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. (Ephesians 4:15-16)
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 provides the people, the resources and the gifts needed for the growth of the church. As each one of us contributes what the Lord has given us to share, the whole body benefits and is held together.
To facilitate the proper working of each part of the body, the Lord has provided deacons, elders, teachers and pastors. Each one of them has his/her own responsibility to fulfill. In other words, He has given us a structure, an organization that should secure the proper functioning of the entire body in harmony and love. Part of our role is to promote harmony and to preserve the peace that the Lord has given us. In order to do so, we have adopted a biblical structure that provides accountability for every member of the body. Of course, this begins with those who are in leadership, and extends to everyone else.
Our congregational leadership is fully accountable to the Lord, to our denominational leadership, and to the congregation itself. Our governance is somewhat of a hybrid. 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. This assures a fair opportunity, when needed, for the members to voice their concern about the affairs of the congregation.
The senior pastor is ultimately responsible for the decisions affecting the congregation. However, he also benefits from the assistance of a pastoral team of elders as well as an Advisory Council. It is the congregation that nominates this council, which serves on a limited term. The senior pastor, then, is accountable to the pastoral team and to the council. Additionally, he is also accountable to the regional pastor of the denomination.
It is this mutual accountability, rather than a one-