Jesus Christ Himself is the leader of our Church. Through the Bible and the Holy Spirit, we are guided by Jesus’ teaching - both by His words and the insight we are given into how He lived and treated people. (Colossians 1:18; Ephesians 5:23-24; Matthew 16:18; 1 Corinthians 3:11; Ephesians 2:20, 1 Peter 5:4; Matthew 28:18-20).
The Lord Jesus also gives us leaders, referred to in this local Church as Elders and Deacons (1 Timothy 3:1-13; 1 Timothy 5:17; Titus 1:5-9; 1 Peter 5:1-5; Philippians 1:1; Hebrews 13:17; Ephesians 4:11; Acts 20:28; 1 Thessalonians 5:12-13).
Harvest Ayr is committed to the Bible’s teaching that those who hold the offices of Elder and Deacon are to oversee various functions of the local church.
The Bible’s teaching on the subject of two church offices is found in 1 Timothy 3:1-13 and Titus 1:5-9. Although there are four terms used for the offices of the church: pastor, overseer, elder, and deacon, analysis of these terms indicates that pastor, overseer, and elder are used interchangeably.
Qualifications (1 Timothy 3:1-7; Titus 1:6-9)
- Above reproach
- Able to teach
- Husband to one wife
- Not addicted to wine
- Not antagonistic
- Free from the love of money
- Manage own household
- Not a new convert
The Scriptures show that the Elders “serve by leading” and that their responsibility involves the spiritual oversight of the congregation. All Elders are equal in authority but not necessarily equal in influence.
The Elder’s primary responsibilities include:
Scripture - Ensuring that the doctrine of the church is biblical; all doctrinal issues in the church will be settled by the Board of Elders.
Strategy - Ensuring that the direction of the church is consistent with the Foundational Priorities of the church.
Shepherding - Overseeing the discipleship and pastoral care of the church. Including ministering in love and humility the process of church discipline as outlined in Matthew 18:15-20; Galatians 6:1-4; Titus 3:10; 2 Thessalonians 3:14-15; 1 Timothy 5:17-25; 1 Corinthians 5:1-13; 2 Corinthians 2:5-11 and Romans 16:17.
Plurality of Elders
The Scriptures teach that a plurality of Elders governed individual New Testament churches. The Scripture does not mention any congregations featuring a stand-alone pastor and leader. A plurality of godly Elders, exercising their individual giftedness, squares with the Scripture’s teaching that wisdom is found in a multitude of godly counselors. This truth does not eliminate the possibility and likelihood that one or more Elders will stand out from the others as more public in their ministries or more influential in their workings on the Elder Board (Acts 14:23, 20:28; Titus 1:5; Philippians 1:1; Proverbs 11:14, 12:15, 15:22, 19:20, 24:6).
The Elders govern the church by Elder consensus and while the goal is for the congregation to be fully engaged in the life, vision and mission of the church, congregational voting is not a feature of the decision making process of the church.
The Elders employ the method of consensus as a decision-making model rather than the casting of votes or some other means. This is aimed to reduce the potential for polarisation or division where votes pit parties against one another. Consensus allows for a more nuanced approach that frames the conversation in terms of reasoning together through prayer, discussion and discernment so that the Board is better equipped to reach a unified conclusion.
Consensus aims for unanimity or an agreement that everyone had the opportunity to be heard. It is achieved when those in the minority are willing to join the majority in public support of a decision and the entire Board is able to speak publicly and in supportive fashion as one voice on the matter.
When the need arises for additional Elders, a nominee will be recommended by the existing Board of Elders. In keeping with the clear biblical injunctions regarding authority structures within the church, only men will be considered for the office of Elder. An in-depth interview will ensue to determine if the nominee is biblically qualified. The congregation will then be reminded of the biblical requirement for Elders and given 30 days to speak personally with the nominee if they are aware of any disqualifying characteristics. If the matter remains unresolved, the nominee or church member should approach the Board of Elders and request that their name be withdrawn from consideration.
Since Scripture indicates no fixed term for Elders, no specific fixed term of office is recommended. Instead, each Elder, upon appointment, shall be asked for a three-year commitment. At the end of three years the commitment will be reviewed, along with a possible recommitment and reaffirmation by fellow Elders. During the review, both the individual and the other Elders shall evaluate his continued service as an Elder, again considering the biblical qualifications, as well as any personal factors that might affect his service. An individual’s service as an Elder may be discontinued by his own decision or by a consensus decision of the other Elders. A person leaving the Board of Elders would not preclude his service as a future Elder, subject to the regular selection process.
The Bible teaches that Deacons “lead by serving”. The qualifications for Elders and Deacons overlap regarding an individual’s character, but they differ in aptitude. The Elders are appointed to exercise oversight and are to be able to teach - while the Deacons are to be able and proved as servants (Acts 6).
Qualifications (1 Timothy 3:8-12)
Individual of dignity
Not double tongued
First tested as servants
Not addicted to wine
Faithful in all things
Not greedy for dishonest gain
Holding to the mystery of faith with a clear conscience
Devoted manager of the home
Deacons are servants who do whatever is necessary to allow the Elders to accomplish their God-given calling of shepherding and teaching the church. As a result, each local church is free to define the tasks of Deacons based on their particular needs. Therefore, Deacons will have responsibilities as established by the Elder Board. This may include key ministry leadership roles and other serving functions.
When the need arises for additional Deacons, suitably qualified and gifted members of the church will be appointed by the existing Board of Elders.
Since Scripture indicates no fixed term for Deacons, no specific fixed term of office is recommended. An individual’s service as a Deacon may be discontinued by their own decision or by a consensus decision of the Board of Elders. A Deacon leaving their position would not preclude their service as a future Deacon, subject to the regular selection process.
Lee is married to Zoe and they have a little boy called Joseph. Lee grew up in Northern Ireland in a home that loved Jesus and he was saved by Jesus at a young age. He grew up in Coleraine Baptist Church where he was faithfully discipled and inspired to wholeheartedly love and serve Jesus.
Lee studied engineering at Queens University Belfast and his time there served to be a deeply formative part of his spiritual journey. It was there that Jesus grabbed hold of his heart and deepened his faith through friendships with other Christians and opportunities to serve as part of Queens Christian Union.
Lee moved to Glasgow in 2015 with Zoe where they became members of Harvest Glasgow. Through opportunities to lead and serve their love for the church grew and their desire for ministry increased, particularly church planting. Through affirmation and conversations with the church elders Lee began to get equipped for ministry via Crosslands on a part time basis alongside engineering. In 2019 he left engineering to become a ministry apprentice at Harvest Glasgow as he finished his theological training and in 2020, he became Pastor of Discipleship and Outreach.
Lee and Zoe have been captured by the vision to be part of a church planting church. Alongside several other families in Harvest Glasgow, and with the support of Harvest Glasgow and the Great Commission Collective, Lee and Zoe are being sent out to plant a new church in Ayr in the Autumn of 2021.
If you find yourself in Ayrshire anytime soon, please get in contact. We would love to say hi!
I was brought up in a Christian home, however realised that this didn’t make me a Christian and that I needed to have a personal relationship with Jesus. I became a Christian at a young age, God used a verse from John 6 v 37 to speak to me “All that the Father gives me will come to me, and whoever comes to me I will never cast out”. I realised that if I came to Jesus in faith then he would receive, forgive and save me.
God used my time at Dundee University to grow me in my faith. Being surrounded with many fellow Christian students who were serious about following Jesus was a tremendous inspiration and encouragement to me.
God is Faithful and as a family we are so thankful to be involved in Harvest, we love being part of a Church family who put God’s Word front and centre of their lives and who seriously pursue Jesus, seeking to grow in his likeness.
I’m married to Suzi; we have 2 children Lauren and Joshua. In my spare time I enjoy spending time with family, playing golf, watching football and trying to keep fit.
Scott is married to Alison and they have four kids (Matthew, Katie, Hannah and Ben). He grew up in a Christian home and trusted Jesus at the age of 11 at a Christian camp called Teen Ranch. After school he studied history at Dundee University before training and working as a youth and community worker in the east end of Glasgow for Glasgow City Council.
During that time he started to get more opportunities to preach and lead in the local church in Cathcart that Alison and he were members of and also back at Teen Ranch. That led him to pursue training for ministry with the Baptist Union of Scotland and he became pastor of Castlemilk Baptist Church in October 2004 (part-time to begin with as he completed his studies). In late 2008 he and Alison started to explore church planting. The idea of starting afresh with a simple view of what the church should be built around the picture that God's Word gives was compelling.
That is where Harvest Glasgow began. With a desire to be part of a church that would serve to increase their depth of relationship with Jesus and a capacity to make much of Him in everything about our lives. As part of that process Scott spent 6 weeks in Chicago training and being assessed for church planting before landing home at the start of March 2009 to begin the work of gathering people around what he and Alison were praying that God would do.
Scott really enjoys watching and playing (when not injured) football. He also coaches Matthew and Katie's football team Stamperland 2006's on Saturday mornings. He also enjoys watching rugby and can be found at Glasgow Warriors games from time to time.
Otherwise his favourite things are caravan holidays, board games and spending time with Alison and the kids. If you find yourself at Harvest Glasgow come and say hi, he would love to meet you.
Gary has been at Harvest since its launch in 2010 along with his wife Emma and son Tom.
Gary was originally part of the leadership group in the church's infancy before serving as an elder from 2017. Gary knew Scott Hamilton and his family before Harvest launched. Gary and Scott played football together and were both members of Cathcart Baptist Church in Cathcart.
Gary has served in Kids min, as a small group leader and also in the AV team for many years.
Growing up I was sceptical about Jesus and especially believers, however, I knew there was something different about them. It was not until my early twenties my curiosity towards faith in Jesus was stirred when I met Amanda who had a Christian faith (now my wife).
Over a period of months, I was challenged as I began to wrestle in my soul about what a personal relationship with Jesus would look like and considered the impact on my life. I started to attend church and at one meeting I was struck by the words of Jesus “Why are you afraid, O you of little faith” Matthew 8:23-24. Immediately those words pierced my heart and I was no longer afraid to trust Him with my life.
I took a simple leap of faith, confessing my sins and repented for things I knew to be wrong and trusted the promises of Jesus. Very quickly the opposition from family, close friends, and colleagues was made known, disapproving of my decision to follow Jesus. Thankfully God was at work in my life strengthening the little faith I had.
Amanda and I enjoy spending quality time together with our three daughters Emma, Eilidh and Hannah who are a massive blessing to us and a reminder of God’s grace towards us. We are excited to be part of Harvest family and our desire is to grow as disciples of Christ as we journey through life.
If you’re visiting Harvest Glasgow, I would be thrilled to meet you and get to know you.