Changes to Chapter 7 - Church Officers

                           Chapter 7:  Church Officers and their Duties  (pages 45 to 72)

   This information will be found in Chapter 8 of the new manual and the name of this chapter has been changed to Local Church Officers and Organizations.

        The 59th GC Session approved 16 changes to this section of the church manual.

   Setting Tithing Example - All officers shall set an example in the matter of returning a faithful tithe to the church. Anyone who fails to set such an example shall not be elected to church office.  Appears on page 71 of 18th Edition


Approved a slight change to page 54 regarding the local church Elder serving as a delegate to a conference session, Just the wording has changed not the intent of the text.

   Not Delegates Ex Officio - No church officer is a delegate ex officio to a conference session. If the church wants an officer to serve as a delegate, it must elect that officer as a delegate.


The following text was added to the section for Elders, Relationship to the Pastor

Relationship to the Pastor -- If the conference committee assigns a pastor or pastors to the congregation, the pastor or senior pastor if more than one, should be considered the ranking officer and the local edlers as assistants. Since their work is closely related, they should work together harmoniously. The pastor should not assume all lines of responsibility but should share these with the elders and other officers. The pastor serving the church regularly acts as the chairperson of the board. (see page xx)  There may be circumstances, however, when it would be advisable for an elder to act as chairperson.  The pastoral work of the church should be shared by the pastor and the elders. In counsel with the pastor, the elders should visit members, minister to the sick, foster prayer ministries, arrange or lead out in anointing services and child dedications, encourage the disheartened, and assist in other pastoral responsibilities. As undershepherds, elders should exercise constant vigilance over the flock.    Appears on page 72 of 18th Edition


  The following text was added to the section for Elders, Conducting Church Services.

Conducting Church Services -- Under the pastor, or in the absence of the pastor, an elder is responsible for the services of the church and must either conduct them to arrange for someone to do so. Communion services must always be conducted by an ordained / commissioned pastor or local edler. The pastor usually chairs the business meeting. In the absence of the pastor, and with approval of the pastor or the conference president, an elder should serve as chairperson.       Appears on page 73 of the 18th Edition


   The following text was added to the section for Elders, Marriage Ceremony

Marriage Ceremony -- In a marriage ceremony, the charge, vows, and declaration of marriage are given only by an ordained pastor except in those areas where division committees have approved that selected licensed or commissioned pastors who have been ordained as local elders may perform the ceremony (see page 34).  Local laws may require that persons conducting marriage ceremonies also hold state licensure / permit to do so. An ordained pastor, a licensed or commissioned pastor, or an elder may deliver the sermonette, offer the prayer, and give the blessing. (See Note #1, page 167)          Appears on page 73 - 74 of the 18th Edition


    The following text was added to the section for Elders, To Foster Bible Study, Prayer and Relationship with Jesus

To Foster Bible Study, Prayer, and a Relationship with Jesus -- As spiritual leaders, elders are responsible for encouraging members to develop a personal relationship with Jesus by strengthening their habits of personal Bible study and prayer.  An effective personal prayer life of every member, supporting all ministries and programs of the local church,will enhance the church's mission. Elders may ask the board to appoint a council to assist in this role of development and encouragement.   Appears on page 74 of the 18th Edition


   The following text was added to the section for Elders, To Cooperate with the Conference

To Cooperate with the Conference -- The pastor, elders, and all officers should cooperate with conference officers and departmental directors in carrying out approved plans. They should inform the church of all regular and special offerings, promote all the programs and activities of the church, and encourage all officers to support conference plans and policies.
   Appears on page 74 of the 18th Edition


The following text was added to the section for Deacons, Assistance at Communion Service

Remaining bread and wine should not be consumed, but disposed of in a respectful manner by deacons and deaconesses following the Lord's Supper.

The following text was added to the section for Deaconesses, Board of Deaconesses

Board of Deaconesses -- If a church elects several deaconesses, it should organize a board of deaconesses chaired by the head deaconess and another deaconess serving as secretary.  This board is authorized to assign duties to individual deaconesses and cooperates closely with the board of deacons, especially in welcoming members and visitors and in home visitation. (see page 76, 77)  It also provides a training ground where new deaconesses are instructed in their duties.   Appears on page 78 of the 18th Edition


The following test as added to the Section for Deaconesses, Induction Service for Deaconesses

Induction Service for Deaconesses —The church may arrange for a suitable service of induction for the deaconesses by an ordained pastor currently credentialed by the conference. In some cases, if approved by the division executive committee, this may include an ordination service characterized by simplicity and performed in the presence of the church.
If they retain church membership, deaconesses, if ordained, do not have to be ordained again if they move their memberships to other churches. When the term for which they were elected expires, they must be reelected if they are to continue to serve as deaconesses.    Appears on page 78, 79 of the 18th Edition


   We consider this a major change to the church manual, see separate page  

The following text was added to the section for Deaconesses, Greeting and Visiting Guests and Members
Greeting and Visiting Guests and Members -- In many churches, deaconesses assist in greeting guests and members at meetings and in visiting members in their homes when they cannot attend services.            Appears on page 79 of the 18th Edition


   The following text was added to the section for Deaconesses, Care and Maintenance of Property

Care and Maintenance of Property -- In churches where the responsibility for the care and maintenance of church property is not assigned to a building committee, deacons and deaconesses have this responsibility. (See Note # 3, page 167)       Appears on page 79 of the 18th Edition


The following text was added to the section for Children's Ministries, Children's Ministries Coordinator
Everyone involved with work with children must meet Church and legal standards and requirements, such as background checks or certification. Local church leaders should consult with the conference which will ascertain and advise as to what background checks and certifications are available and / or required. (See Note #7, page 168, 169)                       Appears on page 86 of the 18th Edition


The following text was added to the section for Education, Church School Board

Church School Board -- The administrative body of every elementary (primary) school and junior academy (partial high school) operated by one church shall be a church school board elected by the church or a school committee appointed by the church board.  Thus this body may be a separate school board, the church board, or a school committee of the church board appointed for this purpose. Division working policies explain the functions of school boards.    Appears on page 88 of 18th Edition


The following text was added to the section for Family Ministries

"Our work for Christ is to begin with the family, in the home . . . There is no missionary field more important than this. By many this home field has been shamefully neglected, and it is time that divine resources and remedies were presented, that this state of evil may be corrected." - AH 35

"God designs that the families of earth shall be a symbol of the family in heaven. Christian homes, established and conducted in accordance with God's plan, are among His most effective agencies for the formation of Christian character and for the advancement of His work." - 6T 430     Appears on page 90 of the 18th Edition


The following text was added to the section for Family Ministries

The objective of Family Ministries is to strengthen marriage and the family. The family was established by divine creating with marriage as its center. As the primary setting in which values are learned and the capacity for close relationships with God and others is developed, its health is vital to the Church's disciple-making mission.

The following text was added to the section for Family Ministries

Family Ministries Leader(s) -- An individual or married couple (see page xx, for the Church's definition of marriage) may be elected to serve as family ministries leader(s). They should model strong and growing family relationships and exhibit a sincere interest in fostering the well-being of all families. In order to be effective, the family ministries leader(s) must have an understanding of God's redemptive plan for dealing with the brokenness in relationships which sin has brought. The leaders(s) also must maintain appropriate confidentiality and know when and how to encourage individuals in critical situations to seek professional counseling.

The following text was added to the section for Family Ministries

Ministry to families in the local church focuses on premarital guidance for couples, marriage strengthening programs, and the education of parents. Ministry to families also gives attention to the special needs of single parents and step-families and provides instruction in family-to-family evangelism.


 The following text was added to the section, Youth Ministries, Adventist Youth Ministries Committee

The Adventist Youth Ministries Committee is the umbrella organization in the church for the general planning of the youth ministry program (See page xx).  It includes the elected officers of the Adventist Youth Society (AYS) plus the Personal Ministries leader, youth Sabbath School division leader, health ministries leader, Ambassador Club Director, Pathfinder Club Director, Adventurer Club Director, principle of the school, the sponsor and the pastor. The AYS leader, who is a member of the board, chairs this committee. The committee should meet as necessary to develop short and long range goals and plans for a successful ministry.


The following text was added to the section, Youth Ministries, AYC Committee
The AYS Committee is responsible for senior youth activities and works in coordination with the other youth entities through the Adventists Youth Ministries Committee. If there is no Ambassador, Pathfinder, or Adventurer program, the AYS will include these younger members in a junior society.

The following text was added to the section, Youth Ministries, Ambassador Club

The Ambassador Club provides a specialized program to meet the needs of youth, ages 16 through 21. It offers young people in this age group organization and structure, and promotes their active involvement in the church, locally and glogally. The club is designed to strengthen the current senior youth / young adult ministry of the Church. It challenges them to experience and share a personal relationship with Christ, helps them develop a lifestyle that fits their belief system and vocational interest, and provides them with a safe venture for wholesome development of lifelong friendships. Its activities are to be carried out in accordance with conference policies and in coordination with other youth / young adult ministries of the local church. The Ambassador Club has a director and associate director(s). The associate director(s) may also serve as the secretary and treasurer. The director is a member of the Adventist Youth Society Council.

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Related Information

Church Manual Changes Changes to Chapter 1 Changes to Chapter 11 - Elections Changes to Chapter 12 - Finance Changes to Chapter 13 - Christian Living Changes to Chapter 14 - Discipline Changes to Chapter 15 - Marriage Changes to Chapter 16 - Organizing Churches Changes to Chapter 17 - Pulpit Not A Forum Changes to Chapter 2 Changes to Chapter 4 - 5 Changes to Chapter 6 - Membership Changes to Chapter 8 - Services, Meetings Changes to Introduction Changes to Notes Major Changes - Appealing Differences to Next Level Mystery of the Missing Paragraph New Right Given to Members - fairness