Repay no one evil for evil, but give thought to do what is honorable in the sight of all. If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all. Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave it to the wrath of God, for it is written, “Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord."
Responsibilities of the Elders
Elders are responsible for devoting themselves to prayer and the Word, governing the church, teaching the Word, and tending the flock of God at Bethlehem. Their responsibilities include …
- examining prospective members and acquainting them with the Congregational Affirmation of Faith and the Church Covenant
- overseeing the process of church discipline
- examining prospective candidates for the offices of elder and deacon
- scheduling and moderating business meetings and seeing that official church business is reported and recorded
- overseeing the church membership (including oversight of Deacons, appointed ministry leaders, and committees)
- conducting worship services
- administering the ordinances of the gospel
- equipping the membership of the church for the work of the ministry
- teaching the whole counsel of God both formally and informally
- correcting error
- coordinating and promoting the ministries of the church
- mobilizing the church for world missions.
Men called as Elders at Bethlehem shall be qualified for the office as specified in Scripture (1 Timothy 3:1–7, Titus 1:6–9, and 1 Peter 5:1–4) and in agreement with the Bethlehem Baptist Church Elder Affirmation of Faith.
The Elders restructured their council at the end of 2007 in order to grow as Bethlehem grows and improve in pastoral care and governing effectiveness, based on the flexibility inherent in our governing by-laws: “… The Council of Elders shall organize itself however it determines to be best to achieve the mission of the Church. The Elders shall be equal in authority but may be specialized in function. …” In addition to regular congregational and organizational elder meetings described below, the entire council meets quarterly for vision-casting, discussion of strategic topics, review of the upcoming Quarterly Strategy Meeting agenda, and fellowship.
The men in these three groups of elders (Downtown, North, and South) meet monthly to focus primarily on campus-specific congregational care and ministry mobilization. (Each elder at Bethlehem, whether lay or vocational, is in one of these groups except Pastor John Piper, who focuses on all campuses.)
These men meet together roughly every three weeks. They consist of the lead and campus pastors, the chairman and the vice chairman of the elder council, and two lay Congregational Elders from each campus. They provide representation and bidirectional communication between Organizational and Congregational Elders. The two lay elder representatives from each campus may change each year as decided by the Council of Elders.
(If a Congregational Elder cannot attend an Organizational Elder Meeting, alternate representatives from each campus have been appointed to step in.)
John Piper, Pastor for Preaching & Vision
Sam Crabtree, Executive Pastor/Lead Pastor for Life Training
Kenny Stokes, Lead Pastor for Spreading
Jon Grano, Lead Pastor for Operations
North Campus Pastor: Dan Holst (Pastor for North Campus Worship & Vision)
Downtown Campus Pastor: Kenny Stokes (Lead Pastor for Spreading)
South Campus Pastor: David Livingston (Pastor for Shepherd Groups & Adult Ministries)
NOTE: Most of our pastors, but not all, also serve as Elders. Our ordained pastors automatically serve as Elders. Some of our pastors who have not been ordained have been elected to the Council of Elders for strategic reasons. Some men fill significant roles on our pastoral staff but have not aspired to the office of Elder, for reasons that may include not deeming it wise to make the time commitment of meeting with elders because of other pastoral or family responsibilities.