The terms “elders” and “overseers” are interchangeable and designate the primary spiritual leaders of the church (Titus 1:5, 7; Acts 20: 17, 28). The term “elder” emphasizes maturity and “overseer” emphasizes the leadership responsibility. Ideally the local church has a plurality of elders (Acts 14:23; 20:17; Philippians 1:1; 1 Timothy 4:14; 5:17; Titus 1:5; James 5:14). Although elders act jointly as a council and share equal authority and responsibility for the leadership of the church, all are not equal in their giftedness, biblical knowledge, leadership ability, experience, or dedication. Therefore, those among the elders who are particularly gifted leaders and/or teachers will naturally stand out among the other elders as leaders and teachers within the leadership body as first among equals. (1 Timothy 5:17; Luke 8:51; 9:28; Acts 1:15) Their authority is to be expressed in loving leadership and not lording over the flock (1 Peter 5:3; Hebrews 13:17). God has designated men as elder/overseers (see “Women in Ministry” document).
Elders have final responsibility before God for prayer ministry (James 5:14), ministry of the Word (Acts 6:4) including teaching and guarding the church’s doctrine (Acts 20:27-31; 1 Timothy 5:17; Titus 1:9), the administration of the church (1 Timothy 3:5), and shepherding the flock (1 Peter 5:2).
Elders are responsible for the whole flock, but they are not the only ones who shepherd. The gift of pastor (Ephesians 4:11) involves shepherding, but is different from the office of elder/overseer. We use the term “pastor” for some of our leaders who direct ministries. They shepherd part of the flock under the elders’ authority. Elders are “pastors” (1 Peter 5:1-2), but we distinguish their office by the term “elder” or “overseer”. We use the term “deacon” for the office held by men and women who serve under the elders to meet practical needs in the church.
Elders must be blameless in character (1 Timothy 3:1-7; Titus 1:5-9), able to teach Scripture (1 Timothy 3:2; 5:17), and answer those who contradict it (Titus 1:9). An elder must be the “husband of one wife” (1 Timothy 3:2; 3:12). We understand that this qualification does not exclude an unmarried person, someone remarried after the death of a spouse, nor necessarily one who has divorced and remarried. The phrase describes a reputation as a “faithful” husband or a “one-wife kind of man” (see Divorce and Remarriage document).
Elders are public leaders, and so valid accusation of blame should only be accepted by two or three witnesses and result in public rebuke (1 Timothy 5:19-20).
In Scripture elders were selected by the original church planter (Acts 14:23) or by other elders (Titus 1:5), with recognition from the congregation for its leaders (Acts 6:3; 15:22-23). See Kaleo Church bylaws (Article II, section 1) for the selection process
The important role/office of deacons is highly honored by God (1 Timothy 3:13). Deacons are under the leadership of the elders. Deacons serve and build the church by carrying out essential practical ministry designated by the elders. They free up church leaders to be devoted to the ministry of the Word and prayer (Acts 6:4). They serve by meeting practical needs so the Word can spread unhindered (Acts 6:7). They conduct ministry that does not emphasize teaching or shepherding.
The word deacon is a general term. The Bible uses diakeno (serve), diakonia (service) and diakonos (servant) to describe the ministry of all believers (Ephesians 4:12). The term “deacon” also has a specialized meaning as a recognized position or office in church ministry (Philippians 1:1; 1 Timothy 3:8-13). Deacons may have originated with the seven who were chosen by the apostles and the church to care for the widows (Acts 6:1-6). The name implies that they do specially designated service necessary for the church’s effectiveness, though Scripture gives no job description.
The spiritual and character qualifications for deacons are almost identical with elders. The requirements of teaching ability (1 Timothy 3:2; Titus 1:9) and “not a new convert” (1 Timothy 3:6) are not included for deacons. They must be first tested in ministry and show themselves faithful and effective (1 Timothy 3:10). Like the elders, deacons must be the “husband of one wife” (1 Timothy 3:2; 3:12). We understand that this qualification does not exclude an unmarried person, those remarried after the death of a spouse, nor necessarily those who have divorced and remarried. The phrase describes someone with a reputation as a “faithful” spouse or a “one-wife kind of man.”
1 Timothy 3:11 mentions “women/wives”. The term may refer to the wives of deacons, but the adjective “their” (wives) is missing. There was no Greek word for deaconess and so a term like “woman” or the masculine “deacon” (Romans 16:1) had to be used. It seems unlikely that there were qualifications for the wife of a deacon when there were none for an elder’s wife. The service nature of the position does not require the authoritative teaching of the church or the leading of the whole church, which are restricted to elder/overseers. Thus, deacons may be either women or men who meet the Scriptural qualifications.
Each generation of the church may have a different emphasis on the specific ministries of deacons. The elders of each church must decide where they are most needed. The position of Kaleo Church is to commission deacons to areas of service. If needed, the deacons can develop and lead teams of serving believers whose function is not primarily teaching, e.g. leading a team to distribute money to the poor (benevolence), leading area set-up and teardown teams, leading a parking team, leading a hospitality team, leading an usher team, leading an emergency response team, and leading a building team.
STATEMENT OF MARRIAGE AND SEXUALITY
We believe that term “marriage” has only one meaning and that is marriage sanctioned by God which joins one man and one woman in a single, exclusive union, as delineated in Scripture.
We believe that God intends sexual intimacy to only occur between a man and a woman who are married to each other. We believe that God has commanded that no intimate sexual activity be engaged in outside of a marriage between a man and a woman.
We believe that any form of sexual immorality, such as adultery, fornication, homosexuality, bisexual conduct, bestiality, incest, pornography or any attempt to change one’s sex, or disagreement with one’s biological sex, is sinful and offensive to God.
We believe that in order to preserve the function and integrity of the church as the local Body of Christ, and to provide a biblical role model to the church members and the community, it is imperative that all persons employed by the church in any capacity, or members, or who serve as volunteers, should abide by and agree to this Statement on Marriage and Sexuality and conduct themselves accordingly.
We believe that God offers redemption and restoration to all who confess and forsake their sin, seeking His mercy and forgiveness through Jesus Christ.
We believe that every person must be afforded compassion, love, kindness, respect, and dignity. Hateful and harassing behavior or attitudes directed toward any individual are to be repudiated and are not in accord with scripture nor the doctrines of the church.
Kaleo Church will only preform marriage ceremonies for members of Kaleo Church.
DIVORCE AND REMARRIAGE
Kaleo Church seeks God’s help to build strong marriages and families. Marriage is God’s gift for believers and unbelievers (Genesis 2:24) but, in a broken world, marriages will fail and we must be ready to respond with grace and truth.
Marriage is a God-ordained, public covenant between a man and a woman that results in a “one flesh” relationship (Genesis 2:24; Proverbs 2:16-17; Ezekiel 16:8; Malachi 2:14). God’s design is that every marriage be faithfully permanent. God loves covenant keeping, and His strength is sufficient to enable husband and wife to be faithful. His redeeming grace gives us hope that even the most broken marriage can be restored.
Our position allows divorce and remarriage for either of two valid causes: sexual immorality (Matthew 5:31-32; 19:9) or desertion by an unbelieving spouse (I Corinthians 7:15). This has been called the Erasmian view, the traditional Protestant view, and is the most common view among evangelicals.
Note: In this position statement “sexual immorality” and “sexual unfaithfulness” are translations of the Greek word, porneia (Matt 5:32; 19:9). In a marriage context it refers to the sins of adultery, homosexual behavior, incest and bestiality.
The Mosaic Law brought the death penalty for certain sexual sins, including adultery, incest, homosexual behavior and bestiality. Capital punishment showed the seriousness of sexual sin and allowed the innocent surviving spouse to remarry. God hates divorce (Malachi 2:16), but He allowed it because of the hardness of people’s hearts (Deuteronomy 24:1-4; Matthew 19:8).
Jesus said, “whoever divorces his wife, except for sexual immorality, and marries another commits adultery” (Matthew 19:9; see also 5:32). The exception clause (“except for sexual immorality”) refers to adultery and probably covers all the cases of sexual sin that deserved capital punishment in the Old Testament. Matthew records Christ’s most detailed teaching on divorce and remarriage (Matthew 5:27-32; 19:3-12). Mark 10:2-12 and Luke 16:18 do not include the exception clause because they are a summary of Christ’s teaching.
The New Testament allows, but does not require, divorce for sexual unfaithfulness. God’s grace encourages us to forgive and have hope that God’s transforming power can redeem even the most broken marriage. However, when there has been sexual unfaithfulness, divorce and remarriage are allowed, and do not constitute adultery. The marriage bond includes a covenant and then uniting sexually in “one flesh” (Genesis 2:24). Biblically, a marriage is viewed as ending when one spouse dies (Romans 7:2). It also ends when two things occur: (1) the one flesh has been violated (sexual unfaithfulness) and (2) the legal covenant has been revoked (divorce); if only one of these two things has occurred, the marriage continues to exist.
WOMEN IN MINISTRY
We are thankful that Kaleo Church has not allowed the role of women in the church to be a contentious issue. Our culture is fighting around us for power, rights and prominence. Unfortunately, the evangelical community is also fighting over the gender issue. Sometimes both sides seem to be angry and power hungry to win the argument.
Two main views have emerged among evangelicals. Egalitarians believe that women can qualify for any position in the church. Complementarians (formerly hierarchialists or traditionalists) believe that men and women are equal in worth, but that God has created role differences that limit women from some ministry positions. Neutrality is impossible, since every practice reflects one or the other of the two views.
While this issue is significant, it is not one of the essentials of the faith, like the deity of Jesus, and should not become a divisive issue. We are committed to respectful discussions that edify and oppose angry arguments that divide. We recommend the book Two Views: Women in Ministry for an irenic and balanced interaction. In addition, two evangelical organizations have formed: Christians for Biblical Equality and The Council on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood; their websites are filled with excellent biblically based literature.
We believe that both men and women are equally made in the image of God (Genesis 1:27) and equal partners in Christ (Galatians 3:28). As in the Trinity, there is equality of persons, but diversity in function. There is a relationship between the equal persons of the Trinity that includes leadership and submission. God the Father sends the Son and the Spirit (Isaiah 48:16; John 5:23-36; 14:26; 15:26). The Son and the Spirit submit to the Father, but each is equally God. All believers must joyfully submit to the triune God. History has clearly shown that men often use their leadership to oppress. Many Christian men have not sacrificially loved their wives. Great harm has been done to women in the name of church leadership. Our example is Christ, who used His authority to lead with love and empower the Church.
In each age God has designated men to fulfill the primary role of spiritual leadership: Old Testament priests, the twelve apostles and elders/overseers in the church. 1 Timothy 2:12 can be understood as combining the two ideas of teaching and authority. The role of elder or senior pastor is limited to men. . Paul’s appeal to creation (1 Timothy 2:12-15; 1 Corinthians 11:2-4) and God’s pattern of choosing men (priest, apostle, and elder), point to male leadership as trans-cultural. The position of deacon is for qualified men or women (1 Timothy 3:11; Romans 16:1-2).
Christ’s leadership of the Church models and prescribes the role of loving leadership for the husband. Wives are to submit voluntarily to their own husbands (Ephesians 5:22-24; Colossians 3:18; 1 Peter 3:1-6). Because of the fall, the husband’s loving leadership has often been perverted into domination and the wife’s willing submission into improper servitude or a power struggle. Women in general are not required to submit to men in general (1 Corinthians 11:2-4).
Restoration is the process of leading a believer back from sinning to repentance, forgiveness, fellowship and ministry. Scripture gives broad guidelines for church restoration rather than detailed instructions on every particular situation. Our elders and leaders seek to follow these biblical guidelines under the guidance of the Spirit. The goal of confronting sin is always restoration rather than punishment. Since Gods grace covers every possible sin, restoration is only impossible when we refuse to repent.
God leads our process of growth by disciplining all of His true children (Hebrews 12:5-11; 1 Corinthians 11:32). Discipline is part of discipleship and is a sign of true relationship with our heavenly Father (Hebrews 12:8).
Restoration within Community
Kaleo Church has a core value of community. We commit to the spiritual welfare of each other through a Membership Covenant. We are bound by love to encourage each other in righteousness and warn each other when we wander into sin. We are Christ-followers in community who “speak the truth in love” to each other as a means of growing up in Christ (Ephesians 4:15, 25).
As a Christ-following community, we are to confess our sins to one other (James 5:16), forgive each other (Ephesians 4:32), stimulate each other to good works (Hebrews 10:25), turn each other back when we stray (James 5:19-21), rebuke (1 Timothy 5:20; Titus 1:13; 2:15), correct (2 Timothy 3:16), exhort each other with the Word (1 Timothy 4:2), and urge harmony between believers in conflict (Philippians 4:2). Restoration ministry includes helping believers in dispute rather than using the secular courts (1 Corinthians 6:1-11).
In the World, but not of the World
God has placed Christ-followers in the midst of a broken world in relationship rather than isolation (1 Corinthians 5:10). However, those who profess to be Christ-followers and are living in unrepentant sin should be confronted and every effort made to have them restored if at all possible (1 Corinthians 5:12-13).
Matthew 18:15-17 outlines the process of restoring a sinning believer:
“If your brother sins [against you], go and show him his fault, just between the two of you. If he listens to you, you have won your brother over. But if he will not listen, take one or two others along, so that „every matter may be established by the testimony of two or three witnesses.‟ If he refuses to listen to them, tell it to the church; and if he refuses to listen even to the church, treat him as you would a pagan or a tax collector.”
While in the process of confronting a sinning believer, we do not treat the person as an enemy, though normal fellowship is not possible. Rather, we are with them in order to admonish to repentance (2 Thessalonians 3:14-15). When excommunication is necessary, the church no longer recognizes the sinning person as a part of the believing community (Matthew 18:17).