The Board of Elders, consisting of six to twelve members, is the spiritual leadership body of the church. However, it also serves as the administrative leadership: approving policies, approving requests from the Trustee Board and the Ministry Board, coordinating the hiring of Professional Staff and overseeing their performance. Accepting the volunteer role of Elder is not something to be taken lightly. Elders make extensive time commitments and take on profound responsibility in leading First Christian. Each year, various Elders roll off of their terms. We praise God for the service of those who have served, and for the new Elders who joined in 2017. Here is the current slate of Elders at FCC. Please commit to praying for them.


Melissa Eiesle has been a member of FCC since 1991. She is married to James Eisele and they have two sons, Bob (20) and Ryan (15). Through the years, Melissa has been involved in many different ministries here at First Christian, including children’s ministry, youth ministry, small groups, and LINK. She is starting her fourth year on the Elder Board. “It’s a great honor to be involved in God’s work at FCC. As one of the workers in His kingdom, I see God moving in so many ways, in each of us and through each of us.”

 Marita Elliott first came to FCC in 1984 after she and her husband, Sam Elliott (former Elder, now deceased), moved to Lawrence in 1983.  They attended and participated regularly, then moved away in 1990, only to return in 2010. Sam passed away in December, 2015.  They were married 33 years and shared 6 children, 11 grandchildren and 4 great-grandchildren. Since returning, Marita became involved in teaching Sunday School, the Care Ministry Team, the Worship Ministry Team and became an Elder. “I'm excited knowing that Christ is our Sovereign Shepherd and He is in complete control of our church - we are in His hands, and only through prayer will we come together tighter."

 Dennis Hayward and Kathy have been members of FCC since April 2013. I was baptized when I was eleven-years old, but decided to re-dedicate myself to Jesus at First Christian and was baptized on November 24, 2013.  I enjoy involvement with LINK; and recently served on the Board as Treasurer; and look forward to new challenges our FCC family will have in the future to make disciples in Christ.  Kathy and I have been married 46 years and have three children and six grandchildren.  We love to hook up the travel trailer and visit our awesome grandkids that are spread out across this wonderful country.  We are truly blessed, and may all of us honor God, country, and family.  Looking forward, 2017 brings promise for all of God’s children: Truly my soul finds rest in God; my salvation comes from him. Truly he is my rock and my salvation; he is my fortress, I will never be shaken…” (Psalm 62:1-2, NIV). 

 James Hilliard and his wife Cathy have been members of First Christian for over 26 years. Their daughters (Sara and Alex) and one nephew (Jericho) have also been a part of the First Christian Family. James has been involved in many roles over the years from working in the Nursery, teaching childrens church, working with the youth, teaching adult Sunday school, serving LINK, Family Promise, serving on the Elder board and preaching. “As 2017 rolls around I pray that First Christian continues to "Engage and Embrace all people as we seek to Embody Christ."

 Lauren Mendoza has attended FCC since 2010, and in that time, has been active in the Worship ministry, singing in the second service and chairing the Worship Advisory Team; volunteered with the youth group; and served on the drafting committee for the Journey of Faith and the senior pastor search team. Lauren is an attorney and works for the Kansas Legislature as part of a nonpartisan research staff for both chambers. In August, she married Matt Mendoza. The couple have three cats and love reading, art, and travel. "As we begin a new year, I am reminded of the promise of Philippians that 'he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.' In 2017, I look forward to seeing more come to know Christ, grow in their faith, and find ways to use their gifts to bless and serve the congregation and our community."

 Sheri Penny has been a member of FCC since 1987, when she started attending with her husband Dean.  Sheri and Dean have been married for 30 years and have two adult children, Kristin (28) and Michael (22). Through the years, Sheri has been involved in many different ministries here at First Christian. She continues her position on the Elder Board; has taught Sunday school, Children’s Church, VBS, served on the Worship Ministry Team, and on the Youth Search Committee. “I believe God is in our midst and I’m excited to see what he has in store for us in 2017.”

 Hyacinth Self works for Lawrence Memorial Hospital in the pharmacy. She loves her husband Jim, their 7 children and 9-plus grandchildren, tacos, and chocolate. She enjoys reading, sewing, camping, hiking, fishing, snow skiing, motorcycle riding, and playing 12-string guitar all for the glory of God. Hyacinth has attended FCC since the 60’s and enjoyed volunteering for many years of VBS and countless youth trips. She’s looking forward to many more great adventures at FCC in 2017 as an elder.

 Jim Self was baptized @ FCC and a few years later married Hyacinth. Jim and Hyacinth have (7) children between them, and have (9) plus grandchildren. Jim is the National Account Manager for FarmChem Corp. a manufacturer of crop protection and fertilizer dispensing, handling, and storage equipment. He pretty much likes everything outdoors playing golf; snow skiing, hunting, hiking, and motorcycle riding. He is looking forward to serving on the Elder board, has served several times on the Trustee board, has been on many youth mission trips and youth events, supporter of Family Promise, and other outreach programs.  “I truly believe God has blessed FCC with a pastor and staff that will instruct us in God’s word, exemplify Christ, evangelize, and baptize. I am so excited about 2017 and beyond.”


You can contact the Elders at 

Elder Responsibilities

 Provide Spiritual Oversight

  • Setting an example to the congregation by living a life with deliberate habits of prayer, devotional Bible study, worship, and service, and disciple-making. 
  • Discern the overall vision and future direction of the church.
  • Confront false teaching and behavior contradictory to biblical truth and implement appropriate church discipline
  • Maintain the administration of Baptism and Communion as instituted by Christ
  • Review and evaluate teaching and curricula for biblical accuracy and consistency (weekend services, classes, and sub-ministry materials)
  • Mandate ministry to the poor and distressed

 Shepherd the Flock

  • Setting an example to the congregation by being chief advocates and participants in the activities and ministries of the church
  • Participate (as needed) in the biblical process of conflict resolution outlined by Jesus in Matthew 18:15-17
  • Direct people into appropriate processes for guidance, assistance, and problem resolution
  • Respond to letters/phone calls from the church body, staff, or public

 Manage the Church

  • Affirm the annual FCC budget prepared by the Trustees
  • Encourage the senior pastor, his or her staff, and volunteers
  • Create policies to define clearly church values and biblical operating procedures.
  • Conduct annual review of the senior pastor
  • Delegate to qualified assistants, staff, and/or outside experts as needed

 Care for the Sick

  • Affirm the work of the Anointing Team
  • Visit shut-ins, those in the hospital, and those grieving
  • In special circumstances, visit participating members who are sick (at home or in the hospital) for private counsel

Elder Qualifications

The Elders and Leadership Council will nominate potential candidates based on sufficient qualifications.

Here are some of the qualifications necessary for becoming an Elder:

  • Must have been a member of First Christian for at least one year.
  • Must have volunteered in a significant capacity in a ministry, preferably in a leadership or mentoring role.
  • Must be known for consideration by a staff member, a member of the Leadership Council, and/or a member of the Elder Board.
  • Must have the flexibility and availability to serve in the Elder role. The time commitment required can be delineated as: a monthly evening meeting; a retreat one weekend per year; approximately four-to-six hours per month for review of Elder board materials, policies, correspondence, and meeting preparation; and other time requirements when exigencies arise.
  • Must be able to keep confidential information.

The Elders and Leadership Council will also screen candidates based on the qualifications outlined in the New Testament (e.g., see Acts 20:17; 28-31; 1 Timothy 3:2–7; 5:17; Titus 1:6–9; 1 Peter 5:1-2; James 5:14).

First Christian Church exists to make disciples of Jesus. To make disciples of Jesus, First Christian’s ministries are committed to teaching disciples to obey everything that Jesus commanded (Matt. 28:19), expressed by Gather, Grow, Go. We Gather to worship and care for our community; we Grow to be like Jesus; we Go to share the gospel and serve the world.

Scroll Up Home