Legal Governance as a separate body to the Eldership is not a Biblical ideal. Biblically, the Eldership governs the Church in all matters. They direct and oversight all matters related to the community. (Acts 4:35, 37; Acts 11:29,30; 1 Tim 3:3, 8) This body can delegate responsibility and commensurate authority. Biblically, this is done firstly to those considered deacons (1 Timothy 3:8–13) charged with care and ministry leadership.
Understandably, the modern context does offer some challenges that historic Eldership is not as well equipped to deal with. It is a challenge in the modern governance environment to operate as a Spirit-led and Biblically-founded movement whilst maintaining good legal governance as we always seek to acheive.
As such, Divergent Global has developed a structure whereby the legal structure contains three groups who come together as the joint membership of the legal body that helps govern and administer the functions behind the life of the community and its mission. The layered approach with multiple interlinked groups with both internal and externally qualified members also creates increased accountability whilst maintaining biblical consistency.
In our structure, the Eldership retains sole authority related to Spiritual matters and appointments. Matters which relate to finance and legalities sit with the wider body consisting of the Eldership and Legal Board.
All these individuals are legal members.
From a legal standpoint, one can view our legal constitution here.
Divergent's Global Oversight / Eldership
Our oversight is made up of experienced leaders from across a number of key communities, backgrounds, and ministries.
Andy and Mel Chin – Wesley International Church, Sydney
Rick and Naomi Burrell – Strong Nation Churches, Western Sydney/Blue Mtns
Hamish and Anne Thompson - Abundant Life Church Wellington, NZ
Luke and Katherine Fletcher - Rivers Edge Church, Newington, Sydney
When there is a need for additional oversight, discipline, or response to problems that may arise, this team with the Divergent Board and if needed, the leadership of the Australian Christian Churches are charged, empowered and available to respond as appropriate.
Divergent Global Eldership (internal) Constitutionally called 'Community Eldership'
Josh and Angela Reading - Global
Kade and Rachel Klemke - Divergent Capital Region
Phil and Terri Thomson - Divergent Port Macquarie
Divergent Global Board (Deacon level)
These members are appointed by the joint body of members at the AGM annually.
Luke Fletcher - member
Dilan Samuel - Treasurer
Kayla Sparks - Secretary
Craig Shepherd - Member
Josh Reading - Chair
HOW DIVERGENT CHURCH HANDLES FINANCE
Our goal is to handle finance and administration firstly according to biblical example and command and secondarily consistently with proper legal governance procedures.
1. Those who lead in spiritual matters should also lead in financial matters (Acts 4:35,37; Acts 11:29,30; 1 Timothy 3:3,8).
Unlike some other Churches we hold to an Eldership lead environment, this includes decisions not only of Spiritual nature but all matters. Whilst consultation and cooperation must happen, the ultimate decision lies in the hands of the Eldership.
To assist in this matter and to create consistency in legal governance of such a board of appropriately qualified people is appointed. This board consists of those of Deacon level character and competency. Unlike the Eldership, they are not required to have the ability to ‘teach’ doctrine.
The budget for local / regional / global Divergent expenditure is set by the board through consultation with the Eldership and other parties. The AGM approves this budget. The AGM consists of Divergent Oversight Eldership, Divergent Global Eldership and the Divergent Global Board. Local budgets are administered by the management team. Significant or unusual expenditure is determined by the board in due diligence and faith in consultation with the Eldership and appropriate experts.
As a note, some Churches hold to legal membership of the general community. This body of people then effectively controls appointment and expenditure, a role set aside for Eldership. This practice is unbiblical.
2. Money should be handled in such a way that is defensible against any accusation (2 Corinthians 8:21).
Our finances are open to those who are active part of our community. People are welcome to access our books. This can be done through emailing our accountant.
Clarifying questions regarding expenditure can also be sent to the Eldership.
3. Money should be handled by trustworthy people. More than one person should perform every function so that we have accountability (2 Corinthians 8:18-24; Acts 6:3-6).
The handling of finance is often a delicate matter with abuses happening at times. As such, we maintain selective operation regarding who and how we handle finance. No individual counts finance without transparency and no individual is able to spend finance without accountability. Larger financial expenditure and investment is processed through the Eldership and Legal Governance board.
Community and Legal accountability
Divergent has open books, as such these can be accessed by community partners upon request. This can be done through an appointment with our accountant and treasurer.
Additionally, all financial reports are tended to the ACNC and publicly available. These can be accessed here