Yesterday was a great day at Calvary! God brought first time guests to our services, we sang praises, we were challenged through the preaching and teaching of the Word, and we witnessed four young people make their faith in Christ public through baptism—it was a great day!
I want to ask for a moment of your time to provide an update on the work of the Transition Team. On February 1st the Transition Team began the process of meeting, praying, studying, and talking about the governance of Calvary Bible Baptist Church. I’m happy to report that our time together has been profitable. There is a genuine spirit of trust, mutual respect, and a great desire to work for God’s glory and the best possible outcome for His church. These meetings have been a great blessing, and encouragement to me personally. I’m thankful for the service of these men, and their willingness to undertake such an enormous task.
At the outset we knew we needed to understand more about the office of Elder as defined in the Scripture. After we were comfortable with the qualifications and responsibilities of those who will serve as elders at Calvary, we then began to focus specifically on church polity. One of the guiding principles that we’ve followed has been that Scripture clearly tells us about the offices in the church, but it does not prescribe one specific type of government for churches. The reason for this is simple, the Bible was written for every age, every culture, and every size of church. God intentionally gave some flexibility for each church to determine how it should function as it seeks to glorify God by making disciples. To be clear, such flexibility is not seen in the qualifications for elders or deacons, but it is found in how the church should operate.
With the latitude provided by Scripture, we honestly evaluated where Calvary is today, and where we are headed in the years to come. The result of this process is that we’ve determined to install an elder-led, congregational form of governance. We believe this “hybrid” form of polity will serve Calvary well as it faithfully follows the instruction of Scripture in recognizing that every elder is called to lead the church by pastoring the congregation through preaching, teaching, member care, and living as examples to follow. It also allows the elders of the church to take oversight of the church, and provide biblical administration of all the resources, and ministries that God has entrusted to our care. Another feature of this polity is that it will provide greater accountability of the leadership to the membership, and it requires members to actively participate in major decisions that affect the church as a whole.
According to the schedule we provided in January, a draft copy of the new by-laws was to be presented to the church on July 10th, followed by a vote on August 14th. The new governance plan was to take effect on September 1st, and the Transition Team was to be disbanded. Unfortunately, we have not, nor will we be able to meet those deadlines.
The task we’ve undertaken is huge, and our desire is to accomplish the job as concisely, and as carefully as possible. We don’t want to rush the process simply to meet a deadline. While the most difficult part of the process is done, the details do take time. During our meeting last night, we worked through some of the language of the new By-Laws in an effort to make various issues as clear as possible, and to correct some grammatical errors. We also have at least two major points we need to work through in our next meeting on August 7th. Once all the issues have been resolved, and the Transition Team is in unanimous agreement on the document, it will be sent for legal review to ensure that we are fully protected by the law, and that we will operate within the constraints of the law.
Today, on behalf of the members of the Transition Team, I am asking that you will allow us to present the new By-Laws to the church on, or before October 9, 2016. We will then plan to vote on the new By-Laws by the end of October, with the new governance plan becoming effective on, or before November 1, 2016.
I realize this is an unexpected delay, but we believe that it is necessary for the ultimate good of Calvary. Please be assured that we are working diligently, and every member of the team is putting forth great effort to do what you’ve entrusted us to do. We apologize for the delay, but we know that God is working!
Thank you for your patience, and we covet your continued support and faithful prayers as we seek to bring this process to a God-glorifying end. If you have any questions that have not been addressed, please make sure you contact any member of the Transition Team. We are all excited, and happy to help.
Grace + Peace,