“Appoint elders in every town.” That was the Apostle Paul’s message to Titus, his young pastoral protégé in Crete. The sobering qualifications that followed showed the seriousness with which eldership, governance, and shepherding the flock of God must be approached.
At Harvest Bible Chapel Barrie, the elders not only form the official board of directors in order to satisfy the legal and fiduciary demands of our provincial incorporation, they also bear the weight, in concert with the staff team, of the spiritual care for the congregation. In a very real sense, they wear two hats and must carefully navigate each in the performance of their duties.
Eldering in the church is a remarkable privilege and should simply never be seen as a position of status or power. It is a trust from the Lord. As his designated local leaders, elders are charged with shepherding the flock of God and nourishing and protecting the very body of Christ. It is not a task to be taken lightly. The Apostle Paul said that, “If anyone aspires to the office of overseer, he desires a noble task” (1 Timothy 3:1). It is a good thing to aspire to be an elder. It is a better thing to work on being a man who could potentially be an elder whether or not he ever holds the office.
Qualifications for Elders
A person may be considered for the position of elder if the person is male, is a member of the church, is at least 18 years old, is not an undischarged bankrupt, is of sound mind and satisfies the biblical qualifications in 1 Timothy 3:1-7, Titus 1:5-9 and 1 Peter 5:1-5.
Approval Process for Elders
All candidates for elder shall be persons qualified as above and who have successfully completed the following process:
they are nominated by the Board of Elders;
they complete a questionnaire in such form as determined by the Board of Elders from time to time;
an in-depth interview is conducted by the Board of Elders and/or such other persons as they require and the Board of Elders is satisfied with the results of that interview;
they satisfactorily complete a trial eldership phase of such duration as the Board of Elders determines from time to time; and
the candidacy of the nominee is put before the Members and Attendees, who will be reminded of the biblical requirements for Elders and given 30 days to speak personally with the nominee and/or any one or more members of the Board of Elders if they are aware of any disqualifying characteristics or interpersonal issues needing resolution.
If by the end of the 30 day period the nominee has not withdrawn his name from candidacy and no objection has been received by the Board of Elders which they in their sole discretion consider disqualifying, the candidate will join the Board of Elders.
However, if the Board of Elders receives an objection during that 30 day period which they consider in their sole discretion to be disqualifying, they may remove the nominee from consideration and shall thereafter notify the nominee of their decision. It is confirmed that there is no appeal from the decision of the Board of Elders in this respect.
Following the process above, the elders are presenting Mike Villeneuve to the congregation as an elder candidate. Over the next 30 days, please consider whether there are any disqualifying characteristics or interpersonal issues needing resolution and approach the candidate and/or an elder with this information. If there are no disqualifying issues, Mike will join the board of elders on October 16.
If you have a personal, unresolved issue with Mike and/or Char, we ask you to resolve those privately in the spirit of Matthew 18. Anything that cannot be resolved should be brought to the elders. Lord willing, we will be scheduling a Sunday to publicly lay hands on him and commission him as an elder in November. Continue to pray for Mike and Char during the final days of this critical affirmation process.
Being raised in Oro-Medonte and now living just outside of town since 2001, Mike has spent the vast majority of his life in the Barrie area. Mike was raised in a Christian home, gave his life to the Lord at the age of six and was then baptized in the old YMCA building at the age of 12.
God led him to Calgary in 1997 for work where he met his wife, Charlene, at a College & Career event. They married in 2000, moved back to Barrie shortly thereafter, and God blessed them with two beautiful girls, Hailey and Lilly, both adopted from birth. Since then, God has led Mike into various ministries of service at both Willow Creek Baptist Church in Midhurst, where they attended for 16 years, and Harvest where they have attended since 2017. Mike now runs his own business and Charlene works as a Registered Nurse here in town.
Through their experiences in adoption, Mike and Charlene have a deep appreciation of our adoption into the family of God through the work of Jesus Christ. Romans 8:15 says “The Spirit you received does not make you slaves, so that you live in fear again; rather, the Spirit you received brought about your adoption to the sonship. And by him we cry, “Abba, Father.”