeting of the church;

8. Approving nominations for the Council of Elders and Deacons/Deaconesses as set forth in these Bylaws;

9. Communicating to the congregation on a regular basis concerning the activities and concerns of the Elders;

10. Examining prospective members and acquainting them with the Doctrinal Statement, and Bylaws; and

11. Overseeing the work of the Deacons/Deaconesses.

(e) To perform other constitutional, scriptural, and general duties of oversight.

In all of the above, Elders should increasingly seek to reflect the heart and concerns of the SHEPHERD (1 Peter 2:25), “the Great One” (Hebrews 13:20), i.e., the Chief One (1 Peter 5:4); of the OVERSEER (1 Peter 2:25); of the Master TEACHER (John 3:2, 13-14). Christ Himself must be their ultimate Model for all ministry (Matthew 20:25-28; Luke 22:24-27; John 10:1-18, 13:12-17). Consequently, they must always guard themselves first; then they must humbly and faithfully protect and provide for the flock as detailed above (1 Timothy 4:14-16).

Section 6. Powers

Subject to the limitations of this constitution, all the activities and affairs of Potter Valley Bible Church shall be exercised by or under the direction of the Elders, who are responsible for the shepherding and spiritual oversight of the church membership (Acts 20:28, Hebrews 13:17, 1 Peter 5:1-3). Also, it is hereby expressly declared that the Elders shall have the following powers in addition to the other powers enumerated in these Bylaws.

(a) To appoint and remove all the officers, agents, pastor-teachers, deacons, staff and employees of Potter Valley Bible Church; prescribe such duties for them as are consistent with law and this constitution; and fix the terms of their offices and their compensation;

(b) To make such disbursements from the funds and properties of Potter Valley Bible Church as are required to fulfill the purposes of this church and generally to conduct, manage and control the activities and affairs of the Church and to make such rules and regulations consistent with law and this constitution, as they may deem best;

(c) To adopt, make and use the Corporate seal and to alter the form of such seal from time to time as they may deem best;

(d) To establish policies, positions and practices for Potter Valley Bible Church consistent with the purposes of the Church;

(e) To borrow money and incur indebtedness for the purposes of Potter Valley Bible Church and to cause to be executed and delivered therefore, in the corporate name, promissory notes, bonds, debentures, deeds of trust, mortgages, pledges, or other evidences of debt and securities;

(f) To carry on a business consistent with the principles and purposes in these Bylaws and the Articles of Incorporation and to apply any such profit that results from the business activity as seems fit to the Elders;

(g) To assist pastor-teachers in the administration of the ordinances of baptism and communion; and

(h) To modify or amend the Doctrinal Statement. Any doctrinal change would be possible only by the unanimous vote of the Elders (Article VI, Section 8-b) and major changes would be shared with the congregation.

Section 7. Accountability of Elders

Elder accountability is first and foremost unto God (1 Peter 5:1-5). It is mandatory, however, that the Elders must also be accountable to one another at all times and must also be supportive of the decisions of the Elders as explained below.

Section 8. Decision Making

(a) Definition of a Quorum

Except as otherwise provided herein, a majority of the Elders actively serving (i.e., not on a temporary leave) shall constitute a quorum. Whenever the matter to be considered concerns calling or dismissing a pastor-teacher, or buying, selling, mortgaging, or otherwise encumbering the real estate of the Church, a quorum shall consist of all the active members of the Elders. Under no circumstance is any elder allowed to pressure other elders or vote upon any issue involving him in a conflict of interest.

(b) The Principle of Unanimity

Decisions shall be reached after prayerful consideration by the unanimous vote of the required quorum of the Elders (see above). Whenever there is disagreement on a given issue, the decision will be held in abeyance for up to a period of two to three weeks so that the work of the Lord is not unduly delayed. Of course, a decision may have to be delayed somewhat longer in extenuating circumstances. The elders in the minority position will be given an opportunity to defend their minority view from Scripture during this period of abeyance, and after a season of prayer, all will yield to the majority position of the Elders in the spirit of Philippians 2:3. Each elder shall humbly regard one another before himself, thereby preserving the spirit of unanimity that the Elders must maintain to the congregation and the public in general. The net result after all discussions are terminated and binding decisions have been made, is that the Board must have a spirit of unanimity as to the direction the church should take. Any violation of this spirit of unanimity on the part of any elder will be considered a serious breach of elder qualifications. If it should occur more than once, without genuine repentance, this elder will be considered for removal from the Elders in accordance with Article VI, Section 4 (Titus 3:10).

Section 9. Meetings

(a) Place of Meetings

Notwithstanding anything to the contrary provided in these Bylaws, any meeting (whether regular, special, or adjourned) of the Board of Elders of the Corporation may be held at any place within or without the State of California.

(b) Regular Meetings

Regular meetings of the Board shall be held without call or notice on the second Tuesday of each month, unless otherwise modified by the Board. Regular meetings shall be open to church members.

(c) Special Meetings

Special meetings of the Board of Elders may be called at any time by order of the Chairman, Pastor-teacher or by a majority of the elders actively serving.

(d) Notice of Special Meetings

Special meetings of the Board shall be held upon four days notice by first-class mail or a forty-eight-hour notice given personally or by telephone or other similar means of communication. Any such notice shall be addressed or delivered to each Elder or at such Elder?s address.

(e) Adjournment

A majority of the Elders present, whether or not a quorum is present, may adjourn any Elders? meeting to another time and place. Notice of the time and place of holding an adjourned meeting need not be given to absent Elders if the time and place be fixed at the meeting adjourned, except as provided in the next sentence. If the meeting is adjourned for more than forty-eight (48) hours, notice of any adjournment to another time or place shall be given prior to the time of the adjourned meeting to the Elders who were not present at the time of the adjournment.

(f) Action Without Meeting

Any action required or permitted to be taken by the Board may be taken without a meeting if all members of the Board shall individually or collectively consent to a duly prepared resolution to such action. Such consent or consents shall have the same effect as a unanimous vote of the Board and shall be documented by attaching the signed resolution with the minutes of proceedings of the Board.

(g) Rights of Inspection

In accordance with the provisions of Section 9513 of the California Nonprofit Religious Corporation Law, every Elder shall have the absolute right at any reasonable time to inspect and copy all books, records, and documents of every kind and to inspect the physical properties of the Corporation of which such person is an Elder, for a purpose reasonably related to such person?s interest as an Elder.