Our Board of Elders
The Scriptures teach that a plurality of elders governed individual New Testament churches (Acts 14:23, 20:28; Philippians 1:1; Titus 1:5). A plurality of godly elders, exercising their individual giftedness, squares with the Scripture’s teaching that wisdom is found in a multitude of godly counselors (Proverbs 11:14, 12:15, 15:22, 19:20, 24:6.).
The biblical teaching on the subject of the church offices of elders and deacons is found in 1 Timothy 3:1-15 and Titus 1:5-9. Though there are three terms used for the offices of the church, i.e. bishop, elder, and deacon, a careful analysis of these terms indicates that bishop and elder are used interchangeably. Celebration has a Board of Elders and uses a system of Ministry Team Delegates who serve in the capacity of deacons.
The Scriptures are clear that the primary responsibility of elders is the spiritual oversight of the congregation; therefore, the spiritual matters of Celebration are managed by its Board of Elders. All decisions affecting overall doctrine, direction, and discipline at Celebration are the responsibility of the Board of Elders. The Elders primarily:
all doctrinal issues in Celebration are settled by the Board of Elders;
of purpose and core values as outlined in the church Bylaws; and
as outlined in Matthew 18:15-20 and Galatians 6:1-4.
All Elders at Celebration Church are selected by the existing Board of Elders and added when they are needed, identified, and adequately evaluated. Members of the existing Board of Elders will identify men within Celebration who are already functioning in Elder-like roles. Normally, these are men who are already serving in leadership and ministry capacities in some form within Celebration.
Qualifications for the office of an Elder include that each person must be (I Timothy 3:1-7; Titus 1:6-9):
Saul was born in Venezuela and grew up in NYC & South Florida. As a child Saul had two loves which were sports and the outdoors. As a youth, when he was not playing on a sports team (football, baseball, basketball, etc.) it was not unusual to find him on camping trips with the boy scouts among the alligators in the Everglades National Park. After High School he left Florida to attend Liberty University in Lynchburg, Virginia and received a Bachelor's degree in Computer Science. While at Liberty he met Johnna Leonard and they married soon after graduation in 1988. Johnna is a native of Washington County, Virginia. Saul and Johnna have 3 children John, Jesse & Julie. Saul works at KVAT Food Stores on the IT team and along with his family run Mi Tierra farm in Washington County VA.Contact Saul
Jim and Brenda met in high school and married in January of 1970. They have lived in the Tri-Cities for the past 32 years and have 2 sons. Chris and Kelly, along with their sons, Tyler and Jake, live in Kingsport and are a part of Celebration Church. Jason and Lindsay live in Charleston, SC. Jason has 2 children, Haley and Matt. Jim's passion is to see the people of Celebration Church connect with a living relationship to Jesus Christ and each other as is seen in his involvement in Missions, Men's Ministry, and small groups. He enjoys teaching at Celebration in different venues. Jim is V.P. of Facilities at Wellmont Health System where he is highly respected among his peers. He has a Bachelor of Theology degree from Beacon Theological Seminary. Jim and Brenda enjoy hanging out with family and friends while camping, going to the beach, or Corvettes and car shows.Contact Jim
Barry was born in Gadsden AL and raised in Columbia TN. He graduated from Tennessee Tech in 1964 and attended Ouachita Baptist University for two years. He and his wife, Linda, have been married since 1961 and have two sons, Ken and Kevin. Barry spent two years on active duty at Ft. Hood, TX, then enjoyed a 31-year career with TN Eastman. Having been called to minister the Word in the workplace he now leads Precept Bible studies. Retirement gives him opportunity to enjoy woodworking, playing the dulcimer, and participate in Walk to Emmaus. His passion is to see God change lives and transforming prayer.Contact Barry
Gert van der Westhuizen
Gert hails from Pretoria, South Africa, where he met Marie while in college. They were married in 1985 and have three girls, Tania, Michelle and Amy, and a son, Christiaan, who is with the Lord. Gert is a diagnostic radiologist with degrees from the University of Pretoria, University of Orange Free State, Eastern Virginia Medical School and Duke. He and his family moved to Kingsport in 2002 and have attended Celebration Church since that time. Gert is passionate about the field of radiology; he practices at Holston Valley Medical Center. Gert grew up in a Christian household. For many years, he thought of himself as a "mediocre believer" but through various trials, especially the death of his infant son, the Lord wooed him into a deeper relationship. Gert and Marie enjoy hosting a small group in their home each week. Gert's heart's desire is to keep growing in faith with fellow believers and to encourage others to have a deeper walk with Christ. Gert and Marie enjoy God's creation, spending time with family and friends, reading, traveling and going to horse shows with their girls.Contact Gert
Steve was born, raised, and now resides in Bristol, VA. He married his high school sweetheart, Kris, and they are currently homeschooling their two children. Steve is an electrical engineer and is employed by Eastman Chemical Company. He shares his faith through small groups both at work and church and as a volunteer for various ministries within the community and at Celebration. Steve enjoys spending time outdoors backpacking, hiking, bicycling, playing tennis, and snow skiing.Contact Steve
Michael was born, raised, and now resides in Kingsport, TN. He married his high school sweetheart, Ellen, and they currently homeschool their children, Victoria and Mackinley. Their oldest child, Will, was also homeschooled and is now in college. Michael graduated from East Tennessee State University with a BS in Chemistry and subsequently earned his doctorate in Biochemistry from Princeton University. Michael works in pharmaceutical medical affairs. He is active in the children's and youth ministries at Celebration and is passionate about helping young people discover and leverage their strengths to further God's kingdom. Michael enjoys gardening, DIYing, traveling, and teaching.Contact Michael