Biblically, the focal point of all church leadership is the elder. An elder is one of a plurality of biblically qualified men who jointly shepherd and oversee a local body of believers. The consistent pattern throughout the New Testament is that each local body of believers is shepherded by a plurality of God-ordained elders. At Berean Covenant, we are led by a plurality of elders who are equal in position, and whose decisions are made by unanimous consent. (; ; ; ; ; ; )
J.W. Norman – Staff Pastor of Preaching & Teaching
J.W. Norman serves as an Elder and the Staff Pastor of Preaching & Teaching. He was born and raised in the rural suburbs north of Columbus, Georgia. J.W. married his wife, Trudi, in 1994, and they are founding members of Berean Covenant Church. Trudi also teaches inductive Bible studies for ladies and children, and serves as secretary and pianist.
J.W. graduated from Columbus State University in 1990 with a Bachelor’s Degree in Marketing and a Master’s Degree in Business in 1992. He worked for one of the world’s largest electronic payment processing companies, TSYS, Inc., for nineteen years. His responsibilities as Director of Instructional Technologies involved managing a team of instructional designers, videographers, and web designers. In 2006, he received The President’s Circle award, the company’s highest employee recognition. He also served for five years as a facilitator for the company’s behavior skills and leadership training program.
J.W. taught Sunday School and Bible studies, and served in many leadership capacities beginning in his late teen years. He began preaching part-time in 2001 and became an elder in 2003. He has been full-time pastor since 2011. He loves expository (verse-by-verse) preaching and teaching, and is currently preaching through the book of Matthew. Since 2001, He has taught over twenty inductive Bible study courses written and distributed by Precept Ministries International. These include the books of Romans, Revelation, Hebrews, and most recently, 1 John. The Lord has given him a burden for those who are religious, but not genuinely converted, and for believers who are not studying His Word on their own on a consistent basis.
Cheyne McLean – Staff Pastor of Counseling & Pastoral Care
Cheyne McLean serves as an Elder and the Staff Pastor of Counseling & Pastoral Care. He was born in Ocala, Florida but raised locally in Phenix City, Alabama. Cheyne married his wife, Teresa, in 2008 and they have 4 daughters: Kinsley, Maddelyn, Mallory, and Laina. They have been members of Berean Covenant Church since 2010.
Cheyne graduated from Troy University in 2005 with a Bachelor’s Degree in Geomatics. He is currently the Director of Research and Development at Becker Survey Company in Columbus, Georgia, and has been in the industry of Land Surveying/Engineering since 2003.
In 2004, while attending Troy University, Cheyne’s heart was changed and eyes were opened to the truth of the Gospel. Since then, through the sanctifying grace of God, Cheyne has had an ever-growing passion to serve Christ and the local church. Before being installed as an elder, he served as a deacon for 2 years and currently assists with preaching and teaching the Word of God.
12And all the assembly fell silent, and they listened to Barnabas and Paul as they related what signs and wonders God had done through them among the Gentiles. 13After they finished speaking, James replied, “Brothers, listen to me. 14Simeon has related how God first visited the Gentiles, to take from them a people for his name. 15And with this the words of the prophets agree, just as it is written,
16“‘After this I will return,
and I will rebuild the tent of David that has fallen;
I will rebuild its ruins,
and I will restore it,
17that the remnant of mankind may seek the Lord,
and all the Gentiles who are called by my name,
says the Lord, who makes these things 18known from of old.’
19Therefore my judgment is that we should not trouble those of the Gentiles who turn to God, 20but should write to them to abstain from the things polluted by idols, and from sexual immorality, and from what has been strangled, and from blood. 21For from ancient generations Moses has had in every city those who proclaim him, for he is read every Sabbath in the synagogues.”
22Then it seemed good to the apostles and the elders, with the whole church, to choose men from among them and send them to Antioch with Paul and Barnabas. They sent Judas called Barsabbas, and Silas, leading men among the brothers, 23with the following letter: “The brothers, both the apostles and the elders, to the brothers who are of the Gentiles in Antioch and Syria and Cilicia, greetings. 24Since we have heard that some persons have gone out from us and troubled you with words, unsettling your minds, although we gave them no instructions, 25it has seemed good to us, having come to one accord, to choose men and send them to you with our beloved Barnabas and Paul, 26men who have risked their lives for the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. 27We have therefore sent Judas and Silas, who themselves will tell you the same things by word of mouth. 28For it has seemed good to the Holy Spirit and to us to lay on you no greater burden than these requirements: 29that you abstain from what has been sacrificed to idols, and from blood, and from what has been strangled, and from sexual immorality. If you keep yourselves from these, you will do well. Farewell.” (ESV)
To all the saints in Christ Jesus who are at Philippi, with the overseers and deacons (ESV)
1The saying is trustworthy: If anyone aspires to the office of overseer, he desires a noble task. 2Therefore an overseer must be above reproach, the husband of one wife, sober-minded, self-controlled, respectable, hospitable, able to teach, 3not a drunkard, not violent but gentle, not quarrelsome, not a lover of money. 4He must manage his own household well, with all dignity keeping his children submissive, 5for if someone does not know how to manage his own household, how will he care for God’s church? 6He must not be a recent convert, or he may become puffed up with conceit and fall into the condemnation of the devil. 7Moreover, he must be well thought of by outsiders, so that he may not fall into disgrace, into a snare of the devil.
Qualifications for Deacons
8Deacons likewise must be dignified, not double-tongued, not addicted to much wine, not greedy for dishonest gain. 9They must hold the mystery of the faith with a clear conscience. 10And let them also be tested first; then let them serve as deacons if they prove themselves blameless. 11Their wives likewise must be dignified, not slanderers, but sober-minded, faithful in all things. 12Let deacons each be the husband of one wife, managing their children and their own households well. 13For those who serve well as deacons gain a good standing for themselves and also great confidence in the faith that is in Christ Jesus. (ESV)
5This is why I left you in Crete, so that you might put what remained into order, and appoint elders in every town as I directed you— 6if anyone is above reproach, the husband of one wife, and his children are believers and not open to the charge of debauchery or insubordination. 7For an overseer, as God’s steward, must be above reproach. He must not be arrogant or quick-tempered or a drunkard or violent or greedy for gain, 8but hospitable, a lover of good, self-controlled, upright, holy, and disciplined. 9He must hold firm to the trustworthy word as taught, so that he may be able to give instruction in sound doctrine and also to rebuke those who contradict it. (ESV)
1So I exhort the elders among you, as a fellow elder and a witness of the sufferings of Christ, as well as a partaker in the glory that is going to be revealed: 2shepherd the flock of God that is among you, exercising oversight, not under compulsion, but willingly, as God would have you; not for shameful gain, but eagerly; 3not domineering over those in your charge, but being examples to the flock. 4And when the chief Shepherd appears, you will receive the unfading crown of glory. 5Likewise, you who are younger, be subject to the elders. Clothe yourselves, all of you, with humility toward one another, for “God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.” (ESV)