Category Archives: Church

Leadership of the Local Church: Philosophy of Elders and Deacons

The structure of the local church leadership must be a biblical structure. What do I mean by biblical? Essentially, church leadership is patterned after the examples and explanations within Scripture. The closer the structure of biblical patterns the more biblical the implementation. In other words, when the structure of church leadership looks like the pattern set forth in Scripture, then the structure of church leadership is biblical.

So what pattern of biblical church leadership do we see?

Elders

1) Plurality of Elders (aka. Pastors, Overseers, Presbyters, Elders – these titles are interchangeable)

Note, for example, Titus 1:5 (“appoint elders”), followed by v. 7 (“for a bishop must be blameless”). The very fact that the sentence in v. 7 begins with a “for” shows a connection: bishops are elders. Otherwise, why would Paul mention the qualifications of a group that were not whom Titus should appoint? In Acts 20:7 Paul calls the “elders of the church” of Ephesus together for a final meeting. Then, in v. 28 he addresses them as “overseers” (or bishops). Thus, any passage that deals with bishop is equally applicable to elders.

2) The leadership of the church from the earliest period always had elders, even if it did not have deacons. Young churches only had elders; more mature churches had both elders and deacons.

But the consistent Biblical pattern in the New Testament was for a plurality of elders. Note the following passages where either elder or bishop is used:

Acts 11:30–elders at the church of Antioch

Acts 14:23–Paul and Barnabas appoint “elders in every church”

Acts 15:2, 4, 6, 22, 23; 16:4–elders at the church in Jerusalem

Acts 20:17, 28–elders/bishops at the church of Ephesus

Acts 21:18–elders at the church in Jerusalem

Phil 1:1–the church at Philippi has bishops and deacons

1 Tim 5:17–elders at the church of Ephesus

Titus 1:5–Titus is to appoint elders in every town

Jas 5:14–“the elders of the church”

1 Pet 5:1-2–“the elders among you”

And if there is any question as to what the role of these elders are, consider the book of Hebrews:

Heb 13:7 Remember those who rule over you, who have spoken the word of God to you, whose faith follow, considering the outcome of their conduct.

Heb 13:17 Obey those who rule over you, and be submissive, for they watch out for your souls, as those who must give account. Let them do so with joy and not with grief, for that would be unprofitable for you.

Elders are a team of men who are set apart by God to shepherd the church, the Bible refers to these men as bishops or overseers or elders (terms used interchangeably). They have biblical qualifications as outlined in 1Tim3v1-7 and Titus 1v6-9. Functionally, I like to break down what they do by the 4 D’s:

Doctrine – Elders govern, teach & guard the doctrine that the church holds to.

Direction – Elders seek to shepherd the church in the direction that God is leading them.

Discipline – Elders seek to ‘discipline in love’ wayward church members to win them back to repentance and restoration.

Display – Elders seek to display a Christ-like character worthy to be copied.

A biblical church must have a biblical pattern of leadership- multiplicity of Elders. This also means, when a church plant is established, there must be a plurality of Elders/Pastors (meaning at least two). We can infer that a team of Elders are establishing the church plant- not a single Pastor. We can further infer a Lead Pastor with Support/Assistant Pastors. The point is there must be a plurality of Elders.

What are the qualifications of the Elders?

1 Timothy 3:2-7

1) Blameless – A general requirement followed by specific areas in which the Overseer must be blameless. To be blameless is to be irreproachable. No one should be able to lay a charge against an Elder and make it stick.

John Calvin explains an Elder “must not be marked by any infamy that would lessen his authority. There will be no one found among men that is free from every vice; but it is one thing to be blemished with ordinary vices, which do not hurt the reputation, because they are found in men of the highest excellence, and another thing to have a disgraceful name, or to be stained with any baseness. In order, therefore, that a bishop may not be without authority, he enjoins that there shall be made a selection of one who has a good and honorable reputation, and not chargeable with any remarkable vice. Besides, he does not merely lay down a rule for Timothy what sort of person he must select, but likewise reminds every one of those who aspire to that rank, to institute a careful examination of himself and of his life.”

2) The Husband of One Wife – Better understood as a “one woman man” It is not a requirement for Elders to be married but men who are married to be married to one wife. This is an express prohibition of polygamy for an Overseer/Elder.

I believe Paul has Genesis 2-3 in mind. The language establishes the issue of “one woman man”. Paul confirms the Old Testament teaching that God’s command from the time of creation is a man shall leave his father and mother and cleave unto his wife and the two shall become one flesh. The Elder must be blameless with respect to the law of God concerning marriage.

3) Vigilant – Sober, not drunk, clearheaded, self-controlled, frugal, prudent, reasonable.

An Elder must be on guard and alert, just as a shepherd must always be watching for wolves and anything else that might endanger the flock. An Elder who is not vigilant in his private and public life will not be watchful over and care for the people of God.

4) Prudent – Thoughtful and self-controlled. The greek word refers to wisdom, good sense, a sound mind, and good jugdement.

5) Respectable

6) Hospitable – The meaning of the word means “One who loves to be a host” – whether for friends or strangers. It’s all inclusive. He loves to be a host regardless of who he is hosting.

7) Skillful in Teaching

8) Not given to much wine

9) Not a violent man – Does not strike, wound or cause harm due to a blow.

10) Not fond of shameful gain – Shameful gain is anything that a man gets by dishonest means, or which itself is shameful or wicked.

11) Gentle

12) Not Quarrelsome – Not given to quarrels, disputes, or strife, uncontentious, not a brawler.

13) Not loving money

14) Ruling his own house well

15) Not newly converted

16) A good testimony to those outside (the church)

Deacons

What are the qualifications for Deacons?

1) Reverent – The qualifications for Deacons follow on the heals of the qualifications for Elders. Grammatically verses 8-9 of 1 Timothy 3 depend upon verse 2. “Reverent” is the first of five qualifications in the first sentence, which covers 8 & 9.

2) Not double-tongued – Also known as talking out of both sides of your mouth. He must not say one thing but mean something else. He must not say one thing to one person and the opposite to another person.

3) Not given to much wine – Paul uses the same word here as he wrote to Timothy saying, “to devote oneself to reading, exhortation, and teaching in 1 Timothy 4:13. Deacons are not to devote themselves to wine as they would to the important things mentioned previously.

4) Not fond of shameful gain

5) Holding the mystery of the faith with a clear conscience – Deacons like Elders must be instructed in right doctrine, should know the Scriptures well, live according to them, and be able to use them kindly in all situations that occur in daily life.

6) First be tested – Both Deacons and Elders must be tested prior to taking office in the church. This testing can take many forms but it must not be done in haste. The office of Deacon must NOT be looked upon as the bottom of the church leadership ladder, as it were. A Deacon is NOT a “Junior Elder”. It is not wise to put a man in the office of Deacon to “try him out” and see if he does well. And if he does well, let him continue in that office or move on to Elder.

7) Blameless – Different word than verse 2, but meaning is identical.

Differences between Elder and Deacon

In essence, the qualifications for both Elder and Deacons are virtually the same- even described with different words, but the meaning is the same. The significant difference is Elder is skilled at teaching. The deacon is the servant of the Elders and by extension the servant of the congregation at large. The deacons are given charge for specific duties to spread the burdens of the Elders and make the burdens light.

Acts 6 provides us with good detail as to the nature of the office of Deacon.

“It is not right that we should give up preaching the word of God to serve tables. 3 Therefore, brothers, pick out from among you seven men of good repute, full of the Spirit and of wisdom, whom we will appoint to this duty. 4 But we will devote ourselves to prayer and to the ministry of the word.”

Deacons are appointed to serve. They are to lead by serving. They are the ones which exude servant leadership most. To put it in common language, they are the table waiters of the church. This is not derogatory or demeaning. This is glorious and wonderful- to exude Christ-likeness in serving others.

Who should be a Deacon? Look for those who are faithfully serving others above and beyond the rest. The test prior to taking the office of Deacon? Are they serving?

An important note to make here. The “Deacon Board” is not a competing board of power versus the “Elder/Pastor Board” – It is the Elders who oversee the Deacons- giving them direction. The Deacons then make their decisions based within and upon the direction the Elders have given them.

This brings us to my question of “Trustees” – Trustees, as related to legal issues, should be the Elders, not the Deacons. Why?

Elders rule over the congregation in general and Deacons more specifically. The Deacons do not have ruling power, other than to serve and appoint others to help serve in the “table waiter” functions of the church- today we would classify this as grounds, building, fellowships, meals, finances, etc… But at the same time there are Elders over these areas to give direction for the overall implementation of the tasks.

This means Elders must be Trustees. Because those outside the church (i.e. government with legal requirements) see the Trustees as the leaders of the church. The Elders are those who are the leaders and rulers of the church and must be recognized as such outside the church.

In typical form, there is the pastor, the deacons, and the trustees. The trustees really should be called “deacons” and the deacons “elders” in such a model and trained to be so accordingly. If a deacon functions as an Elder/Pastor, then they should be called as such.

To reiterate the bottom line, when government interacts with the “Trustees,” they should be interacting with the Elders since the Elders are truly the leaders and rulers of the church.

I have not addressed every issue nor every word or verse regarding the roles of Elders and Deacons. That is beyond the scope of this note. You may find “holes” in this note, but it may be my intention not to address that point at this time. I have written this quickly and wanted to present the case for the conclusion that I see naturally flowing from Scripture.

With that in mind, comments welcome!

Further thoughts – responses to people’s questions.

from what I see in Scripture, the Elders are the leadership and the Deacons are, as you say, leaders of teams/committees. I would not classify them as a “board” since there is nothing for them to discuss. In Acts 6 we see that the Deacons were appointed to specific tasks- at that time it was to help provide food and possibly other things to the widows.

I would see this in practical application today in the following ways:

An Elder would be Overseer of various ministries of the church- grounds and technology for instance. I see the Elders appointing Deacons to a specific task- a Deacon of Grounds, a Deacon of Technology..

The congregation would then affirm who the Elders have appointed.

I see the Elders appointing people and the congregation affirming the appointments (this is also key). The Deacons would then set up teams to fulfill the duties (with approval of the Elders).

An aside, if the congregation can not trust the appointment (or anything) the Elders have made, then maybe the congregation should replace those Elders with Elders they trust. Hence, the appointment / affirmation helps keep the Elders accountable (hence Steve Camp’s article on keeping Pastor’s accountable is key).

Further, I see Deacons as “team leaders” who specialize in their particular area. You want a Deacon who knows technology to be the Deacon of technology. You want someone who knows something about grounds keeping to be the Deacon of Grounds. And so on….

The Elders, then can Oversee things give direction to the Deacons. The Deacons do not need to meet as a board b/c their duties do not intersect for the most part-

Maybe they can meet to discuss how they implement their duties- but that would be once a year at most? That’s up to the Elders on how they want to implement that.

The point is to free up as much time for the Elders to devote to prayer, teaching and the Word. This does not mean they have no more administrative duties. They must administrate, but the actual carrying out of the duties are done by the Deacons. Further the Elders would listen to the Deacons and what they suggest as the means to carry out duties (budget, tools, etc..) but the Elders would appoint budgets and significant expenditures with congregational approval and give direction to the Deacons.

The Presbyterian form of gov’t is a good guide, really- even for non-Presbyterian churches. A church (with the structure I’ve outlined) plants a church with a Lead Pastor (Evangelist) and the other Elders of the Parent church help fulfill the plurality of Elders for the church plant.

I would further say, once the church plant becomes its own identity (officially becomes a church), that church should have a plurality of Elders inherently.

Recommended Books for New Believers (for Anyone!)

Here are a few recommended books to read particularly if you are a new believer. However, these are good books for any Christian to read.

I have listed the books in an order that should build a solid foundation of the Christian Gospel upon which our faith is built. What books would you recommend?

What is the Gospel by Greg Gilbert
Gospel by JD Greear
Gospel Primer for Christians by Milton Vincent
Gospel Deeps by Jared Wilson
Gospel-Centered Discipleship by Jonathan Dodson and Matt Chandler
Gospel as Center by various
Grace Transforming by Philip Ryken
A Hunger for God by John Piper
Jesus + Nothing = Everything by Tullian Tchividjian
Stop Asking Jesus into Your Heart by JD Greear
Respectable Sins by Jerry Bridges
Living the Cross Centered Life by CJ Mahaney
Embracing Obscurity by Anonymous
Disciplines of a Godly Man by R. Kent Hughes
The Gospel for Real Life by Jerry Bridges
If God is Good by Randy Alcorn
The Practice of Godliness by Jerry Bridges
The Transforming Power of the Gospel by Jerry Bridges
When People are Big and God is Small by Edward T. Welch
Who Do You Think You Are? by Mark Driscoll
The Work of Christ by RC Sproul
You Can Change by Tim Chester

Other recommendations:
Creature of the Word: The Jesus-Centered Church by Matt Chandler
Christian Beliefs by Wayne Grudem
Basic Christianity by John Stott
Reason for God by Tim Keller
Reasons for Belief by Norman Geisler
Why Church Matters by Joshua Harris
Everyday Church by Tim Chester

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Other recommendations:
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Why Church Membership? Church Discipline

For the sake of Church Discipline

If we have not availed ourselves to the hard privilege of church discipline (as necessary), can we truly say we have submitted to God’s ruling in and through His church?

Of course, if your church does not practice church discipline, this point is moot. And, I might add, your church may not be a true church in the first place.

“Church discipline is rarely done in the modern church, and because it is rarely done, when it is done, it is rarely done well. As with everything, we have to turn to the Scriptures for guidance and protection.

‘I wrote to you in my letter not to associate with sexually immoral people— not at all meaning the sexually immoral of this world, or the greedy and swindlers, or idolaters, since then you would need to go out of the world. But now I am writing to you not to associate with anyone who bears the name of brother if he is guilty of sexual immorality or greed, or is an idolater, reviler, drunkard, or swindler—not even to eat with such a one. For what have I to do with judging outsiders? Is it not those inside the church whom you are to judge? God judges those outside. ‘Purge the evil person from among you.’

A moment’s reflection shows the need for discipline. In a fallen world, sin will seek to corrupt anything of value. When sin begins to work, the one in a position to discipline has a choice to make. Discipline is inescapable. At that point, we will either discipline the sin, or we will discipline the righteous. But as long as the antithesis between the two exists (which is to say, throughout history) we must choose one way or the other. (Jay E. Adams, Handbook of Church Discipline (Grand Rapids: Zondervan Publishing House, 1986).

Scripture does not just command the discipline. We find in the Bible five basic reasons to practice church discipline. Not surprisingly, these biblical reasons for disciplining usually anticipate and answer some of the most common objections.

First, we are to discipline to glorify God –our obedience in this matter glorifies God. We know that God intends discipline for His church (Matthew 18:15-19, Romans 16:17, 1 Corinthians 5, 1 Thessalonians 5:14, 2 Thessalonians 3:6-15, 1 Timothy 5:20, 1 Timothy 6:3, Titus 1:13, Titus 2:15, Titus 3:10, Revelation 2:2, Revelation 14-15, 20). God tells us what to do, and because we are His people we are called to do it. This answers the objection, “Who do you think you are?” We do not discipline in our own name, or on our own authority. The Bible says that our good works (when defined by Scripture) glorify God (Matthew 5:16).

Second, we are to discipline in order to maintain the purity of the church. If we measure the “success” of discipline by whether or not the offender is restored, we will be forced to conclude that sometimes it “doesn’t work”. But if we see other things accomplished by means of discipline, our perspective changes. Conducted biblically, church discipline always purifies the church (1 Corinthians 5:6-8). It also prevents the profanation of the Lord’s Table (1 Corinthians 11:27). This also answers the common objection against the faith–“too many hypocrites in church.”

Third, we are to discipline to prevent God from setting Himself against the church. If we have a choice to distance ourselves from sin, and we choose rather to identify ourselves with it, then what will a holy God do? We see that God will come Himself and discipline a church which does not willingly follow Him in this (Revelation 2:14-25).

Fourth, we are to discipline in an attempt to restore the offender. We are not promised that the offender will be restored, but this end is nonetheless one of our goals. This rationale is clearly set forth in Scripture (Matthew 18:15, 1 Corinthians 5:5, Galatians 6:1). This purpose answers the objection that “discipline is harsh and unloving.” The goal is not to destroy the offender; the goal is a confrontation in which we formally protest the fact that the offender is destroying himself. Discipline is an act of love.

And fifth, we are to discipline to deter others from sin –the Bible teaches that consequences for sin detor others (Ecclesiastes 8:11, 1 Timothy 5:20). The objection here is that “people sure wouldn’t want to mention any of their spiritual problems around those elders!” But the issue is always impenitence, and if someone is intending to continue in sin impenitent, then he had better not mention it to any of the elders. But if he struggles against sin, as all of us do, then he will find nothing in church discipline except an aid in that struggle.

What does biblical discipline look like once it has been implemented? Many misunderstand what is actually being done in discipline. Discipline is not shunning or avoiding. It is rather avoiding company on the other’s terms.

The most obvious result is that the one disciplined is refused access to the Lord’s Supper, as well as the general communion which that Supper seals. But the offender is not being denied kindness, courtesy, opportunity to hear the word preached, the duties owed to him by others, or anything else due him according to the law of love. He is merely denied one thing: the right to define the Christian faith.” ~ Douglas Wilson, Mother Kirk: Essays and Forays in Practical Ecclesiology, (Canon Press, 2001), 158-159.

Why Church Membership? Being Set Apart

Anyone can attend a church gathering. Anyone. So what should set Christians apart from unbelievers? If unbelievers can attend every Sunday Service, Sunday School class, Wednesday prayer time, special services, and other activities, then what should set the true believer from the rest? Quite simply: membership. I believe membership demonstrates the love and care for each other that is commanded in Scripture.

A part of the demonstration of this love and care is church discipline. If you have not submitted yourself to the leadership of your church through membership (hereby displaying a selfless act of sacrifice), then you have dismissed yourself from the love and care demonstrated via church discipline, if indeed, the need arises for church discipline.

But church membership allows for a deeper relationship experience with others of like mindedness (other members). Membership affords the privilege of getting into each other’s lives, regardless of how messy it can possibly be. It affords the opportunity to come along side each other more intimately and help teach, reproof, correct, and train in righteousness.

Membership demonstrates the ultimate selfless act you can do simply because you say, “I am committed to you. I will love you as Christ has loved you. As the Gospel is the ultimate display of selfless and reckless ambition, I will demonstrate this same Gospel to you by my committing to you in membership.”

How else can you demonstrate your love for God’s people? Let the Gospel not only reign true in your life, but let it reign as your reality- the reality demonstrated in membership.

Why Church Membership? Fellowship

We cannot be completely obedient to all of Scripture if we are not intentionally and covenantally pursuing deep fellowship with one another in general, but also inter-generationally with older and younger people.

In other words, in order to be obedient as Whole-Bible Christians, we must commit ourselves as a member of a local body so that we can practice intergenerational discipleship. This means, we must be pursuing the hard work of getting to know someone older and/or younger than us. Then and only then, are we able to obey many of the intergenerational commands in Scripture.

Further, to deny others the privilege and responsibility of pursuing fellowship with you (and others) can be a form of disobedience.

Leaving a church because “no one talks to me” simply shows that not only are the others at that church disobedient but so are you. One-anothering is a two way street.

Bible passages essential for us to understand and develop healthy relationships by knowing we are called to One Another:

Israel Part Two

RC Sproul answers the question, Is It True That God Blesses Those Who Bless Israel and Curses Those Who Curse Israel?1

Sproul writes, the non-Dispensational view “affirms that that Israel which is actually Israel, just as with the promise to Abraham in Genesis 12:3, applies to those who are in Christ, who trust in His finished work.” He continues, the non-Dispensational view “see[s] this is as the outworking of the truth of Galatians 3:7– ‘Therefore know that only those who are of faith are sons of Abraham.’ We …do not believe God replaced Israel with the church. We believe instead that there has always been only one people of God, those who believe.”

Justin Taylor discusses the topic Jesus As the New Israel2

Taylor explains, “The New Testament authors understood Jesus to be the culmination of the Old Testament.”

Here is a good, concise summary of the Israel/remnant theme from a New Testament perspective:

. . . Jesus had become a remnant of one. He was the embodiment of faithful Israel, the truly righteous and suffering servant.

Unlike the remnant of the restoration period, he committed no sin (Isaiah 53:9; 1 Peter 2:22).

As the embodiment of the faithful remnant, he would undergo divine judgment for sin (on the cross), endure an exile (three days forsaken by God in the grave), and experience a restoration (resurrection) to life as the foundation of a new Israel, inheriting the promises of God afresh.

As the remnant restored to life, he becomes the focus of the hopes for the continued existence of the people of God in a new kingdom, a new Israel of Jew and Gentile alike.

As the nucleus of a renewed Israel, Christ summons the “little flock” that will receive the kingdom (Daniel 7:22, 27; Luke 12:32) and appoints judges for the twelve tribes of Israel in the new age (Matthew 19:28; Luke 22:30).

The church is viewed as the Israel of that new age (Galatians 6:16), the twelve tribes (James 1:1), “a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession” (Exodus 19:6; 1 Peter 2:9).

A sinful nation, Israel could not suffer vicariously to atone for the sins of the world. The sinfulness of the nation made it unacceptable for this role, just as flaws would disqualify any other offering. Only a truly righteous servant could bear this awful load.

—Tremper Longman III and Raymond B. Dillard, “Isaiah,” An Introduction to the Old Testament, 2d ed. (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2006), 315.

The two best books I’ve read on this fulfillment theme are Hans LaRondelle’s The Israel of God in Prophecy: Principles of Prophetic Interpretation and David Holwerda’s Jesus and Israel: One Covenant or Two? (Keith Mathison has a good review of Holwerda’s volume here.)

Jesus is the true Israel, and the church becomes the Israel of God as it unites to True Israel. The same is true for ethnic Israel, whom God has not abandoned. But their only hope is to be united with Jesus, the ultimate suffering servant.

References

1 Is It True That God Blesses Those Who Bless Israel and Curses Those Who Curse Israel?

2 Jesus As the New Israel

Why Church Membership? Our Leaders

Why Church Membership? For The Sake of our Leaders

Hebrews 13:17 “Obey your leaders and submit to them, for they are keeping watch over your souls, as those who will have to give an account. Let them do this with joy and not with groaning, for that would be of no advantage to you.”

Submit in covenantal humility to let our leaders lead us with joy and not with groaning, for that would be no advantage to you.

Allow your leaders to know for whom they will give an account to God. Help make their leading be with joy and not groaning.

Why Church Membership? The Gospel

Philippians 2:8 – “And being found in human form, he, that is Christ, humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.”

Ephesians 1:3-14 – “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places, even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him. In love he predestined us for adoption as sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will, to the praise of his glorious grace, with which he has blessed us in the Beloved. In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace, which he lavished upon us, in all wisdom and insight 9 making known to us the mystery of his will, according to his purpose, which he set forth in Christ as a plan for the fullness of time, to unite all things in him, things in heaven and things on earth.

In him we have obtained an inheritance, having been predestined according to the purpose of him who works all things according to the counsel of his will, so that we who were the first to hope in Christ might be to the praise of his glory. In him you also, when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and believed in him, were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit, who is the guarantee of our inheritance until we acquire possession of it, to the praise of his glory.”

What is one of the greatest expressions of humility we can make? How can we express our identity with Christ and His humility to its fullest extent? Christ’s expression of humility is still evident because He rose bodily from the grave and He is seated (physically) at the right hand of the Father. We can express the Gospel by following Christ, Who became a member of humanity, by becoming a member of His body via Church Membership in a local body of believers.

Why Church Membership? Accountability

Accountability is getting help in taking responsibility for our actions.

Accountability is comprised of listening (James 1:19), humility in relation to others sins and faults (Matthew 7:1-2) with the thought, “if not for the grace of God, there go I,” demonstrating love because God loves us, and Whoever loves God must also love his brother. ( 1 John 4:21, 1 John 4:19)

What greater expression of true accountability than to purposefully covenant with others for the sanctification of each other?

True accountability allows people the freedom in sharing their circumstances and provides the feeling of total acceptance without fear of rejection. Why? Because God has completely and unashamedly accepted us in the beloved (Ephesians 1:3-10).

We are accountable to God (Romans 14:12, Hebrews 4:13)

We are one body in Christ (1 Corinthians 12:12ff)

Galatians 6:1-2 gives a helpful principle, “Brothers, if someone is caught in a sin, you who are spiritual should restore him gently. But watch yourself, or you also may be tempted. Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ.” If your accountability friend has done something contrary to the Bible, you are called to confront him gently, forgive him, and comfort him. It also admonishes you to consider yourself because no one is above temptation.

Hebrews 10:24 says, “And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds.” 1 Thessalonians 5:11 says to, “…encourage one another and build each other up…”

How do I know you truly are placing yourself under accountability if you have not demonstrated your covenantal commitment to such a serious endeavor? Specifically expressing this accountability within the bounds of church membership?