Lead Like Jesus FAQs


You can call or e-mail Joe Porter to make the request: 513-661-5811 or jporter@whitewatercrossing.org.
You can call or e-mail Joe Porter to make the request: 513-661-5811 or jporter@whitewatercrossing.org.
No. The new bylaws were not based on the current constitution. The bylaws are based on a best-in-class template for churches using elder governance.
The Elders would be happy to review Elder Policies with anyone that is interested; however, the Elder Policies are not available for distribution without a conversation with an Elder to bring context to the policies. You can call or e-mail Joe Porter to make the request: 513-661-5811 or jporter@whitewatercrossing.org. Or you can connect with any Elder to arrange for a review of the policies.


  • The constitution is being replaced the the bylaws. From a legal perspective, the terms (constitution, bylaws) are interchangeable. The Elders chose to use bylaws to communicate the significant differences in approach.
  • The current bylaws are being replaced by Elder Policies.

As we reviewed the New Testament and the New Testament Church, we saw no mention of voting by members or leaders. The church was led by gifted and trusted leaders, who led by consensus.

We must avoid incorporating a political or national model into the church. Examples:  Deacons = House of Representatives, Elders = Senators, Pastor = President, and Trustees = the Supreme Court.

The changes outlined here have been thoroughly vetted and reviewed by the Whitewater Elders. We will enjoy a more seamless process for decisions and actions, allowing staff to seize opportunities to bless our members and visitors without calling congregational meetings. A new governance structure will help us go further and faster with our mission.

  • After researching and benchmarking with other churches of similar size, we realize that our structure needs to change to accommodate future growth opportunities, which allow our mission to expand and make a greater impact.
  • Eighteen years ago (when the most recent revision of the constitution/bylaws were created) our Elders then created a platform that has served us well until now. Those Elders saw the need to change for church health and direction. Just look at the results. Our current leaders now are doing the same to better position us for the next several decades.

While this is highly unlikely, church members are encouraged to approach any staff member or Elder to express feedback regarding unhealthy church direction or decisions. Should the need arise, a special meeting of the members  can be called to address issues of church health and direction with the leadership. How this is done is covered under an Elder Policy.  
Our current constitution and bylaws were developed and written 18 years ago when we were a church of 400. This has been a great foundation and framework from which to build, but we have since outgrown that way of doing church. It is not sustainable if we want to continue to accomplish our mission.
Not much will be noticed initially, but all of us will see the wonderful results in our overall ministry as we are able to act on great opportunities within the guardrails set by elders. Members will be blessed and more lost people will be found. We are more closely aligning ourselves to be fluid and flexible like the structure of the Acts church. We have a high trust culture here and no matter what model, that is key.
Continue to be a committed and engaged follower of Jesus praying for the church and supporting its leaders. Continue using your God-given gifts, talents and energy to further the mission and vision of Whitewater to provide Help, Hope in Jesus, and a Home to the unchurched/dechurched people in our area.
We believe the calling/appointment of a new senior minister is best done by a smaller and select group of Elders/staff with expertise, who best know the needs of the position, as well as the church.
This model is not contingent or devised around any person (like David) but a process. We are moving from a verbal culture to an established written policy and procedures culture, and this governance sets clear guardrails for whoever has the position of senior minister or elder.
Should the need arise, a special meeting of the members can be called to address issues of church health and direction with the leadership. How this is done is covered under an Elder Policy.
That has always been true—even in our current governance model. For sure, having competent and spiritually qualified leaders is critical to the church. The New Testament teaches that the Elders of a local church are to lead and make strategic decisions about that church.

  • Compliance with policy by ministries will likely require new leadership skills at the minister & director level. Existing staff will get this training as part of the transition process. The new staff training process will include that training.
  • The Elders will need a new set of skills related to leading through policy and evaluation of performance. These all will be group responsibilities, versus individuals or sub-teams. Existing Elders will get this training as part of the transition process. The new Elder training process will include that training.

  • The senior minister and staff members are empowered to make decisions to fulfill the mission and accomplish the vision of WCCC within the clearer boundaries defined in policy.
  • The Elders will need to increase their focus on leadership by policy. That means clearly documenting expectations and providing freedom to operate within limitations.


  • Elder candidates are evaluated against a set of defined criteria.
    • Biblical standards: Acts 20:28, 1 Timothy 3:1-7, Titus 1:5-9, 1 Peter 5:1-3
    • Confirmed presence of spiritual gifts (1 Corinthians 12/14, Romans 12 and Ephesians 4)
    • Assessed for commitment, conviction, competency, character and chemistry
    • Devoted to the mission, vision, core values and statement of faith of WCCC
  • Elders serve six-year terms with a mandatory year off. Previous Elders must be invited to return.
  • Each Elder’s performance will be evaluated on an annual basis.
  • Annually, each Elder will be evaluated against Elder values (prayer, scripture, relevance, accountability, excellence, and protection), and norms (engagement, trust, advocating the mission, confidentiality, etc.). The Elder Chair will facilitate this process and determine and initiate any action that may be required as a result of the process.
    The Elders are responsible for approving the annual budget. Financial reviews will happen at every Elder meeting. The Elders have defined specific financial limitations for staff. Any exception to the limitations must be approved by the Elders. The Elders require an annual independent audit of the financial records. The staff will continue to have experienced financial advisors from the congregation for evaluating budgets, projects, etc.
    The same way we have always done. It would be communicated through the weekend services, social media and all our communication channels. Communication of vital Information in an atmosphere of transparency and trust has been our practice and that will continue.
    No. The bylaws require that we must have a board (based on state laws/regulations). The bylaws also outline the dissolution of church property should that ever occur in our future.

    Elder Governance

    Governance is the way the rules, norms and actions are structured, sustained, regulated and held accountable.

    Some of the attributes of our Elder Governance are:

    • The Elders proactively create policy for staff decision-making empowerment.
    • The Elders monitor performance as reported in detail by staff, but only against policy criteria (i.e., mission & vision related measures, controls compliance, etc.).
    • The Elders set boundaries rather than telling the Senior Minister & staff how to do their job. Staff will require Elder approval for any exceptions.

    The Elders will focus on “strategic thinking." Their leadership will be characterized by shared expressions of policy documented in four prominent segments: Vision, Process, Relationships and Limitations. These policies will provide proactive decisions on the fundamental issues of mission, vision, values, job products, authority, metrics, limitations, etc. Each policy is to be reviewed and/or updated at least annually.

    Policy Content

    Vision: These policies describe the desirable state of the future. The top-level view of this future is called the “mega-vision” and layers of that vision provide measurable definition. Using descriptive nouns and adjectives, these statements describe a picture of the desired future of the church in completed language – a description of what the Elders desire the church to look like in the end – as if it had already been accomplished.

    Process: These policies describe the methods the Elders use to operate. They include values, norms, job products, officer roles, elder team membership, subordinate teams, and other interpretations as needed.

    Relationships: These policies define the job products for the Senior Minister. They also provide top-tier metrics for monitoring progress toward vision achievement.

    Limitations: These policies denote organizational conduct and actions unacceptable to the Elders. The Senior Minister is empowered to implement appropriate actions to achieve vision within these boundaries.

    The Elders would be happy to review Elder Policies with anyone that is interested. However; the Elder Policies are not available for distribution. Please contact an Elder or call the office to request a review.
    Elders remain responsible for leading the church by the four P’s (prayer, pastoring, protection and policy). This is not changing. What is changing is that policy is becoming much clearer and documented. This provides clarity to staff on which decisions are delegated and which decisions are retained by the Elders.
    The Elders monitor performance and compliance with limitations, as reported in detail by staff. Additionally, the Elders will engage an independent auditor to assess compliance with auditing standards.
    The Elders monitor WCCC operation performance important to the mission and vision, as defined in the Metrics policy. This monitoring will be primarily by internal reporting, but also will include external reporting and direct inspection.
    The new WCCC bylaws are based on a best-in-class template for churches using Elder governance that was customized for the state of Ohio and WCCC by a trustee/lawyer and approved by the Elders. The Elder Policy was developed by starting with best-in-class policy templates, then customized for WCCC by the Elders and a few other key leaders. This process was led by Gary York from Logicboard. Logicboard was highly recommended by several of our benchmark churches.