Vertical Church is committed to the Bible’s teaching that men who hold the offices of Pastor and Deacon are to oversee various functions of the local church.
The Bible’s teaching on the subject of two church offices is found in 1 Timothy 3:1-16 and Titus 1:5-9. Although there are three terms used for the offices of the church (i.e. pastor, elder and deacon), analysis of these terms indicates that pastor and elder are used interchangeably.
Above reproach, able to teach, husband to one wife, not addicted to wine, temperate, not antagonistic, prudent, uncontentious, respectable, free from the love of money, hospitable, manages own household well, not a new convert. (Titus 1:6-9)
The Scriptures show that the Pastors “serve by leading” and that their responsibility involves the spiritual oversight of the congregation. All Pastors are equal in authority but not necessarily equal in influence.
The Pastor’s Primary Responsibilities:
- Doctrine: Ensuring that the doctrine of the church is biblical; all doctrinal issues in the church will be settled by the Board of Pastors
- Direction: Ensuring that the direction of the church is consistent with the Vertical Church statement of purpose and the four pillars
- Discipline: Administering in love and humility the process of church discipline (Matthew 18:15-20; Galatians 6:1-4; Titus 3:10; 2 Thessalonians 3:14-15; 1 Timothy 5:17-25; 1 Corinthians 5; 2 Corinthians 2:5-11; Romans 16:17)
PLURALITY OF ELDERS
The Scriptures teach that a plurality of elders governed individual New Testament churches. (Acts 14:23; Acts 20:28; Titus 1:5; Philippians 1:1) The Scripture does not mention any congregations featuring a stand-alone elder and leader. A plurality of godly elders, exercising their individual gifts, squares with the Scripture’s teaching that wisdom is found in a multitude of godly counselors. (Proverbs 11:4; Proverbs 15:22; Proverbs 19:20; Proverbs 24:6) This truth does not eliminate the possibility and likelihood that one or more elders will stand out from the others as more public in their ministries or more influential in their workings on the Elder Board.
The Senior Pastor automatically serves as a Pastor and, because of his public presence and responsibility before the congregation, may be considered “first among equals” as a member of the Pastor Board. The Senior Pastor should be gifted primarily as a preacher/teacher and as a leader.
The Bible teaches that Deacons “lead by serving” (Acts 6). The qualifications for Pastors and Deacons are the same regarding an individual’s character, but they differ in aptitude. The Pastors are to be “able to teach” while the deacons are to be “able and proved as servants.”
Individual of dignity, above reproach, not double tongued, first tested as servants, not addicted to wine, spouses must be faithful, dignified, temperate, not fond of sordid gain, holding to the mystery of faith with a clear conscience, husband of one wife, manages household well. (1 Timothy 3:8-12)