Sanctuary of Grace


WHAT ARE OUR CORE VALUES?

Just as Jesus said in the Beatitudes, blessed are the poor and the hungry. Our mission is not just to love one another, but to make sure we spread the love of the Gospels everywhere.


WHAT DO WE TEACH?
We use both the Old Testament and the Gospels as the foundation for our faith and the inspiration for our daily lives. We put those teachings into practice at home and at work.


WHY DO WE HAVE ELDERS?

The New Testament uses three different words for church leaders: overseer, (or bishop), shepherd (or pastor), and elder.  A study of the usage of these words shows that the three were used interchangeably.  In Acts. 20:17-28, Paul calls for the elders of the church.  He exhorts them to shepherd the flock of God over which the Holy Spirit had made them overseers.  Other passages also show these terms to be synonymous and they appear, in almost every instance, in the plural.  There is little support for a solo pastor from the teaching of the Bible.


​Titus 1:5-9  For this reason I left you in Crete, that you would set in order what remains and appoint elders in every city as I directed you, 6 namely,  if any man is above reproach, the husband of one wife, having children who believe, not accused of dissipation or rebellion. 7 For the overseer must be above reproach as God's steward, not self-willed, not quick-tempered, not addicted to wine, not pugnacious, not fond of sordid gain, 8 but hospitable, loving what is good, sensible, just, devout, self-controlled, 9 holding fast the faithful word which is in accordance with the teaching, so that he will be able both to exhort in sound doctrine and to refute those who contradict.


In 2010, SOG completed the transition from a Senior Pastor/Deacon model of church government to a plurality of elders.  After years of struggling to keep deacons and a host of other leadership  issues, we began to study what the NT taught and became convinced there was a better way.
What does this mean?  According to the Scriptures, Christ is the Shepherd of the Church.  He is the Head of the Body.  The elders are the undershepherds of the Body of Christ, under the authority of Christ.  Elders are not to abuse their authority over the church or serve as dictators, but to serve as examples (1 Peter 5:1-5).  Elders rule, oversee, teach, and are held to a very high standard (1 Timothy 3:1-7; Titus1:5-9). 

​WHAT THE BIBLE SAYS ABOUT LEADERS:

  • Jesus Christ is the HEAD of the church, His body (Eph. 1:22).
  • All members of the local church are PRIESTS  and MINISTERS (Eph. 4:10-13).
  • God calls some members of the church to feed, lead, and equip the congregation.  These LEADERS are clearly designated in the New Testament (Eph. 4:10-13).
  • Church “leaders” are referred to by three SYNONYMS throughout the New Testament: elder, shepherd, or overseer.  The role of these leaders  is to shepherd, lead, oversee, care for and equip the members of the church (Acts 20:17-38).
  • Churches in the NT had both Elders and Deacons (1 Tim. 3:1-13).
  • Deacons were selected in the church to free the elders for “spiritual matters” by serving the body’s “temporal” needs (Acts 6:1-7).
  • The New Testament seems to teach “SPECIALIZATION”  among the elders  according to spiritual gifts, just as it does in the body at large (Eph. 4:10-13; 1 Tim. 5:17-18).
  • New Testament seems to teach “SPECIALIZATION”  among the elders  according to spiritual gifts, just as it does in the body at large.  (Ephesians 4:11-13; 1 Timothy 5:17-18)