The Pastor/Elders of Living Water Fellowship are: Al Mendenhall, Doug Swanson, Phillip Telfer, Nathan Hamilton, and Pastor Emeritus Richard (Little Bear) Wheeler.
Eldership at Living Water Fellowship is not related to the present day “church board” style of leadership. LWF does not govern through a church board, committees, or a democratic congregational process. Instead, the fellowship is governed as “Elder Led” in decision making, counseling, and discipline. The pastors of Living Water Fellowship exercise a plurality of leadership; meaning, major decisions concerning our vision, doctrine, finances, counseling, discipline, choosing of various ministry leaders, etc., are made only through agreement of all pastors. This discipline can’t be compromised; however, there is some latitude for independent decision making by an individual pastor in non-essential issues that relate to their respective role or are not described above. Within this “plurality” the pastors purpose to be an example to the congregation on how to be in unity in fellowship with one another even though we may at times have differing opinions concerning interpretation of secondary doctrines or debatable subjects.
The position of Pastor/Elder or Overseer is described in several places in the New Testament and is ascribed to by the leaders of this Fellowship.
Qualifications of an Overseer or Elder:
I Timothy 3:1-7, “Here is a trustworthy saying: If anyone sets his heart on being an overseer, he desires a noble task. Now the overseer must be above reproach, the husband of but one wife, temperate, self-controlled, respectable, hospitable, able to teach, not given to drunkenness, not violent but gentle, not quarrelsome, not a lover of money. He must manage his own family well and see that his children obey him with proper respect. (If anyone does not know how to manage his own family, how can he take care of God’s church?) He must not be a recent convert, or he may become conceited and fall under the same judgment as the devil. He must also have a good reputation with outsiders, so that he will not fall into disgrace and into the devil’s trap.”
Titus 1:6-10, “An elder must be blameless, the husband of but one wife, a man whose children believe and are not open to the charge of being wild and disobedient. Since an overseer is entrusted with God’s work, he must be blameless–not overbearing, not quick-tempered, not given to drunkenness, not violent, not pursuing dishonest gain. Rather he must be hospitable, one who loves what is good, who is self-controlled, upright, holy and disciplined. He must hold firmly to the trustworthy message as it has been taught, so that he can encourage others by sound doctrine and refute those who oppose it. For there are many rebellious people, mere talkers and deceivers, especially those of the circumcision group.”
I Peter 5:2-4, “Be shepherds of God’s flock that is under your care, serving as overseers–not because you must, but because you are willing, as God wants you to be; not greedy for money, but eager to serve; not lording it over those entrusted to you, but being examples to the flock. And when the Chief Shepherd appears, you will receive the crown of glory that will never fade away.”
Deserving of Respect & Honor
Hebrews 13:17, “Obey your leaders and submit to their authority. They keep watch over you as men who must give an account. Obey them so that their work will be a joy, not a burden, for that would be of no advantage to you.”
I Timothy 5:17-19, “The elders who direct the affairs of the church well are worthy of double honor, especially those whose work is preaching and teaching. For the Scripture says, ‘Do not muzzle the ox while it is treading out the grain,’ and ‘the worker deserves his wages.’ Do not entertain an accusation against an elder unless it is brought by two or three witnesses.”
Our Primary Roles:
As pastors of Living Water Fellowship we purpose to:
Provide spiritual leadership for the flock that God has entrusted to us
Shepherd the body and watch over their souls.
Have a vision of “one accord” moving together in unity
Be servant leaders
Meet the counseling needs of the flock
All be given to teach
The Deacons of Living Water Fellowship are: Ric Hancock and Bill Hurlin.
Living Water Fellowship believes as the Scriptures describe in the book of Acts that there are needs of the body that require the practical servant hood of men given to the ministry to carry out those needs in such a way that allows the pastors to focus on the spiritual needs of the flock. Therefore, we as pastors prayerfully chose deacons in accordance with the qualifications defined in I Timothy 3:8-13 and in keeping with the job description found in Acts 6:1-6.
I Timothy 3:8-13, “Deacons, likewise, are to be men worthy of respect, sincere, not indulging in much wine, and not pursuing dishonest gain. They must keep hold of the deep truths of the faith with a clear conscience. They must first be tested; and then if there is nothing against them, let them serve as deacons. In the same way, their wives are to be women worthy of respect, not malicious talkers but temperate and trustworthy in everything. A deacon must be the husband of but one wife and must manage his children and his household well. Those who have served well gain an excellent standing and great assurance in their faith in Christ Jesus.”
I Timothy 5:22, “Do not be hasty in the laying on of hands, and do not share in the sins of others. Keep yourself pure.”
Acts 6:1-6, “In those days when the number of disciples was increasing, the Grecian Jews among them complained against the Hebraic Jews because their widows were being overlooked in the daily distribution of food. So the twelve gathered all the disciples together and said, ‘It would not be right for us to neglect the ministry of the word of God in order to wait on tables. Brothers, choose seven men from among you who are known to be full of the Spirit and wisdom. We will turn this responsibility over to them and will give our attention to prayer and the ministry of the word.’ This proposal pleased the whole group. They chose Stephen, a man full of faith and of the Holy Spirit; also Philip, Procorus, Nicanor, Timon, Parmenas, and Nicolas from Antioch, a convert to Judaism. They presented these men to the apostles, who prayed and laid their hands on them.”