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Brothers & Sisters,

We have arrived to the 7th and final step of making the move to an Elder led church per our plan adopted last June. I have attached the Constitution for you to view a couple of important instructions and guides. You will find both the role and qualifications for Elders & Deacons (see Article 4 on pages 14-16, see also the Appendix on pages 23-26 at the end of the Constitution). It is vital that we are all familiar with the qualifications and roles that we are asking the Lord to help us with. Please read and re-read 1 Timothy 3, Titus 1, & 1 Peter 5. With that in mind, I'd like to lay out for you what is next in identifying who these men are and what it will look like to receive them as potential candidates for either position, examine them, confirm them, and ordain them for service.

Step 1: Pray. I know that many of you have been and will continue to be but it would be a misstep not to spend the first several weeks in prayer both privately and corporately asking the Lord this question, "Who are the men you have called and set apart to join our Pastor and Deacons to serve alongside them in these vital leadership roles?" Paul says, "Do not be hasty in the laying on of hands, nor take part in the sins of others; keep yourself pure." (1 Timothy 5:22 ESV) What he means here is if we are too quick in ordaining the wrong men it can lead to destruction, for both the individual and the church. In fact, this passage is stern warning, declaring that those who ordained their leadership are just as guilty as if they had sinned with them. So, we must pray. Before we receive any submissions from the congregation I would like to take the remainder of January and February to pray. We will be gathering at 8:00 a.m. every Sunday to pray over this. I would ask that you consider joining us for that. In addition to our 8:00 a.m. prayer on Sundays we will be gathering corporately to pray on Sunday, January 28th at 6:00 p.m. for an hour of prayer around this. Men, if you have it on your heart to be considered for these leadership roles, I want you to know that you desire a noble task! I, also, want to encourage you to join us for prayer. Leadership, while many things, is a role that requires much prayer and leading in prayer.

Step 1.5: Lookout. While we are in a season of prayer look to the men in our church and observe who you believe to have the character qualifications of leadership. If they have the character qualifications do you see them already serving in these roles in some ways? What men do you see stepping up and serving the church and meeting needs? What men do you see engaged in the ministry of the Word and prayer and offering counsel? While we are praying don't hesitate to ask these men, "Have you considered serving the church as an Elder or a Deacon?" Before submitting any man's name we must not forget that desire is one of the front running qualifications per 1 Timothy 3:1.

Step 2: Deacons Assuming New Roles. While the church is engaged in prayer the Deacons and I will be meeting to discuss the physical and spiritual ministries of the church and assigning oversight. More information on this will be coming. Update: Information presented at January's Family Meeting. See the Our Team page for ministry oversight.

Step 3: Receiving Submission. From March 1st to March 27th the Deacons and I will begin taking submissions from the congregation. As March approaches we will be sure to let everyone know the process for submitting names.

Step 4: Evaluation. After submissions are closed the Deacons and I will meet to discuss the potential Deacon & Elder candidates.

Step 5: Approach. After the Deacons and I agree on who we believe is qualified we will approach these men for candidacy.

Step 6: Candidacy. Those men that agree they would like to be considered for leadership will enter into a candidacy program led by myself alongside the current DeaconsDeacons & Elders will go through material together; Elders learning and understanding the role of the Deacon and Deacons learning and understand the role of Elders in the New Testament Church. The candidacy program will allow these men to share in some of the responsibilities, burdens, and blessings of leadership, show themselves approved through time spent with them and their families and through written work, and for them to confirm with God alongside current leadership that this is a right fit. At any point during the candidacy program a candidate has freedom to step away from pursuing this leadership role. The Deacons and I may decide that a candidate is not ready or unfit for the role and reserve the right to release them from candidacy with explanation.

Step. 7: Ordination. At the end of the candidacy program, if I and the Deacons are in agreement, I will ordain the candidacy program graduates at a special ordination service before the end of 2024.

I hope that this brings some clarity on moving forward with this. If you have any questions please don't hesitate to reach out. It is such a joy to step into this exciting new season of life and ministry at First Baptist Church of Weston!

Trusting God with you,

-Pastor Ricky