Soli Deo Gloria (To the Glory of God Alone)
We are a Jesus-ruled, elder-led, deacon-served, staff-supported, congregationally-accountable local church.
Ultimately, Jesus Christ is the head of the church (Colossians 1:18, Ephesians 1:22-23). He alone is our leader and ruler. And Christ promised that he will build his church and the gates of hell will not prevail against it (Matthew 16:18). All of our church members and leaders are in full submission to Jesus. At Leonardtown Baptist Church our elders recognize Jesus as the Chief Shepherd, and endeavor to shepherd this flock of believers in submission to Christ (1 Peter 5:1-4).
The Bible gives clear qualifications for what it means to be a pastor/elder/overseer of a local church (1 Tim. 3:1-7, Titus 1:6-9). The Bible also clearly models a plurality of elders in a local church setting (without ever setting a specific number) (Acts 14:23, 16:4, 20:17, 21:18, Titus 1:5, James 5:14). At Leonardtown Baptist, biblically-qualified men are recognized by the church as the ones who preach, teach, and lead.
The Bible also gives clear qualifications for what it means to be a deacon (1 Tim. 3:8-12). The word deacon means servant and the origins of that office are often traced to Acts 6:1-8. Deacons at Leonardtown Baptist Church serve in a variety of ways that allow the Elders to do what they are called to do: devote themselves to prayer and the ministry of the Word.
You won’t turn to one of Paul’s letters in the New Testament and find a category for church staff. But at Leonardtown Baptist Church, we feel very honored and privileged to have paid staff that help support the efforts of our Elders and Deacons. We are extraordinarily blessed to have a great team of individuals who love Jesus and support the ministries of our church with their whole hearts for the glory of God (Colossians 3:23-24).
While we recognize His calling of elders to lead our church through the voice of the congregation, we also recognize that members have a voice in important decisions; thus, we are an elder-led and congregationally-accountable church. The congregation grants to the elders the responsibility and authority to lead the church. The congregation trusts, submits to, and supports the elders as they follow Christ (Hebrews 13:17). The elders are accountable to God, to each other, and to the congregation. The membership votes on the calling and dismissal of all elders, changes to the constitution and bylaws, the approval of an annual budget, the buying and selling of real estate property, the approval of those serving in leadership positions, and issues related to membership within the church (Matt. 18:15-17, 1 Cor. 5:4-5).