There's always a ton happening behind the scenes here at GraceSLO. I always love to share some of it when I have opportunity.
One of the things we've been working on recently is a new way to think about and classify elders at GraceSLO. After a history of "life-time elders", over the last couple of years, we've had several guys step off the governing team for different reasons . . .
After 45+ years of elder involvement, Leon Maksoudian asked to "retire" active and ongoing involvement in elder meetings. We've bestowed on him the title "Elder Emeritus."
Jim Jeffrey stepped aside from the governing team to focus his energies on missions as our Missions Team Chair.
Rick Ernstrom and Ron Johnston both stepped aside from the governing team for conflict of interest reasons as both men have family members who serve on our paid staff. We aim to avoid any appearance of nepotism, so we no longer allow elders to govern when familiy members serve on staff.
Ted Malley and Kendall Matina who have both enjoyed a sabbath rest this year after more than 6 years of active service on our governing team just informed us they are not ready to return to the governing team in order to give more time to their families at this time.
These situations have raised questions for us, . . .
What's the status and role of these guys who are
no longer serving on the governing team?
Are they still "elders" here at GraceSLO?
After months of process, discussion and prayer we believe we've answered these questions in a way that honors the history of GraceSLO, the teaching of the Bible and the Godliness of these faithful men.
From this point forward, we will recognize two classifications/categories of Elders here at GraceSLO . . . .
Governing Elders: board-sitting and invovled in the day to day business and shepherding decisions of the church
Non-Governing Elders: those who serve and shepherd the congregation in non-governing ways and roles
Non-Governing Elders will be recognized as Elders, be involved in worship services and other areas of the church as they desire and are available. All Elders will meet together at least a couple of times of year for fellowship and a discussion of GraceSLO vision. Elders will be considered elders at GraceSLO as long as they continue to meet the Biblical qualifications outlined in 1 Timothy 3 and Titus 1.
We believe and hope this new way of thinking about Elders will foster and stimulate more leadership development here at GraceSLO. Our vision is that we might grow our elder team to 25+ where 10-12 serve as Governing Elders at any given time. After all. . .
It is a trustworthy statement:
if any man aspires to the office of overseer,
it is a fine work he desires to do.
--1 Timothy 3:1
We've also shortened the term for service on the governing team to 4-6 years with a required 1 year sabbatical sometime in the 4-6 year range. The Lead Pastor is an exception to this guideline and is considered a Governing Elder as long as he serves the church.
So, here's where we stand currently with Governing Elders and Non-Governing Elders. . . .
There are also two guys who are in our "elder pipeline" in the middle of our elder selection process and we hope to introduce them to the church family by late Spring. All new elders will serve on the governing team as their initiation into elder service at GraceSLO.
We're excited about these new developments and are committed to growing our leadership at GraceSLO wilth a healthy intergenerational mix of Godly men. We hope, over the next couple of years, that the GraceSLO family comes to understand and fully embrace our elder categories and how the plurality of leadership functions at GraceSLO.