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At Unley Park Baptist, the Council are appointed lay leaders who provide oversight with the Lead Pastor to enable God’s Purpose and Vision for our church. The Council acts as the Board to attend to the governance and management of the church. This is a vital role as governing our church well improves our Kingdom effectiveness. We also recognise that our church’s corporate behaviour is a vital part of our Christian witness to all our stakeholders and to the wider community.
The Council consists of two parts: The Elders provide ‘Shepherding’ (Pastoral/Discipleship) oversight, and the Deacons provide ‘Enabling’ (Administrative/Management) oversight. Elders and Deacons work together to fulfil Board Governance functions for the church.
 Constitution Clause 7
The Council as Godly Leaders
The members of the Council are to meet the biblical leadership standards such as that expected of the New Testament Elders. Our church affirms such leadership roles can be filled by suitable women and men. It is our scriptural belief that biblical leadership in the local church is determined by gifting and character, not intellect, skills, gender, age, or social standing.
Biblical Qualifications Required for Council Members
In the New Testament elders were required to have demonstrated, over an extended period, that they had the character and ability to fulfil their ministry. The questions that could be asked in the contemporary setting to help determine someone’s suitability as a candidate for Council include:
- How long have they been a part of the church community? How well are they known?
- What has been learnt about their character? Is there confidence in their ethical and spiritual life?
- What reputation does this person have in the business or local community?
- Do they struggle with strong emotions? Is there a history of relationship problems?
- Do they have a reputation for complaining, being judgemental or negative, gossiping, or dogmatic criticism?
- Are they prepared to be accountable and accept the confidentiality required of elders?
- Have they demonstrated proven ability over an extended period?
- Are they someone people naturally look to for leadership?
- Do they have gifts and abilities already in use in the church?
- Are they affirmed by others in the use of these gifts and abilities?
- Does this person, and their gifts, complement others in the eldership?
- How available are they considering employment, family, or health commitments?
 Refer “Rethinking Eldership”, ed. Mark Dainton, Vital Publications, 2004. A publication of the Churches of Christ in Australia
 Refer 1 Timothy 5:22-25
Role and Ministry of Council
The role and ministry of the Council is:
Maturity and Modelling
- demonstrating active prayerful faith and modelling an authentic Christian lifestyle so that the truth of Christ will remain credible to both the congregation and the community.
- Providing a visible presence as church leaders.
- Overseeing the church’s ethos, doctrine, vision, and mission
- Staying in touch with the direction of the church, her ministries and leadership to ensure we are moving toward the vision God has given us and keeping in balance the fullness of the purpose of the church in communion, community, and commission.
- Culture & Strategy: Purpose, Mission, Vision, Values, Identity, Evaluation & Effectiveness
- Corporate Management: overseeing and ensuring that the church lives out its life as a corporate citizen in the world in a manner that is transparent and honours God.
- Working with the Lead Pastor to align, structure, support and resource for God’s purpose and vision for our church.
- Ministry Leadership appointments
- Building Community through encouraging commitment and protecting unity
- In periods without a Lead or Interim Pastor, direct management of ministry operations
In addition to biblical leadership expectations, the legal responsibilities should be understood by all Council members. The church Council is the “the Committee” for the purposes of compliance with the Associations Incorporation Act 1985, and therefore has all the legal and fiduciary responsibilities required by the provisions of that Act.
Functions specific to Council
The church Council:
- manage and control the funds and other property of the church.
- facilitate the development and oversight of the church’s ethos, vision, mission, and strategy.
- provides regular appraisal and feedback on a Pastor’s appointment.
- oversee all church ministries.
- Develop church Policies to advance the management and mission of the church.
Functions specific to Elders
The functions the Elders specifically address are:
- Oversight of the church’s doctrine.
- attending to the spiritual and physical wellbeing of the congregation.
- teaching the counsel of God in areas of giftedness.
- building community through encouraging commitment and protecting unity.
- support for newcomers and people leaving UPB.
- support of Members and management of the Membership process.
Functions specific to the Deacons
The functions the Deacons specifically address are:
- work with the Lead Pastor to align, structure, support, and resource the church for God’s Purpose and Vision.
- Finance and Asset Management.
- Reporting and Accountability to Members.
- Ensuring the continuity of the church’s mission through meeting compliance and managing risks.
Recognition and Appointment of Council Members
The appointment of a Council Member is a recognition of their gifting and standing in the church, rather than simply an election. The Constitution By-Laws outline the process for the nomination and appointment of Council members. See Appendix 1
Council will consider the following general principles when considering the suitability of candidates to fill a Council vacancy:
- Commitment to the culture and current strategies of the church.
- Strategic thinking skills.
- Gender diversity.
- Demographic diversity.
Council Member Prerequisites
- Must be known and approved for consideration by a Pastor, staff member, a member of the Council.
- Must meet the compliance requirements for Council Leadership
- A Council Member must be a voting member in good standing of Unley Park Baptist Church Inc.
- Must have volunteered in a significant capacity and preferably in a leadership role.
- Must have capacity, flexibility, and availability to serve in the Council Member role.
- Any Elder and Deacon nominees must be approved as suitable candidates by the Council.
Time Commitment for Council Members
- Regular attendance and service at church.
- Attendance at quarterly Member meetings.
- Active member of a Growth group or equivalent.
- Monthly Council/Deacon/Elder meetings.
- One annual Saturday retreat.
- Four to six hours (on average) per month for meeting preparation, support of leaders and congregation, portfolio/committee duties.
Term of Appointment
The term for a Council Member is for a maximum period of 3 years with retiring Members eligible for re-election for a maximum set of 3 consecutive terms
 Constitution Clause 7.6
 Further information can be found in Constitution Bylaw 3