This is part of a series of messages that were preached at the Regions Beyond India Leaders meeting at Igatpuri . This message is a Q&A with Steve Oliver and Stephen Van Rhyn on what is the role of the apostolic and leadership in a church . This is part 2.Regions Beyond, is a part of Newfrontiers Intl. You can listen to the audio by clicking here.
Q 6. What are the different roles of leaders in the church?/ what is the difference in the role of elders and deacons?
A. Leadership is a gift given by God. This is a great group of people that God gathers for a purpose.Elders- primary responsibility to set doctrine and practice in the local church. They govern, oversee the local church. The role of the elders is restricted to men. If the elder is married, there is a teaming that effects and makes an important contribution to the local church. So we appoint the man but pray for the couple. There is a one flesh we act and enjoy.
Deacons- can be men or women. In its essence is delegated pastoral responsibility. The elder oversees the whole. The deacon will oversee a section. In Acts 6 we think that it’s just waiting on table- but there is a huge pastoral issue and a potential split on ethnicity lines.
1 Timothy 2 lays down the requirements for an elder and deacon- they are almost exactly the same. Only the elder can’t be a recent convert and is required to teach.
Therefore, maturity is required for serious responsibility.
Women can be deacons- gives women a line on which women can run authorized by the elders.
Q 7. What happens when there are no elders?
A. Then the apostle has a big role in it. We need to raise up good leadership, or else we will multiply into weakness.
Q 8. There seems to be a lot of different requirements for eldership among us.
A. because we are at an early stage it will take time to establish it. Don Carson says an Elder is remarkable by being unremarkable. The requirements for every Christian is that which is required of an elder except for being a recent convert and able to teach.
The heart of being an elder is to be an example not an exception. In a celebrity culture we want our leaders to be exceptional. The call is to bring out normal Christianity amplified a bit.
Q 9. In a male dominated culture how does a woman step out and do what she should?
A. every culture has good, neutral and bad things. If your culture tells you that women are inferior that culture is communicating something negative and a lie which is not true.
Gen 1:27- Male and female he created them. We see radical equality right in the beginning. Both image bearers of God and both created for God’s glory. When we look at sacrificed death on the cross, we see that Jesus died for both men and women.
Women are co-heirs with Christ.
First we try and pioneer examples. For some that will be easier to do than others. An urban setting will lend itself more to this. Urban centers will become more and more open to women taking a vital role. As parents we look to develop our daughters as fully as sons.
Genuine submission can only take place in an environment of equality. Anything else is slavery. It’s the same in an eldership team and at home. The final leader takes the call and we all submit out of our relationship with Jesus.
Q 10. Can a woman be a leader in those 4 level?
A. Eldership is male but all women should conduct themselves as elders. Women have good ideas too. So the best idea wins. Women can be deacons. Women can advance the gospel.
Paul’s Macedonian man was a woman i.e. Lydia. Lydia was the door through which Europe was reached.
Within Regions Beyond we want to see everybody participate. Men make room for the women and be Godly. The woman issue has always been there. There are some circumstances where the women really need to be raised up.
French enlightenment undermined scripture and leadership outlined. The puritans did not like celebrating anything. We can swing from one extreme to another. The Post-modern culture tends to deconstruct truth. The way to go about this is to go back to the Bible- the truth. If we don’t run to scripture, we will miss it. So don’t let our culture answer the questions for us.
Q 11. Why did you bring Steve van Rhyn with you? Is he the only voice in Regions Beyond?
A. There are many other apostolic gifts that we look to for input. Steve theologically is one of our keenest minds. So I want to make sure that we are on a Biblical foundation- because one day I have to bring forward all that I have built as pure gold. This is how we ensure that.