The Deacons of Valley Park Church have just finalized their recommendations for leadership on the Board of Deacons for the next fiscal year. These leaders will be posted for Valley Park members to consider on April 9th. On Sunday, May 7th, Valley Park will hold a Church Business Meeting at which these recommendations will discussed and approved by those who are members of Valley Park. Once approved, these “elected leaders” will serve as “Deacons” of Valley Park Church for a “one year term” running from May 30th, 2017 until May 30th, 2018. As deacons they will manage the business and ministries of Valley Park on behalf of the church.
I want to use this VOICE article to explain a little about how the leaders and members of Valley Park function to manage the affairs of the church. This is healthy for review as well as for helping those who are newer attendees understand what membership at Valley Park involves.
Valley Park has a “congregational” form of church governance that informs everything we do. This means we understand the members of Valley Park to be the entrusted and empowered owners of the church. We believe this a biblically informed model for church management based upon New Testament teaching. For instance,
Every Christian is a “Saint” (holy) (Rom. 1:7; 8:27; 12:13; 15:25)
Every Christian is a “Priest” (with access to God) (I Pet. 2:5, 9; Rev. 1:6; 5:10; 20:6)
Every Christian is gifted and called by the Spirit to “serve” the corporate good of the church (I Cor. 12:7)
Every Christian has equal value in the church apart from gifts, talents or position (I Cor. 3:5; James 2:1-7)
The saints will judge the world, how much more matters of this life. (I Cor. 6:2-3)
Because of these biblical teachings, we practice a form of church governance in which the members are entrusted with responsibility for making all major decisions that impact the life and health of the church. “Business meetings” at Valley Park are therefore a big deal because “the members” have the authority to know everything, challenge everything, and propose anything that goes on in the church that will affect its life and ministries.
Subsequently, the members authorize and empower both Pastors and Deacons to serve the church on their behalf. Thus,
May 7th is a Business Meeting in order to elect Deacons who will serve the church for the next year.
May 30th is the date when these Deacons take office.
June 25th is the date that the budget prepared by these Deacons is approved by the members. The approved budget then informs spending for the next fiscal year (July 1, 2017 to June 30th, 2018).
What else does a Deacon do at VP?
The New Testament teaches there were two kinds of leaders in the early church.
- Pastors/Elders/Overseers: These were men responsible for shepherding the church by teaching the Word of God, protecting it from false teaching and generally nurturing its people through encouragement and exhortation. The three terms, Pastor, Elder, Overseer, are used interchangeably in the New Testament to describe this leadership role (see Acts 20:17, 28-30). (see also I Timothy 3:1-7; Titus 1:5-9; I Pet. 5:1-5)
- Deacons: These were men and women who “served” the church in a variety of ways other than pastoral/ shepherding/ overseeing. Typically, deacons manage the affairs of the church that would distract Pastors from their primary responsibility to shepherd the people. (see Acts 6:2-6; I Timothy 3:8-13; Phil. 1:1)
So Valley Park presently has one pastor, with potential of others paid or unpaid. It also has a Board of Deacons who, in cooperation with the Pastor, oversee such things as Administration, Christian Education, Hospitality, Missions, Property Maintenance, Shepherding and Worship.
It is one of the great privileges of being a “member of Valley Park” as you would be entrusted with authority and responsibility for participating in the management and ministries of the church. If you are interested in being a member of VP, I have written a small booklet on the history, values and ministries of VP. I would be happy to give you a copy and to discuss with you ways you might be able to contribute to the health and growth of Valley Park. I hope this summary of Valley Park’s management of both assets and ministries is helpful in your consideration of a deeper involvement in the life of VP.
To God be the glory,