Faithlife Sermons

Eldership Ordination 6-21-09

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The Bible Says to Give honor to whom honor is due

·                    Today—on this Father’s day—that’s a big part of what we’re doing here

·                    I’m excited to be doing this, because it is so right that we honor and bless our elders—Bill Mitchell and Bob Cross and their wonderful wives—Jeannette and Bonnie.

Why do we do have elders?

·                    How does our church Government work?

·                    Is this important

God is a God of structure

·                    Creates in our world—in our bodies—throughout creation

·                    There is a structure/order to His church

·                    Part of that structure is the leadership he creates for the church

There’s also creativity and diversity

·                    I really love the leadership structures we have at the River

·                    Pastors—Elder Board—Executive Eldership Covering

o       Rick—R and T part of River from inception

o       They’ve been key leaders in the house

o       Rick isn’t elder—advisor

o       Family health situations preclude—first ministry family

o       Part of team before me

o       As walked alongside him—obvious WHY on team

o       God uses Rick—heart—voice—Board—with MEN

o       Pray for day of healing—they can become more active daily again

We have great team—Bill/Bob/Rick set in before we came

·                    God has used these men in significant ways for River—we honor you today!

But there IS creativity/diversity

·                    I’ve been around a lot of forms—common for people to take shots at someone else’s leadership structures—‘we don’t like that because of x, y, z’

·                    Some can get pretty passionate—our way is the only biblical way.

·                    In all honesty, I think most try to do it biblical—but different traditions have different structures

·                    Wouldn’t want MOST of those structures—

·                    But God didn’t ask my opinion—and for some reason HE is able to move through diverse types of structures within churches.

We follow an eldership and lead pastor structure

·                    It’s how we believe God’s called us to operate

·                    I very MUCH enjoy our team of leaders—and deeply appreciate the strength that structure has brought us. . .

Purpose of elder is to

·                    Define

·                    Scriptures

I Timothy 3     Here is a trustworthy saying: If anyone sets his heart on being an overseer,a he desires a noble task. 2 Now the overseer must be above reproach, the husband of but one wife, temperate, self-controlled, respectable, hospitable, able to teach, 3 not given to drunkenness, not violent but gentle, not quarrelsome, not a lover of money. 4 He must manage his own family well and see that his children obey him with proper respect. 5 (If anyone does not know how to manage his own family, how can he take care of God’s church?) 6 He must not be a recent convert, or he may become conceited and fall under the same judgment as the devil. 7 He must also have a good reputation with outsiders, so that he will not fall into disgrace and into the devil’s trap. [1]

·                    There is a CHARACTER/INTEGRITY an elder must walk in

·                    Higher requirement/judgment for husband/wife

·                    Blessed—joy—

·                    But SOBER as well


Titus 1 6 An elder must be blameless, the husband of but one wife, a man whose children believe and are not open to the charge of being wild and disobedient. 7 Since an overseerb is entrusted with God’s work, he must be blameless—not overbearing, not quick-tempered, not given to drunkenness, not violent, not pursuing dishonest gain. 8 Rather he must be hospitable, one who loves what is good, who is self-controlled, upright, holy and disciplined. 9 He must hold firmly to the trustworthy message as it has been taught, so that he can encourage others by sound doctrine and refute those who oppose it. [2]

Giving Honor to Whom honor is due

·                    I want to tell you a bit about the blessing and powerful gift both Bill and Bob have been to our body

·                    Their service as elders predates my arrival

·                    Were instrumental in getting this house established/planted

Gifts of Loving Sheep

·                    Through the years—plenty of opportunity watch these two

·                    Whether ministering word in small group

·                    Showing hospitality people in homes

·                    Counseling and speaking into people’s lives

·                    Great hearts


·                    Board experience—love prayer

o       You see—cannot lead church in just ADMIN detail

o       Part—but not whole

o       Church spiritual organization—KOG

·                    Part of role of OVERSEER is to SEE what God’s doing

o       Hear what He’s saying and LEAD in accordance to those things

We’ve had powerful times—prophetic prayer/word

·                    You see to lead house—PLUMLINE

·                    Listen—watch—move in faith

·                    Power of prophetic insight

·                    Sensitivity—really see Father heart of God towards sheep

·                    Fear of the Lord—wanting to lead wisely


·                    Building this sanctuary—the first time

·                    Maintaining this church

o       Joys of an older building

·                    Leading teams

Laying lives down for the sheep—for THIS body—Good shepherd LAYS LIFE down . . .

·                    When I came—storm

·                    These men were KEY men

·                    Standing in the gap in the most difficult of moments

·                    Paying prices out of the sight of most of you

o       Parents hold things steady

o       So you don’t have to worry

o       This week—airline—heart attack

o       Crew smoothly handled—passengers unaware

o       Many times leadership like that

o       The Lord who sees in secret will reward you openly

·                    We wouldn’t be here today, had it not been for the serving/prayer/pastoring sacrifices of these two

·                    They have truly laid their lives down for the sheep—I’ve seen it time and again.

Faith for the Future

·                    First here—Financial Decision—Bill’s statement

·                    Looking ahead

o       How can we reach more

·                    Reaching out generationally

o       Young and Old

o       Embracing/including

o       Powerful

·                    Maybe you are coming into the house with GREAT Seasoned leadership in your life

o       Embraced- No sense of TURF WARS

Faithful to their pastors

·                    Protecting/caring

·                    Encouraging—covering

·                    These are guys I want by my side—on my team

Both of their wives—gift to church

·                    Elders/Pastors wife teaching

·                    Jeannette—servant—power house—


o       Whether hosting people in home group

o       Lists for Worship team

o       Praying with people

o       Speaking prophetic leadership thoughts/concerns/etc.

·                    Bonnie

o       Also operates in amazing hospitality gift

o       Behind the scenes organizer/administrative

o       Serving Children and families in foster care

Both very supportive of husbands

·                    Sacrificially supportive of church

·                    We honor you today—and thank you for your leadership and love for the body

Although Have been operating in this office for many years

·                    Predates me coming

·                    Had never been ordained

As a church—walking through a process

·                    God has rebirthed us as a church

·                    He has been walking us through steps of growth and establishment

o       So many new/good things happening

o       Rededication/name change last fall/Bi-laws

o       Ordination of Jake

We have wanted to do ordination for some time—this was the right time

But in a lot of ways—great picture for all of us

·                    Walking in a role without a title—pretty Kingdom

·                    Title—not ordained

·                    In our streams—often is that way

o       People operating as pastors—Pastor Jake

o       Get to see the mantle in operation—before we lay hands on

o       Have found much better way

So today—we come to impart blessing and affirmation to these who have been serving so faithfully

·                    And see them set into the house in a greater dimension as elders at the River


a Traditionally bishop; also in verse 2

[1]The Holy Bible : New International Version. 1996, c1984 (electronic ed.) (1 Ti 3:1-7). Grand Rapids: Zondervan.

b Traditionally bishop

[2]The Holy Bible : New International Version. 1996, c1984 (electronic ed.) (Tit 1:5-9). Grand Rapids: Zondervan.

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