WHY DOES LTCC HAVE AN AFFIRMATION PROCESS?
At LTCC we believe the church is to be ruled by Jesus, led by elders, served by deacons, and accountable to the congregation.
Jesus is the head of the church (Eph. 1:22, Eph. 5:23, Col. 1:18) — our church. As such, through His word He sets our direction and, through His Spirit He exercises His authority.
While Jesus is the Ruler of the church, as with any gathered body of people, the church must be led. To that end, the Chief Shepherd, Jesus, has through His inspired word, ordained that His people be led by under-shepherds, referred to in the Scriptures as elders, who are to shepherd (or, pastor) the church through exercising oversight over the congregation (1Peter 5:1-4). To assist elders in their responsibilities as shepherds of the flock, Christ also calls men and women to the role of deacon to minister to and care for the flock.
And, while we believe that elders are accountable to keep watch over the souls of the flock (Heb. 13:17), and that deacons minister to help meet the practical needs of the flock, we also believe that the flock, the members of a local church, are ultimately accountable for the faithfulness and fruit of the church.
We believe that Jesus has given each member a role in leading His church.
As such, those who lead the local church derive their authority both from Jesus Christ (who alone governs His church) and from the congregation (which holds both elders and deacons accountable for their actions). The congregation recognizes those God has raised up to lead and serve the church, while elders and deacons honor the congregation by stewarding that leadership with trust and faithful integrity.
So, while it is God who raises up men and women to serve His church, the New Testament indicates that the early church was actively involved in recognizing those called to lead the church.
Each year, as a means of reminding ourselves of the importance of this relationship for maintaining a healthy church, we ask our church members—those who are responsible for submitting to the church’s leadership—to remember, reflect, and renew the dynamics of the relationship between leaders and the congregation.
Concerning elders, the local body of Christ is encouraged to recognize those who are over them in the Lord and to esteem them highly (1Thess. 5:12-13). Those who “direct the affairs of the church well” are worthy of honor and especially those whose primary work is preaching and teaching (1Tim. 5:17). Christians are to “remember their leaders” and submit to their leadership (Heb. 13:7, 17).
Concerning deacons, the model of Acts 6 indicates those who served the church were recognized by the whole gathering as those among them who were “known to be full of the Spirit and wisdom” (Acts 6:3-5).
Our annual affirmation process is a practical way for us at LTCC to remember, recognize, and renew our followership of those God has called to lead.
Regular affirmation of those in leadership:
Reinforces that church members have a responsibility for the overall testimony of their fellowship.
Safeguards against leaders who go astray in doctrine or life.
Strengthens church governance through the consent of those governed.
At LTCC, we seek annual affirmation by the church members for those leading as elders and those serving on the Church Council as deacons.
HOW DOES THE PROCESS WORK?
Every November, the congregation is formally asked to prayerfully prepare to affirm those in leadership at the annual members meeting in January. The members will also be asked to affirm any new leaders recommended to serve as elders or on the Church Council.
As part of preparing for the affirmation vote in January, we would ask that any concerns about those in leadership, or recommended for leadership, be addressed prior to our annual member meeting.
In the spirit of Matthew 18:15-16, if there is a concern with an elder, a deacon, or a recommended new leader, we encourage you, if possible, to speak personally to the individual. However, if you are uncomfortable with a direct discussion or uncertain how to proceed, please contact one of the elders to discuss the matter further. (In light of 1 Timothy 5:19, an accusation made against a church leader will be taken seriously and appropriately investigated.)
However, the primary purpose for the process is not to find fault, but to thoughtfully, prayerfully, and intentionally affirm those the congregation believes God has called to lead and serve the flock at LTCC.
HOW SHOULD I ENGAGE IN THE PROCESS AS A MEMBER OF LTCC?
Whether you have formally committed to the LTCC church family through our membership covenant, or simply care for LTCC because you consider it your spiritual home, the following guide and resources are offered as a way to prepare to affirm LTCC’s leadership.
What your Bible says about church leadership
Elders: Acts 14:21-23; Acts 20:17-31; 1Timothy 3:1-7, 5:17-19; Titus 1:5-9; Hebrews 13:7, 17; James 5:14; 1Peter 5:1-5
Deacons: Acts 6:1-6; Romans 16:1-2; Philippians 1:1; 1Timothy 3:8-13
An article on church members and their leaders
Church Members Must Keep an Eye on Their Elders — The Gospel Coalition
If you have an hour or two:
If you have just a few minutes, check out these short videos:
For our church and for our leaders.
Here’s one man’s suggestions on how to pray for our Elders and Deacons.
Nine Ways to Pray For Church Leaders - Chuck Lawless
Connect with an elder or Church Council member.
Is there an elder or deacon you don’t know? Change that. Ask them out for coffee or have them over for a meal and get to know them.
Is there an elder or deacon who you’ve been particularly encouraged by? Connect with them and let them know.
Is there an elder or deacon you struggle with? That’s not the way they want it, nor is it good for our church body. If they have done something to hurt or offend you, they want to make it right. In the spirit of Matthew 18:15, help that church leader restore your trust in them.
Let us know you’re engaged with the process. If you’ve spent time on this page, please let us know by filling out the short survey below.
Do some “bonus reading” reminding yourself of our membership covenant at LTCC.