Elder Info & Candidate

On September 13, 2020, it is our intention to commission Jonathan Harner as an elder of The Bridge Church. Below, you will find a brief biography of Jonathan along with a family photo. The purpose of the info below is threefold: First, per our church by-laws, we have an obligation to give you a minimum twenty-one day notice of the candidacy of each individ­ual of the elder team; secondly, we want to provide you with an opportunity to share any concerns or observations which could potentially disqualify an individual from serving as an elder; thirdly, it is our desire for you to use this info to pray for your leaders.

We encourage you to review the qualifications for elders in 1 Timothy 3:1-7 and Titus 1:5-9. If for any reason you believe this candidate fails to meet these qualifications, please contact Brandon at brandon@thebridgewichita.com. After receiving your concern, a for­mal investigation will begin in order to determine the validity of the accusation.

Please know that all elders go through a comprehensive elder development process and will continue for the length of their terms. This process including reading several books including “The Deliberate Church” by Mark Dever which emphasized the role of the church and its leaders. Jonathan, also, read and met with another elder to walk through “Evangelical Convictions” which expounds our Statement of Faith. The third book that he studied was titled “The Shepherd Leader” which details the actual work of elders (knowing, feeding, leading, protecting). Jonathan has, also, been attending elder meetings over the last year in order to assess his ability to lead, problem solve, shepherd, and collaborate with other elders.


Jonathan was chosen to be an elder trainee early on because he and his wife demonstrated the heart of a shepherd by inviting Bridge Church members and regular attenders into their home to know them and be known by them. In addition, Jonathan has led a Bridge Group the last couple of years and has done a great job leading this community. In this setting, Jonathan demonstrated his ability to lead, teach, and shepherd others.


Based on Jonathan’s desire, character, competency, and care, the elders wholeheartedly and unreservedly affirm Jonathan to be an elder at The Bridge Church.

Jonathan Harner

Jonathan Harner was born and raised in Manhattan, KS. After attending Kansas State University he moved to California for a few years. When he and his wife, Annie, moved to Wichita, the Lord guided them to The Bridge. They made The Bridge their church home in Spring 2017 and became members shortly thereafter.

Jonathan loves learning. He is always looking for book and podcast recommendations. He is preparing to take ownership of his father-in-law’s company, Wichita Wealth Management.

He and Annie have one daughter, Esther.

Elder FAQs

What is an elder?

Elders are essentially pastors. They provide oversight to the church in spiritual matters. In the Bi­ble, there is no distinction between elders and pastors. Elders are pastors and pastors are elders.

What are the qualifications to be an elder?

Please see 1 Timothy 3:1-7 and Titus 1:5-9. To summarize, one must have impeccable character which results in Christlike conduct that is above reproach. In other words, they must be spiritual­ly-mature men. The only skill required of elders is that they be able to teach.

What do elders do?

They have four primary tasks:

1) Pray (Acts 6:1-7) – For the church and one another.

2) Teach (Acts 6:4, 1 Timothy 3:2, Titus 1:9) – Elders lead by teaching God’s word to God’s people through various settings (sermons, Bridge groups, one-on-one, Sunday School, etc).

3) Lead (1 Peter 5:2) – Elders are overseers. They must make sure everything we do is aligned to the mission and vision of the church. They are also responsible for ensuring members of the church are carrying out the membership covenant. When necessary, they must also enforce church disci­pline for blatant, unrepentant sin.

4) Model (1 Peter 5:3) – Elders are to be examples to the church of spiritual maturity. Their godly conduct should be imitated by the members of the church.

Why do some churches have elders and other churches not have elders?

The Bible never commands churches to have a certain form of church government. However, the clear pattern in the New Testament is a plurality of elders (Acts 20:17-38; Philippians 1:1; 1 Thessa­lonians 5:12-13; Titus 1:5). There are always multiple men leading together to shepherd the church. We believe this pattern is healthy for our church. The burden of church leadership is not on one person but is shared by other spiritually qualified men. Churches that do not follow the elder mod­el of church governance are not sinful since this model is not commanded in Scripture.

How long is each elder’s term?

Each elder serves a one-year term with unlimited renewal as long as they continue to fulfill the qualifications to be elders. There may be circumstances when qualified men take a leave from the elder team to deal with family issues, to prevent burnout, to provide opportunities for others to lead, etc.

Can women serve as elders?

No. We believe the New Testament is clear that men are to lead the church as elders. The qualifi­cation for a person to be an elder is that they be the “husband of one wife” (1 Tim 3:2). Obviously, women cannot be husbands. In addition, a prospective elder must show effective, godly leadership of the home. It is God’s will that men lead the home. Though male leadership in the home is not always normal in our culture, it does not change the fact that this is God’s will for the family. Also, the pattern throughout Scripture is male leadership of the church. Please know this position has nothing to do with giftedness. There are many women who are gifted to serve in these roles. This position, also, does not mean women are inferior. Women are equal to men in their value as they too were created in the image of God (Gen 1:27). However, God has designed men and women to function in different roles.

What is the difference between elders and deacons?

The primary distinction between the two offices is the ability to teach. Elders are responsible for teaching the word of God. Deacons do not have this responsibility. Acts 6 is crucial to understand­ing this principle. The apostle Peter says in verse 2 through 4, “It is not right that we should give up preaching the word of God to serve tables. Therefore, brothers, pick out from among you sev­en men of good repute, full of the Spirit, and of wisdom, whom we will appoint to this duty. But we will devote ourselves to prayer and to the ministry of the word.” It is clear the primary tasks of elders are prayer and teaching the word while deacons do the work of the church to free up the elders for their primary tasks. It has been said that elders serve by leading and deacons lead by serving. Deacons are essentially assistants to the elders. Both are crucial to the success of the church.

Why are we not voting?

We never see churches voting for their elders in the New Testament. Elders are always appoint­ed by similarly qualified men (Acts 14:23; Titus 1:5). In Scripture, we see the most spiritual of men (apostles and elders) recruiting elders, training elders, and appointing elders.

What are the next steps of the process?

All men who are qualified will be commissioned on September 13, 2020 during morning worship. Afterwards, they will officially be elders and begin serving in that capacity. 

Church By-Laws Regarding the Elder Team


6.1 Members

At a time deemed appropriate, necessary, and fitting by the Leadership Team, the overall direction, governance, oversight and finances of the church will be vested in the Elder team.

The Elder Team shall consist of no less than three men. One of those elders will include the Lead Pastor and shall serve as an elder for the duration of his tenure. Shall the Lead Pastor position be­come vacant, his position shall be filled by an Elder-in-Training.

6.2 Qualifications

The minimum qualifications for Elders shall not be less than those listed in 1 Timothy 3:1-7 and Titus 1:6-9, including without limitation the requirement that Elders be men. In addition to the minimum qualifications given in Scripture, Elders must be Members who fully subscribe to Church’s State­ment of Faith (Article III) and are actively involved in the ministry of the Church.

6.3 Duties

The duties of the Elders shall include, but not be limited to, leading the Church to fulfill the purpos­es of the Church.

The Elder Team, as a group, shall supervise all employees of the Church; The Elder Team may dele­gate to Church employees any and all duties and responsibilities the Elder Team deem reasonable, subject to the rights, if any, of the person under contract of employment.

The Elder Team shall vote on the matters of (a) appointment of any Elder, (b) doctrinal issues, c) removal of any Elder, and (d) other actions deemed major and extraordinary by the Elder Team.

The Elder Team shall be final arbiter in matters of church discipline for issues that are escalated to the team.

The Elder Team shall make the final determination in regards to any ecclesiastical questions. The Elder Team shall be the express and final arbiter of ecclesiastical polity, religious doctrine, and questions of Church property, and shall make the final decision with respect to any other matter that shall arise concerning the Church, its internal workings, and its governance in every respect, consistent with these Bylaws.

6.4 Selection and Term of Office

The Elder Team shall have the sole authority to appoint new elders. A man shall be appointed as an elder by unanimous vote of the Team after the candidate has been examined and proven to meet the qualifications listed in Article 6.2.

The proposed appointment of any Elder shall be communicated to the Church at least twenty-one (21) days in advance and Church Members shall have an opportunity to submit questions, com­ments and concerns, which will be considered by the Elder Team on a case-by-case basis. Con­firmation and appointment of a new Elder shall be at the sole and final discretion of the existing Elder Team and effectuated upon their unanimous vote.

Once appointed, it is expected that an elder would serve one-year term limits. Each year the Team will reaffirm each existing elder by seventy-five percent vote of the elders present.

6.5 Removal

Any elder may be removed for valid cause. A written notice of the proposed removal of any El­der shall be given to such Elder at least ten (10) days prior to the meeting at which an action to effectuate such removal is to be taken to ensure that the Elder is given a reasonable opportunity to defend himself. The Elder shall have the opportunity to answer the charges in the presence of his accusers, but shall not be present during the discussion and vote on his removal. Such removal shall take place only upon and after a two-third vote of the Elder Team. The Elder under consider­ation for removal shall not have voting rights while such removal is considered.

6.6 Officers


The Chairman shall perform such duties as are incumbent upon such Officer, including making cer­tain that all orders and resolutions of the Central Elders are carried into effect. The Chairman shall have oversight of the Elder Team meetings. The Chairman’s duties shall include, without limitation: establishing meetings, setting the agenda and presiding over the meetings.

(b)Vice Chairman

The Vice Chairman shall, in the absence of a duly-appointed Chairman, or in the event of the Chair­man’s inability or refusal to act, perform the duties and exercise the powers of the Chairman and shall perform such other duties as the Central Elders shall from time to time prescribe.


The Secretary shall record or cause to be recorded in a minute book of the Church minutes of all meetings of the Elders and all votes taken at such meetings. He shall have charge of the official records and seal of the Church, and he shall perform such other duties as are incident to the office of Secretary and as may be assigned by the Elders or the Chairman, under whose supervision the Secretary shall be.


The Treasurer shall serve as the overseer of the financial operations of the Church. Paid Church staff members shall be accountable to the Treasurer for management of the financial aspects of the Church. The Treasurer shall perform such other duties and have other responsibilities as may be assigned to him from time to time by the Elder Team.

6.7 Quorum

A proper quorum is defined as no less than fifty percent (50%) of the Elder Team. A quorum is required for voting matters.

A passing vote must be equal to or greater than seventy-five percent (75%) of the Elder Team present except for circumstances listed above.