It was a chilly January evening in 2019 when my wife and I were first introduced to the leadership of North Bullitt Christian Church. It was a whirlwind of a weekend with travel and meeting new faces. The Ledford family opened their home to host us, along with other church leaders, including all of the elder team. We shared a meal together, and swapped stories. The larger group presented some questions to Karen and I, and once we concluded that segment, the elders invited me to another room where they had a few more questions. In that room sat men that many of you know. They each, with care, asked questions about my vision for the church, my doctrinal viewpoints, my personal spiritual life, and my family, among many other things. There was a seriousness in the room, but it broke occasionally with laughter. I wasn’t really sure how I fared in the discussion, but I had resigned myself to resting in God’s plan, and knowing that He would direct our steps in accordance with His will. One thing was certain as I left that room: I was sure that each of those men, the elders of NBCC, love Jesus and they love His Bride, the Church.
I share this short story with you to hopefully draw you into the heart of the men that I lead alongside. Our church is structured in accordance to the conviction of the instruction of the Bible, which is that the church be under the watchful care of elders, and alongside the elders, deacons, who provide helpful service to the local church and her members. What then is the role of elders and deacons?
Peter exhorts the elders, “Shepherd the flock of God among you, exercising oversight…” (1 Peter 5:2a, ESV) In it’s simplest form, this is the heart of an elder. They shepherd you. That is, they lead, guide, and protect the church. Moreover, the elders primarily accomplish this through teaching. An elder is to be a teacher, and not just in a preaching sense, or even as a classic classroom instructor, but mostly as “being examples to the flock” (1 Peter 3b, ESV). Elders exemplify the godly life for the Body of Christ (1 Tim. 3:1-7; Titus 1:5-9). Paul grants us further insight in his letter to the Ephesians, “And he gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the shepherds and the teachers, to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ”(Ephesians 4:11-12, ESV). Notice the titles of “shepherd and teacher” towards the end of verse 11 are both titles associated with the role of an elder. As such, the elders’s primary tasks are to lead, guide, and protect the church through their teaching and example, and they are to empower and equip the members of the church for the work of ministry. God also provided an example of those who are equipped to serve in this fashion alongside the elders. These are called deacons.
In Acts 6:1-6, we are presented with an issue in the early church. It was growing rapidly, and the church leaders were unable to keep up with serving and shepherding. The specific charge was that some of the widows were not being cared for properly, they were being neglected in the daily distribution. The church leaders enlisted the help of other men. “Therefore, brothers, pick out from among you seven men of good repute, full of the Spirit and of wisdom, who we will appoint to this duty” (Acts 6:3). This is where we get the concept of deacon ministry. Paul solidifies this office by including a list of qualifications for deacons in 1 Timothy 3:8-13. Deacon ministry varies from church to church, but our hope at NBCC is to be biblically faithful in the role that our deacons fulfill in our church. Primarily, these men carry out service ministry to help the elders focus on the ministry of teaching and prayer (Acts 6:4). Jonathan Leeman says this of deacon ministry, “God gives deacons three things to do: spot and serve tangible needs, protect and promote church unity, and serve and support the ministry of the elders.” I believe this is an ideal summary of deacon ministry. I am so thankful for the deacons that serve faithfully.
The elder and deacon team maintains a cohesive unity at NBCC. We meet monthly, not to hash out business or decide paint colors, but to care for the flock that God has entrusted to us. We carry out this task with intentionality. This meeting is aimed completely at handling prayer and care for the church. We do this first by striving to meet the needs of our widows. Our elders and deacons each have at least one widow under their care, and they strive to contact this widow at least once a month to find out ways that they pray for her and any needs she may have. We then share these prayers and needs with each other, praying for our widows. We then pray for the rest of the church, and discuss ways we can serve the local body. It is a joy to serve alongside these men. They care for you and they love you!
Would you pray for the elders and deacons of our church? They serve according to the calling of God and their love for you! Our elders are: Ron Bradshaw, Darrell Devore, Bryon Hall, Steve Lush, Dennis Burns, and Keith Rodriguez. We will soon be adding Donnie Carney. Our deacons are: Chad Esser, Joe Carney, Scott Riggles, Kyle Springer. We will soon be adding Ron Flora, Michael Davenport and Steve Foster.