Ecclesia is an Elder-Led church. The Bible contains several passages that deal with ecclesiology and church government. These passages include: John 17:23; Acts 14:23, 20:17,28-32, 21:18; I Corinthians 11:17-18; Galatians 6:10; Ephesians 4:3; I Timothy 3,4:14, 5:1-2,17-19; Titus 1:5-9; James 5:14-15; and I Peter 5:1-5.
"My understanding of the biblical teaching is that the church should be led by a group of pastor-elders who serve in covenant relationships with one another." Ed Stetzer
We recognize the need for a group of elders with the pastor operating as the first among equals. We also recognize the importance of biblical qualifications and currently use a mixed internal/external elder board until which time God sends our church enough internal elders to fill this role.
Lead Pastor / Elder: Ryan Tipton
(B.A., M.Div, M.A.)
Ryan Tipton was raised in Sheridan, Arkansas and studied Biblical Studies/ Language at Ouachita Baptist University. After graduation he went on a two-week mission trip to Romania and returned a year and a half later. Upon his return from the mission field he met and married his wife, Cindy (Ayers) of fourteen years and moved to Griffin, Georgia where he served at Mt. Gilead Baptist Church as Pastor of Students and Associate Pastor of Preaching. During this time he received his M.Div at New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary. After seven years of ministry, God called Ryan and his wife once again to the mission field. Together they moved to London, England where Cindy served as a full-time missionary, while Ryan attended the London School of Theology, where he received an M.A. in Aspects of Biblical Hermeneutics. Following the ever-persistent call of God to church-planting, Ryan and Cindy returned to the United States to plant a church in Cindy's hometown, Newnan, Georgia. His heart and passion is the display of the gospel of Jesus Christ and the advancement of His Kingdom.
External elder: Chad Berry (M.A.)
Chad Berry is currently an external elder for Ecclesia. Chad and his wife Mallie joined Ecclesia in 2010 while living in Newnan, Georgia and served the church on-site for several years. Although they have since moved to Alabama, they still love the people of Ecclesia and are refreshed every time they get to come back. For most of the past decade, the Berrys have also served in varying capacities with OMF International, an evangelical mission agency focused on East Asia. Chad’s passion is reflected in Paul’s speech to the Ephesian elders: “I do not account my life of any value nor as precious to myself, if only I may finish my course and the ministry that I received from the Lord Jesus, to testify to the gospel of the grace of God.” (Acts 20:24)