Biblically, a church is commanded by God to have elders, and the qualifications for such an office are outlined in 1 Timothy 3 and Titus 1 This office is an overseeing and shepherding office designed to “keep watch over your souls” (Hebrews 13:17). With as much ink as the Bible gives to both examples and qualifications, it is astounding how many churches disregard the office.
Listen to a few of the dozen plus examples in scripture:
- Acts 20:28 “Pay careful attention to yourselves and to all the flock, in which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to care for the church of God, which he obtained with his own blood.”
- James 5:14 “Is anyone among you sick? Let him call for the elders of the church, and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord.”
- 1 Peter 5:2 “Shepherd the flock of God that is among you, exercising oversight, not under compulsion, but willingly, as God would have you; not for shameful gain”
I thought we already had elders…
Evident Grace launched with me (Gordon) as your Teaching Elder (TE) and an appointed group of elders from other churches, but we are now at the stage of moving from that oversight to an oversight of me and a group of Ruling Elders (RE) coming from within our own congregation.
What can we expect from our new elders? What does it look like for elders to shepherd, oversee, and govern? While there are many resources to inform this thought, we have been following the ideas set forward in a great book called, “The Shepherd Leader”.
Prayerfully, this is what you can hope for…
Knowing, Feeding, Leading, and Protecting
An elder will know the church, specifically the members of which he is called to care. No one, including myself, can know every person at the church intimately, but an elder should make every effort to know as many people as possible. Additionally, as each elder is seeking to care for a smaller, more specific, part of the church, he should know them, their families, and their needs very well. Caring for them should be based on personal interactions with them throughout the month.
An elder will feed the church, specifically in teaching. EG will now have multiple, faithful teachers who have endured faithful, grueling challenges to be proven faithful teachers. You can look forward to their teaching in both public arenas like our worship service and in smaller arenas like our (eg)Groups.
An elder will lead the church, specifically in the area of leading the vision of Community, Worship, and Service. They will co-create plans and programs that will lead you in that direction through all that we do.
An elder will protect the church, specifically in the areas of identifying and teaching the church against cultural wolves and protecting the church in church discipline. Each elder will work to be aware of what is going on in our local community and even the larger world scale. They will also work to protect our members from areas of sin and work to protect the church when they do.
This listing and description is daunting and impossible apart from the grace of God. But we are gifted with a few men who are willing to undertake this calling under the power of the Gospel. With Christ as our Chief Elder, you can expect this level of care, and these men can expect to lead you with your full hope and partnership.
Pray for our men as they go through their testing and preparation for ordination. We will keep you updated as they make their progress.
On Tuesday night (3/31), we are hosting our third Chick-fil-a Family Night. These have been great events to serve the community and let them know who we are. We invite you to come out and help as kids come to work through the craft we are organizing. Through this, we get great opportunities to meet people and speak about the church.
Our Good Friday Service is this Friday (4/3) at 7:00pm at New City Fellowship. They are located at 200 Prince Edward Street, Fredericksburg VA. Several local church are gathering for this combined service: Hope of Christ, New Life in Christ, Bethel OPC, New City Fellowship, and Evident Grace. Leonard Bailey, pastor of Hope of Christ, and Gordon will be administering the Lord’s Supper. We hope you are able to join us for this time.
Then Saturday morning (4/4) is the annual 5K Rabbit Run, 1 Mile Hop, and ¼ Mile Bunny Chase that Young Lives hosts. You can still register to run in it. If you don’t want to run, we wanted to let you know that Young Lives is always looking for volunteers to serve during the time. You can contact Sarah Middleton if you are interested or you can just show up and support the many families and individuals that will be running in it. More information can be found on their Facebook page.
This coming Sunday (4/5) is Easter Sunday. It is one of the most attended Sundays of the year. Families who never attend church the rest of the year, show up on Easter Sunday. This week is a great opportunity for you to invite friends, neighbors, coworkers, and people you interact with to our church this week. In the service, we be looking to understand better what love is as we celebrate Easter Sunday together.
We also want to make you aware of a church-wide town-hall/potluck we are having on 4/12 (Sunday), after our worship service. As we mentioned at our last gathering, we desire these to be quarterly get togethers to be two-fold. We want to take some time to celebrate the incredible things God has enabled for our church. We also want to also talk about some of the things that are on the horizon for us as we look to the next quarter specifically and the rest of 2015 in general. These are great times to take a pulse of where we are and what is going on for our church. We would love for everyone that is able to be present. Here is a sign-up for the potluck side of the gathering.
For those of you who prefer a calendar of events here you go,
|3/31||Chick-Fil-A Family Night, Southpoint location (5-7pm)|
|4/3||Good Friday Service at New City Fellowship (7pm)|
|4/4||Annual 5K Rabbit Run, 1 Mile Hop, and ¼ Mile Bunny Chase|
|4/5||Easter Sunday Service|
|4/12||Town Hall/Potluck, following the worship service|
- Jesus’ work on the cross ushers us into our relationship with God.
- Jesus’ work on the cross enables us to understand scripture.
- Jesus’ work on the cross guides us in our obedience.
- Jesus’ work on the cross motivates us to love our neighbor.
To put it in EG speak:
Jesus’ work on the cross builds our community, enlivens our worship, and propels us into service.
Despite our every day celebration, the church takes one season each year to specifically focus on that work, and so we look excitedly towards the Easter season. These are our dates.
Good Friday (April 3rd): We will be taking part in a joint Good Friday service at 7pm at New City Fellowship along with New Life in Christ, Hope of Christ, and Bethel Reformed Church. New City is located at 200 Prince Edward St, Fredericksburg, VA 22401.
Sunday Easter Resurrection Day (April 5th) service will be at 1030am at our normal meeting space: the comedy club above Liberty Liberty Lanes at 5801 Southpoint Centre Blvd, Fredericksburg, VA 22407.
Please invite friends and family to worship with us as Easter is often a holiday earmarked by lots of people to attend a worship service. We can’t wait to celebrate the work of Christ with our sister churches on Friday and with all of you on Sunday.
When I arrived in Virginia, it was on the heels of several moves. Everyone from a church member to the chief of police helped me get here. When Amy and I finally got into our apartment, so many folks from Evident Grace showed up that I didn’t even know everyone’s name. What I did know was that we were being cared for and that people loved us.
There is a unique blessing in helping someone move. Showing up early to eat coffee and donuts and to potentially strain one’s back says, “You and your home are important. We want to make sure you know that. How can I help?”
In just over two years’ time, Evident Grace has helped no less than 8 people move, and I imagine many more are to come (including this pastor). It has become an unofficial ministry of the church because so much more goes into it than the mere art of lifting heavy objects. People show up to pack, unpack, clean, and celebrate. Helping someone move is the height of hospitality in that it offers it while also enabling someone to eventually show it themselves.
So, in light of that, Bushiban is adjusting its Saturday schedule so that we will meet Saturday morning at 8am (2/28) at Jarrod and Amber’s home. Contact Gordon or Jeremy if you want greater details.
Let’s show up and celebrate with these guys, and let’s pray that this ministry grows even stronger at Evident Grace as it embodies all the good elements of community, worship, and service. And thanks for being a loving church.