Berkeley Covenant Church Family Leave Policy
The Berkeley Covenant Church board of elders adopted the following policy at their meeting
of 14 November 2006:
We hold the highest respect and reverence for marriage and family. In that context, we believe it important and necessary to ask persons with serious family difficulties to step back from church leadership for a period of time to be determined by the senior pastor in consultation with the rest of the Board and the leader.
In the case that the senior pastor is the leader in question, the board shall determine the period of time
in consultation with the senior pastor.
-- Phil Davidson, Berkeley Covenant Church 2006-07 Secretary
Recommendation by the Family Leave Policy Committee
[This is the recommendation on which the policy statement was based. -- Phil Davidson]
We recommend that the Board accept the following as the Family Leave Policy:
We hold the highest respect and reverence for marriage and family. In that context, we believe it important and necessary to ask persons with serious family difficulties to step back from church leadership for [a period of time to be determined by the pastor, Board, and leader].
This policy is intended as one to care for the person in leadership (apart from discipline and apart from how a general member would be cared for, whether in leadership or not). Application of the Family Leave Policy needs to take into account corporate caring for an individual as well as realizing that we are dealing with two different things: care of the person (leader) and the church.
See Addendums that explicate our understandings of:
- Serious Family Difficulties
- Step Back from Church Leadership
We believe that persons are called and gifted by God to serve the Church, but it is the Church that confirms, grants and may revoke the office, if necessary, for the purpose of church discipline. Though we are addressing the issue of church discipline as it applies to leadership, we recognize that the issue of church discipline may be applied to general membership as well. Therefore, we recommend that the Board address the issue of church discipline as a separate policy. However, we include the following scripture as a more clear definition of leadership for the purposes of applying discipline. Overseers, and deacons were the NT range of leadership. In the 21st century, the range of offices is broader, extending to teachers, worship leaders, and any other leadership position that is held in the church.
1Tim. 3:1 Here is a trustworthy saying: If anyone sets his heart on being an overseer, he desires a noble task. 2 Now the overseer must be above reproach, the husband of but one wife, temperate, self-controlled, respectable, hospitable, able to teach, 3 not given to drunkenness, not violent but gentle, not quarrelsome, not a lover of money. 4 He must manage his own family well and see that his children obey him with proper respect. 5 (If anyone does not know how to manage his own family, how can he take care of God’s church?) 6 He must not be a recent convert, or he may become conceited and fall under the same judgment as the devil. 7 He must also have a good reputation with outsiders, so that he will not fall into disgrace and into the devil’s trap.
1Tim. 3:8 Deacons, likewise, are to be men worthy of respect, sincere, not indulging in much wine, and not pursuing dishonest gain. 9 They must keep hold of the deep truths of the faith with a clear conscience. 10 They must first be tested; and then if there is nothing against them, let them serve as deacons.
1Tim. 3:11 In the same way, their wives are to be women worthy of respect, not malicious talkers but temperate and trustworthy in everything.
1Tim. 3:12 A deacon must be the husband of but one wife and must manage his children and his household well. 13 Those who have served well gain an excellent standing and great assurance in their faith in Christ Jesus.
The Family Leave Policy Committee
Sharon Colbert, Ann Moriarty, Rich Rhodes, Terri Tanaka, Andrew Wollitzer
August 17, 2006
Ephesians 4:11 – evangelists, prophets, pastors, teachers, apostles
1 Tim 3
Overseers and deacons were the NT range of leadership.
In the 21st century, the range of offices is broader, extending to teachers, worship leaders, and any other leadership position that is held in the church.
We see no distinction in Scripture between “up front” or visible leadership and what we would call “behind the scenes” leadership. Our congregation is different from Biblical communities and we saw some positions that our congregation may consider more affected by the Policy. These include worship leading, service leading, reading Scripture, preaching, any visible position.
We see it important that in the exercise of leadership freedom, that a leader follow I Corinthians 8:9 and not become a stumbling block.
We see it as important to take into account whether the amount of time a person is spending in leadership and/or service positions is healthy or not.
Serious Family Difficulties
These could range from marital problems through problems with children or even life circumstances, anything for which investment of time in church ministry would detract from dealing with the issue at hand.
However, in general, “serious family difficulty” primarily refers to marital problems serious enough that they could lead to divorce.
Stepping Back from Church Leadership
This is intended to free time and energy for repairing relationships, or possibly for grieving over loss of a relationship or family member. While this policy is intended to care for the leader, we recognize that the church family may need time to grieve over the loss of a relationship as well.
This should be interpreted as meaning ceasing to function in the leadership role, whether elected or appointed. It should not necessarily mean relinquishing the office.
This may also be interpreted as a reduction in the commitment.
There is freedom for the pastor, together with the Board (perhaps a board-appointed team of 2 or 3 individuals) and leader to determine an appropriate application of what stepping back means.
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Last modified 22 December 2006