Copyright © 2016 Grace Family Church or Rhode Island
The goal of our instruction is love from a pure heart and a good conscience and a sincere faith. (1 Timothy 1:5)
Speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in all aspects into Him who is the head, even Christ, from whom the whole body, being fitted and held together by what every joint supplies, according to the proper working of each individual part, causes the growth of the body for the building up of itself in love.
Every member of the Body of Christ has a very important role to play. We are all called to join the Lord in His work, contributing to the growth of the church in love. Our model is Jesus Christ, the only true head of the church. He is the One who provides the people, the resources and the gifts that are needed for the strengthening and the growth of the church. As each one of us contributes what the Lord has given us to share (abilities, resources, gifts, etc.), the whole body benefits and is held together.
In order to facilitate the proper working of each part of the body, the Lord has provided deacons, elders, teachers and pastors to His body, each with his/her own responsibility to fulfill. In other words, He has given us a structure, an organization that should secure the proper function of the entire body in harmony and love. In order to promote such harmony and to preserve the profound peace that the Lord has given us, we have adopted a biblical structure that provides accountability for every member of the body, beginning with those who are in leadership, and for everyone else.
Our congregational leadership is fully accountable to the Lord, of course, but also to our denominational leadership as well as to the congregation itself. Our governance is somewhat of a hybrid, as it is in part episcopal (with the senior pastor being responsible for the final decisions on congregational matters) in part congregational (with the membership having considerable influence in the way the congregation is lead), and in part presbyterian (with a pastoral and/or leadership team contributing to the administration of the church). We also have in place a system of appeal and grievance that assures a fair opportunity for the members to voice their concern with the way the affairs of the congregation are conducted if and when needed. The senior pastor, who is ultimately responsible for the decisions affecting the congregation is aided in this role by both a pastoral team of elders as well as by an Advisory Council that is nominated by the congregation. In addition to being accountable to the pastoral team and to the council, the senior pastor is also accountable to the regional pastor of the denomination.
It is this mutual accountability, rather than a one-
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