Church Government

Harvest is committed to the Bible’s teaching that men who hold the offices of Elder and Deacon are to oversee various functions of the local church.

The Bible’s teaching on the subject of two church offices is found in 1 Timothy 3:1-13 and Titus 1:5-9. Although there are three terms used for the offices of the church (bishop, elder, and deacon), analysis of these terms indicates that bishop and elder are used interchangeably.

Harvest Ashburn Elders

We will follow the biblical direction to be an elder-led church. Our sending partner, Harvest Bible Fellowship, has provided us with church planting coaches who will also serve as elders until we install our own elders. We hope to identify and install our own local elders within the first 18 months of launch.

Rich Shipe

Jerry Lingenfelter

Senior Pastor
Harvest Bible Chapel Lancaster

Elder Qualifications

(1 Timothy 3:1-7Titus 1:5-9)

  • Above reproach
  • Able to teach
  • Husband to one wife
  • Not addicted to wine
  • Temperate
  • Not antagonistic
  • Prudent
  • Uncontentious
  • Respectable
  • Free from the love of money
  • Hospitable
  • Manages own household
  • Not a new convert

Elder Duties

The Scriptures show that the elders serve by leading and that their responsibility involves the spiritual oversight of the congregation.

The elders’ primary responsibilities include:

Plurality Of Elders

The Scriptures teach that a plurality of elders governed individual New Testament churches (Acts 14:23; Acts 20:28Titus 1:5; Philippians 1:1). The Scripture does not mention any congregations featuring a stand-alone pastor or leader. A plurality of godly elders, exercising their individual giftedness, aligns with the Scripture’s teaching that wisdom is found in a multitude of godly counselors (Proverbs 11:14; Proverbs 12:15; Proverbs 15:22; Proverbs 19:20Proverbs 24:6).

Senior Pastor

The Harvest Bible Chapel Senior Pastor automatically serves as an elder and, because of his public presence and responsibility before the congregation, may be considered first among equals as a member of the Elder Board. The Senior Pastor should be gifted primarily as a preacher/teacher and as a leader.


The Bible teaches that deacons lead by serving (Acts 6). The qualifications for elders and deacons are the same regarding an individual’s character, but they differ in role. The elders are able to teach while the deacons are gifted in service and administration.

Deacon Qualifications

(1 Timothy 3:8-13)

  • Individual of dignity
  • Above reproach
  • Not double tongued
  • First tested as servants
  • Not addicted to wine
  • Spouses must be faithful
  • Temperate
  • Not fond of sordid gain
  • Holding to the mystery of faith with a clear conscience
  • Husband of one wife
  • Manages household well