Leadership in the life of the church is meant to follow the pattern of the Lord Jesus who laid down his life for the church on the cross. Leadership is not then about status or a right to tell everyone what to do, but a calling to love, to care and to lay down your life in service of others. Leaders like that in the church are called variously by the New Testament: pastors, elders, presbyters, bishops (in the context they are always referring to the same role rather than multiple roles or any kind of denominational hierarchy which is simple not in the Bible).
Interestingly in the New Testament both the local church is held responsible for their leaders and the leaders are held responsible for their churches. That means that not only will leaders have to give an account to the Lord Jesus for how they have served (Hebrews 13:17) but also church members will be held to account for who they recognised as leaders, whose teaching they listened to and how they cared for them (1 Timothy 6:17). Together that means that one of the most serious responsibilities for our church members is the job of recognising elders which we must do in line with the lists of qualifications in 1 Timothy and Titus.
In Aigburth Community Church we use the word “recognition” rather than “appoint” to emphasise that in voting in a new elder the church is not making someone any different but rather seeing what they are doing and recognising it, no one becomes a godly leader by a vote(!) rather a vote can recognise someone who IS a godly leader.
As a church we understand the New Testament to teach that the role of elder in the church is to be taken on by rightly qualified men and not women. That is not because there are not women in the church who are highly skilled brilliant leaders, or women in the church with things to teach the men. Rather the Bible sees the local church as a renewal of Eden and a restoration of the order which God set out there, where the elders are to behave like faithful fathers in the church laying down their lives in service of the whole that we all might flourish. Obviously this is very counter cultural and cannot be explained in a sentence or two so please do ask and we’ll happily talk more about this.
As well as elders we also have men and women serving as church deacons. Deacons in the New Testament take on particular practical responsibility for an area of church life such as the money or the practical care, or the music, or Sunday set up. You can find a list of our current deacons here.