RBC logo 350

A place of grace, a people of grace

RBC Constitution and Governance Model


What is our vision?

Living our faith in the Lord Jesus Christ and His transforming power through overlapping diverse communities.

What is our Mission?

To be a place of grace; to be a people of grace.

What are our Values?

We are:

  • Christ-Centred
  • Outward-Focused
  • Celebrating Diversity
  • Intentionally Relational

In 2011 the Elders sensed God was doing a new thing, he was creating a new wine skin, a new Church, built not in human strength but His strength. God was calling us to:

  • be more outward looking/missional (where mission is a way of life, part of our DNA, not something we do), diverse, a family/community;
  • take our eyes off a building/Sunday Church;
  • be His Church, His people, wherever we are.

We do not go to Church we are Church. Church is a spiritual body, a loving family, as a family we love each other but also want the best for each other (as God does), which sometimes results in a tension between grace/love/compassion and truth.

This was driven by dissatisfaction and a belief there must be more; then motivated by a dream of what could be, an enrichment from diversity, inspired by the Church in Acts (its DNA) and how this could be reflected in today's environment. It only takes a spark to light a fire.

As part of our journey and understanding the above, the Vision and Values evolved through a period of engagement with the Church family. Our purpose is the Great Commission: to spread Gods word and make disciples. Our Vision contextualises this.

We acknowledged that Christianity is about relationships: firstly our personal and real ongoing relationship with Christ, then with each other as well as those in our community, where community is where ever we are.

On reviewing all the prophecies RBC had received, over a number of years, they could be split into specific to the time, generic that could apply all the time, and directional. The above Vision/Values are consistent with the generic and directional prophesies

Our Vision:

We tend to read things in the context of this world.
Our Vision should be read in our spiritual being. The Vision as living and active.
Compelling, inspirational, life changing. Bigger than us, always growing into, a step out in faith, creates a dependency on Christ.


We had a focus on "Celebrating Diversity" and through these building deeper relationships.

This is ongoing, with a sense God is pleased but wants more.


We are looking at a focus on "Living our faith through relationships "
With Christ
With each other
To connect with the Lost

As part of connecting with the lost we envisage new "oaks" being planted, the release of Max Palmer and Delia Talili to a ministry to immigrants is one of these.

Our dream is that over the next few years we (starts with us) will become a Church where

  • We are deeper in our faith
  • Deeper understanding of who Jesus is, genuine spirit-lead transformation, God is first in our lives, there is a hunger and love for Christ.
  • Our heartbeat is for the lost, voiceless, hidden and isolated, taking Jesus to the World
  • The lost are coming to the Lord, including our family, friends and those in the Communities we mix in, through His strength, not ours, but we have to play our part.
  • Our significance comes from the part God has shaped us for, our gifting's relate to that part we play in building the Body

RBC was birthed out of a vision to reach Children with the Gospel. Today more than ever the '4 -14 'ages are an essential window for the gospel into our community. As part of our heart for overlapping communities we sense it is time to embrace a children's ministry beyond a focus on Church children to one into the community, through a radical approach of the gospel spoken into children's lives.


Church Constitution

The Baptist Union has two constitution models, which nearly all Baptist churches operate under.

The early constitution is referred to as the "Pastor Lead Model" and the later constitution the "Ministry Lead Constitution"; which is the constitution of Riccarton Baptist Church.
A copy of the Constitution is available from the office, Pastoral Team Leader or Elders.

In terms of Leadership and Governance relevant clauses include:

3.1 The Church is an autonomous body governed through its members, working closely with the Regional and National Baptist staff, the Baptist churches of New Zealand and the wider body of Christ.

3.2 The leadership team shall consist of the Pastoral Team Leader/Senior Pastor, Ministry Leaders and Board of Elders.

4.0 Sets out membership
The constitution also includes a membership pledge as an Addendum

5.1.1 The Pastoral Team Leader/Senior Pastor and Board of Elders shall be entrusted with the oversight of the church and of all Ministry Leaders and staff, including the appointment of such people. The Pastoral Team Leader/Senior Pastor shall be accountable to the Board of Elders for the agreed outcomes contained in the Plan (the annual plan of the Church).

5.2.1 The Board of Elders, along with the Pastoral Team Leader/Senior Pastor, are responsible for the governance and direction of the Church.

5.2.2 The Elders may second a non-member, of good standing with the Christian Church, as an advisor to the Board.

5.2.3 Board members shall have exhibited the qualities of an Elder as found in 1 Timothy 3:1-7.

6.0 There shall be an annual Church members' meeting, and such other meetings as may be called from time to time. The annual meeting shall be held in or near November. At least two Sundays' notice is required.

6.3 The Board of elders may nominate a Chair.

NOTE For Riccarton Baptist Church we have appointed a Pastoral Team Leader (PTL) rather than a Senior Pastor.

Ideally papers for Members meeting should be distributed prior to any meeting.

Members meeting are held in November (the AGM), to review the current Year, approve the Plan/Budget for the following year and appointment of Elders; in March receiving and approving the annual accounts for the previous year, ending December; and meetings as required. During the year a few Engage Sessions are also held to facilitate input from members and for communication of what is going on and planned. This approach is to facilitate membership involvement, communication and decision-making.

The Pastoral Team Leader is accountable to the Elders and to the Members through the Elders and the Elders are accountable to the Church Members, while acknowledging we are all accountable to God.

The Pastoral Team Leader and Elders appoint a Chair of the Eldership, reviewable on at least an annual basis, which has the responsibilities normally associated with a Chair. This includes providing additional support to the PTL, being the contact between the PTL and Elders, coordinating the informal and formal review of and feedback to the Pastoral Team Leader.

There are some aspects of the church life, issues, which the Chair/Elders rather than the Pastoral Team Leader should lead.

Role of Elders

1 Timothy 5:17 "The elders who direct the affairs of the Church ..."

1 Peter 5:2 "Be shepherds of God's flock that is under your care, watching over
them -not because you must, but because you are willing, as God
wants you to."
- Eager to serve
- Being examples

An important part of the role of an Elder is to Champion the Vision and the Pastoral Team Leader, and to live the Church Mission and Values.

Qualities of an Elder

1 Timothy 3:1-7 Now the overseer must be above reproach, the husband of one wife, temperate, self-controlled, respectable, hospitable, able to teach, not driven to drunkenness, not violent but gentle, not quarrelsome, not a lover of money. He must manage his own family well and see that his children obey him with proper respect.
He must not be a recent convert.
He must also have a good reputation with outsiders.
In the same way their wives are to be worthy of respect.

Appointment of Elders

The Board of Elders shall bring nominations to the church members where a secret ballot of at least 75% agreeing to the appointment is required. Members can submit names for consideration by the Elders but this should be after prayer and due consideration.

An Elder is appointed for a term of two years and is eligible for re-election.

Before Members vote for a candidate for Eldership this should be after prayer and
careful consideration, reflecting on the Role and Qualities of an Elder and the
contribution the individual will make to the Church.
A good quality Eldership, the right individuals, which the members have confidence in, is critical for a healthy church.
It is an honour and a privilege to be appointed an Elder.

The Elders may:
Have a potential Elder work alongside the Eldership for a period prior to putting
their nomination forward for Eldership.
Appoint a senior Elder (current or past, internal or external) to mentor/support a
new Elder for a period to assist with an orderly transition and provide support to
such an Elder.

What are some of the unique gifting's our Current Pastoral Team Leader and Elders have?

Anthony Rimell (Pastoral Team Leader )

  • Leader of leaders
  • Vision caster and strategic focus
  • Deep Biblical knowledge, Theology Degree
  • Gifted in preaching
  • A desire and commitment to see the five-fold ministries released and active among our church community
  • Believes the Church is God's vehicle for impacting His world.
  • Passionate to see the Church live out its calling to be salt and light in a hurting world.

Colin Renouf

  • Teacher
  • Deep Biblical Knowledge, Theology Degree
  • Previously a Pastor for 25 years
  • Qualified Spiritual Director and Ministry Supervisor
  • Peacemaker (Harmony)

Fathers of Faith

The Church is committed to the fivefold ministries being part of building the Body of the Church.
As part of this and ensuring we are in tune with Gods plans we recognise the role of Fathers (non gender term) of the Faith who are involved and provide input to the Eldership/Church, are involved in high level planning/directional/theological/key issues of the Church.

We recognise Max Palmer and Ross Bartlett as Fathers of Faith in this role for Riccarton Baptist Church.

Ross Bartlett

  • Recognised locally, nationally and internationally for his prophetic giftings.
  • Has strong singing voice as part of this.
  • Ross and Glynda are the founders and principals of Net Work Ministries International, an inter-denominational ministry that works to build up the body of Christ with the power and demonstration of the Holy Spirit.
  • Heart for and involved in ministry to persecuted Christians and communities worldwide which he ministers to through Open Doors.
  • A scholar, trainer and equipper in his areas of gifting.
  • Author of a number of books including Act Like Men and The Return of the Fathers.
  • An encourager, peacemaker.

Comment on Eldership and Pastoral Team Leader

One of the challenges for Elders is that they can become too task focused and operational, and there is insufficient time spent on the priorities, bigger view, developing depth in their relationships.

The priority of an Elder should be their relationship with Christ, knowing Him to understand His thinking, hear His voice. It is all about only Christ being centre stage, which is what creates the unity and provides the perspective; and a service mentality. We get who we are, our significance, from our relationship with Christ, the significance of our role in His Kingdom as our part of the body, a generational mind set; not from our Title/Position or what we do.

The relationship between the Elders is also important, sharing and opening their heart, understanding each other, to support, encourage listen to each other... to help through the many challenges that they will have to face. This requires trust and evolves over time. How long it takes depends on how much time and commitment they put into it, time outside the formal aspects, intentionality. It is more difficult for the Pastoral Team Leader as he is also accountable to the Elders, hence the need for him to have external mentors and possible a person/elder that he can have a one to one more in-depth relationship with.

The relationship between the Chair and Pastoral Team Leader is also critical. The Pastoral Team Leader and Elders appoint the Chair

An important part of refreshing the Pastoral Team Leader is to ensure he has regular days off (given that on occasions this may be interrupted for important generally unplanned factors), regular longer breaks away, ongoing external training, exposure to other Christians/Ministries and a sabbatical. There is a pull towards the Pastoral Team Leader being too operational and possible controlling without these disciplines. These disciplines also help his spiritual life and upskilling. A Pastoral Team leader role is very demanding and this can affect their longevity, effectiveness, health and relationships with their family if they do not have the right support and boundaries.

The danger is we can get snow blind, too close to what we are doing, operational and not enough time to spend with God, to think, be creative, sense God voice and when He is doing a new thing. The spiritual realm around us is as real as the physical one we live in, we need to be connected to both all the time; difficult when the physical one is so demanding. Nothing will impact the long term unless it is inspired by the Holy Spirit; being God's plan not man's plan.

There is some strength in longevity of some Elders. Too many changes may result in a loss of vision and momentum (particularly if the Vision is not well documented, circulated and owned by the members). However, we also need new Elders to provide some fresh thinking and ensure relevance. It is about balance, an organised transition and mentoring.

The traditional approach in many Churches is that a Pastor takes a long sabbatical, say three to six months, every 10/15 years, if at all; and that appointment of Elders is for a long time, almost life.

We now live in a faster changing world, a more difficult environment for Churches/Pastors/Pastoral Team Leaders/Elders/Ministries.
Scripture refers 100 times to "It come to pass". Many things in life are not permanent. We try to make them permanent as a security blanket. Each ending brings a new beginning, a new season.

At RBC we prefer the Pastoral Team Leader to take more regular shorter sabbaticals, say two/three yearly, as well as a longer one at a later stage. The sabbatical should first be about refreshing the Pastoral Team Leader, then preparing him/the Church for the next season/level, be relevant to the church.

Also we feel there is value in an Elder/Ministry leaders taking some time out, for say one to three months, for similar reasons.

We believe the Pastoral Team Leader, rather than the Pastor, leadership governance model:
• Provides a greater protection for the Church and the Pastoral Team Leader;
• Promotes and ensures a greater collective wisdom;
• Requires collective and collaborative leadership;
• Requires a greater and significant contribution from an Elder

We acknowledge there can be a strong "pull" to the Pastor Lead model (both by a Pastor and members because of the predominance of this in people's previous experience) and to a worldly/natural internal/self-focus that we need to stand against.

An Elder must be committed to and champion the Vision, be prepared to make the time commitment required and add value to the Eldership/Church.
The Eldership:
• With the Pastoral Team Leader should collectively have the skills/gifting's needed to meet the requirements of the Board of Elders or they second someone on to the Eldership or appoint someone to advise on the specific area;
• As such there will need for diversity which will cause a level of necessary tension, while retaining unity, but this also provides greater wisdom.

Comments Related to RBC

At RBC we are committed to a high level of transparency and engagement with members, and acknowledge we all have gifting's God wants us to use to build the Body. There is also a greater wisdom in a crowd. This puts a lot of accountability on the Eldership.

We are also committed to, and are intentional about, ensuring the five-fold ministries (apostolic, prophetic, evangelistic, shepherding, teaching) are used to build the Body of the Church.

As part of this we have been intentional about approaching people with such gifting's to be part of RBC, welcoming them and acknowledging their ministries. Refer Elders gifting' and 'Fathers of the Faith' plus the gifting's of our members.

As recognition of the above, RBC called a Pastoral Team Leader. This is a move away from a Senior Pastor who is often expected to do most things, and his gifting's often become the bias of the Church. For example, if the Pastors gifting is teaching then the Church can have a strong bias towards teaching.

The Pastoral Team Leader role is the Leader of the leadership team and operates on a no surprises basis with the Elders, consistent with the transparency the Elders operate as a church. His role is more about leading a team, embracing others with gifting's in the five-fold ministry and facilitating these being used in the building the Body of the Church. This is a challenging role and needs to be supported by a gifted Eldership, Leadership team and members. A Pastoral Team leader does not have to do it on his own, have all the skills/gifting's. While it is a calling by God he is still human.

The focus of most Pastors' training is on theology, preaching. They are often not as well prepared for the collaborative leading of a team, vision, empowering, equipping, embracing and facilitating all the gifting's of the Body. As part of acknowledging this the Pastoral Team Leader is required to have a spiritual mentor and a leadership mentor.

As a Church we also contract external experts to assist, in various areas of Ministry.


This is a separate Charitable Trust, certificate of registration December 16th 2010.
The Trust Deed defines the charitable purpose as "to improve the quality of life of the local community through providing leadership and resources to help meet the social, emotional, physical, educational and spiritual needs of the community"

The Trustees are Alan Van Limburg (Chair), Carol Renouf (Trust Manager), Max Palmer (previously an Elder, to be replaced by an Elder early 2015) and Dinesh Lal. In a normal structure the Trust Manager would not be a Trustee but it is a small team, there are only four (until recently three) Trustees.

The Oak Trust is a ministry vehicle of the Church, the Church engaging in its community, draws on the volunteer base of the Church.

It is primarily about building relationships, activities are not the purpose, they serve the purpose.

We 'speak' to people by what we do rather than what we say; we attract people to Christ by the way we live, our love for Christ and each other, our joyful spirit ; we introduce Christ and He will do the drawing to Him. The Oak Trust provides an opportunity for us to 'speak' to our community

To ensure it is aligned with the Church:
The Trust Manager is part of the weekly Church Leadership meeting and is involved in most combined leadership meetings.
There is a Memorandum of Understanding (the Elders are responsible for) between the Trust and the Church which the Trust is bound by (this is provided for in the Trust Deed).
At least one of the Trustees is an Elder of RBC. The current Elder is responsible for the financial reporting of the Trust.
The Trustees are appointed by the Elders and they have the power to remove a Trustee.
Staff appointments are to be ratified by the Elders.
The Trustees are to be active members of RBC unless approved by the Elders
It is possible in the future that Trustees or some staff may not be a active members of RBC, but the majority always will be. For example a Trustee or ex staff member who has had considerable experience in a similar large Trust might be able to add significantly to Oak.
All Trustees will be Christians.
Annual and as required financial and non-financial reports are to be provided to the Elders
RBC provides financial support and effectively underwrites the Trust financially.

Similar aspects to the Church structure apply
Trustees appointed for one or two years as determined by the Elders, and are eligible for Re appointment
Potential Trustee working alongside Trustees for a period

A separate Trust was set up from the Church because it provided focus, facilitated connection with non-Christians, support from other community groups and securing third party funding.

Its purpose is to

  • Meet some needs of Church members (we need to care for our own family)
  • Meet some needs of the community
  • Provide an opportunity to involve members non-Christian friends/contacts and people from the Community
  • Provide an opportunity for Church members to serve on a voluntary basis, live their Christianity in such a way to attract others to Christ. A serving rather than consumption approach.

The Trust is encouraged to establish committees for various events/activities where these committees include considerable non church members and diversity; to ensure we are relevant to the community, they have an ownership of, ensure greater buy in by the community.
There are a number of committees of the Trust that exist reflecting this principle.

The Trust's initial mandate from the Church was to

  • Develop relationships with relevant community groups
  • Develop relationships with the community
  • Secure funding
  • Identifying some community and church member needs
  • Arranging/facilitate activities to meet some of the needs identified

Earlier research indicated one of the biggest needs in the community was the need to feel part of a community, connect with others.

The Trust has been very successful in achieving these objectives. We would acknowledge the contribution the Trust Manager, Carol Renouf, has made in this regards.

Our approach has been to build gradually, do what we do well, rather than what we do suffering from doing too many things or the level of activities becomes the focus rather than the relationships.

The Trust and Elders are now looking at building on this, the next stage in its journey.

There is no one model of Leadership/Governance that fits all or most churches although many may attempt to. This model is what we feel fits RBC, were it is on currently in its journey. It is an evolving document as we journey as a Church while remaining committed to the Word.