On February 28 our church will vote on two men to become lay pastors at Union View: Harlen Davis and Ed Sanderlin. Below is a explanation of why we have multiple pastors as well as a short bio for each of the men.
The Role of Pastors at Union View
The introduction to the pastors section of our church’s constitution concludes with:
It is the conviction of this church that whenever possible the church should be led by a plurality of pastors; consisting of both vocational and lay. Pastors shall be equal in authority but may specialize in function.
One office, three names
Let me explain those two sentences, beginning with the word pastors. The Bible uses the terms elder, overseer, and pastor interchangeably to refer to one office or position of service. You can read examples of this interchangeability in Titus 1:5 – 7; Acts 20:17 & 28, and 1 Peter 5:1 – 2. That’s why Paul can give the qualifications for an overseer in 1 Timothy 3 and not worry about giving separate qualifications for pastors or elders. We have chosen to use the word pastor because it is both biblically accurate and easily recognizable.
More than One
When possible we believe the church should be led by a group of pastors who have equal authority. We recognize there may be some temporary situations that only allow for one pastor, but a church should be seeking a plurality of pastors to lead. Our biblical support comes from a number of places. Nearly every time the world elder (which, remember, is synonymous with pastor) occurs in the New Testament it is in the plural. Consider the implications of these three verses.
Titus 1:5 This 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.
Acts 14:23 And when they had appointed elders for them in every church, with prayer and fasting they committed them to the Lord in whom they had believed.
James 5:14 Is anyone among you sick? Let him call for the elders of the church, and let them pray over him.
The Bible assumes that multiple elders will be in every church. Paul even commands Titus to appoint elders (plural) in every town. And keep in mind, during the time of Paul there wouldn’t have been multiple churches in every town like we have now. So, the expectation was that multiple men would be set aside as pastors/elders to lead the local church.
When you put all this together you get the foundation for what our church believes and practices. The local church should be led by a plurality of pastors who are equal in authority. At Union View we have vocational (paid) pastors and lay (unpaid) pastors who together shepherd the flock of God. We lead with a plurality that must be in complete agreement on every decision. If we disagree we pray until we agree. We hold each other accountability, encourage each other, pastor each other. The current pastors recommend to the congregation two men to be added as lay (unpaid) pastors to our pastoral team: Harlen Davis and Ed Sanderlin.
Harlen was born in Lawrenceville, Georgia. He received his Bachelor of Science in Business Administration from Shorter University in 2007 and is currently pursuing his Master of Divinity at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary. Harlen trusted Christ as his Savior when he was 10 years old but it wasn’t until 1985 that his relationship with Jesus Christ began to flourish. Harlen has been very active in church and has held many positions from being the Chairman of Deacons to teaching and preaching. In 2004 it became evident that God was changing his vocation and calling him into the ministry, which led him back to school to complete his Bachelor’s Degree (that he had started 26 years earlier) with the intention of going to Seminary. He has been married to Debra for 30 years and they have a daughter Kaitlyn and son-in-law Nathan, son Benjamin and daughter-in-law Elizabeth, and the greatest granddaughters, Shiloh and Chloe. Harlen was hoping to start Seminary in 2010 but God’s Providence did not let it come to fruition until 2012. Harlen and Debra moved to Wake Forest and lived in seminary housing until 2013 when He and Debra moved to Franklinton and have been attending and serving here at Union View ever since.
Born in Norfolk, VA where I committed my life to Christ at age 16 years.
Graduated From Columbia Bible College, Columbia, SC (now known as Columbia International University) in 1981 with BA in Bible w/General Ministries.
Married Jackie Tissot Sanderlin in 1981.
Two Children: Eddie (currently PHD Candidate at East Carolina University)
Elizabeth (Completing her final semester at East Carolina University with a BSN in Nursing)
Entered Military Service in 1986 after a career in Law Enforcement. After multiple deployments, exited Active Duty Service and joined the NC National Guard and enrolled as a Full-Time Student in Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary (SEBTS) in 1998. During my time as a student, I was active as a member of a local Baptist church in Henderson as the Minister of Education, Children’s Minister, and Chaplin for a local Senior Citizens Home. Was about to enter my fourth year toward a Masters of Divinity Degree when “9/11” occurred. In September 2001, my unit was activated and mobilized for 2 years for a combat deployment in Afghanistan; thus, was unable to complete the final year at seminary. There were subsequent mobilizations and finally after my last tour in Iraq, I retired permanently from the military after 25 years. I am now employed as a military contractor.
My intent is to complete the final requirements at SEBTS for the Master’s of Divinity Degree by beginning part-time classes this year. My heart’s desire is to obediently serve Christ in whatever capacity the Lord leads and to glorify Him in my life, through my family and in my church.