by Rev. James Wong
As we prepare for the election of the new church council for 2012-2013 I have discovered that many church members are willing to serve the church but not in the church council. The following thoughts would help us to have a clearer picture of the role and function of the church council.
1. The purpose of the church council. The church council has the general responsibility of caring for the affairs of the church and to provide the administrative structure for all its ministries. Acts chapter 6 tells us that when the church first began the apostles were too busy with the food program that they had no time for prayer and preaching the word of God. So they called the church members together and choose seven men to serve in the food program. Further, Acts 15 described that the apostles and elders came together and formed the council in Jerusalem to make decisions on pertinent issues concerning the church practices and beliefs. Today, the church council is necessary for effectiveness and accountability.
2. The qualification of church council members. In the election of the seven deacons there were three qualifications listed: “Brothers, select seven men who are well respected and are full of the Spirit and wisdom. We will give them this responsibility” (Acts 6:3 NIV). Ultimately a person full of the Spirit will manifest the fruit of the Spirit such as love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness and self-control (Galatians 5:22). Jesus says, “A tree is known by its fruit” (Matthew 12:33).
As the early church became more organized, the qualifications for church leaders were listed: (1) for overseers / bishops, 1 Tim 3:1-7, Titus 1:7-9, 1 Pet 5:2 (2) for deacons, 1 Timothy 3:8-13, Acts 6: (3) for elders, Titus 1:6. Today they serve as a good checklist for church leaders.
3. Servant-leadership. Council members are also church leaders of the church. A leader’s motive is to serve and give like Jesus did. Jesus summarized his life by saying, “For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many.” (Mark 10:45). Christian leadership is about serving and giving oneself to others to advance the Kingdom of God. This is a servant-leadership attitude. A leader will not be discouraged or disillusioned easily if his purpose is to serve and give without expecting anything in return. God calls you into leadership through the election process of the church.