Sunday, January 28, will be a milestone celebration for BridgePointe. Since the birth of the first churches nearly 2000 years ago, appointing spiritual leaders has been a reason for celebration and a source of health, maturity, and stability for churches. On this special day, BridgePointe will present and appoint the first team of Shepherds, also known as “elders” in the Bible. This is a huge step for the church and here’s what it means for us.
Leadership in the Church
It has been said that everything rises and falls on leadership. We see this axiom play out in the world around us. A business, company, organization, or church can only be as good as the people who lead it. The Bible provides an ancient model for leadership that has guided, guarded, and gifted the church since its inception. This role has different names—elder or overseer—and uses one image that brings clarity to the nature and role of leader: shepherds.
The book of Acts (in the Bible) tells the story of the spread of the Gospel and the start of the church. As churches were started, elders would be identified, trained, and appointed to shepherd these faith communities. In Acts we read,
And later, the pastor of the church on the island of Crete was instructed to complete the work by “appointing elders in every town” (Titus 1:5). Local, Biblical leadership would establish the church to be strong and sustainable.
BridgePointe Christian Church was started nearly 5 years ago on March 17, 2013. Last year, after 4 years of financial support from the planting organization, Restoration House Ministries, we reached financial independence as the generosity of our people fully provided for the needs of the church. And this year, we will take the final step toward independence and sustainability by doing what the apostles and Titus did for the churches in the first century— appointing Biblical leaders to shepherd the church. In keeping with the picture of leadership provided in Scripture, we will call these leaders “Shepherds” to reflect the role they will have in the church.
What Shepherds Do
Fulfilling the role of Biblical eldership, shepherds of BridgePointe:
Are passionate about their sheep—their leadership will always come from a deep love for the people entrusted to them.
Pioneer the way for the sheep—they will set an example of following Jesus and lead the church to be the body of Jesus and to carry out the mission of Jesus.
Provide for the sheep—they will ensure that the people of the church have ministries and care needed to thrive spiritually and grow as disciples of Jesus.
Protect the sheep—they will guard the church from anything that threatens its identity and mission including division, false doctrine, ungodly leadership, or spiritual darkness.
Prescribe care for the sheep—they will work with the staff and ministry leaders to provide care, counseling, assistance, and support for those who need special attention or care.
Pursue the sheep—they will work with the staff to go after those who are struggling in faith or wandering from the flock to restore them to God and His church.
BridgePointe's First Team of Shepherds
Because of the role and responsibility of Shepherds, it is essential to ensure that the right people are being placed in this position. The Bible presents the qualities and character that is desired and required for shepherds to serve the church well (see 1 Timothy 3:1-7 and Titus 1:5-9).
BridgePointe has conducted a careful and prayerful process, spanning nearly two years, to clarify the role of Shepherd for the church and identify people willing and able to serve in this role. Five men, possessing the Biblical qualities of elders, have been identified, prepared, and presented as the first Shepherds of BridgePointe Christian Church.
Unlike most positions of leadership, these men aspire after this role not because of what they can get for themselves but because they want to give of themselves for others. They love the people of this church and desire to lead them toward the vision God has for us. Please pray for these men to lead with wisdom, courage, love and faithfulness for the good of the church and the glory of God. And please know that these men are praying for you!
If you’d like to learn more about the Biblical role of elders in the church, listen to the message “Selfless Leadership” from the series Made to Last.