Wednesday, December 6, 2006

Implementing Elders

from here


Elders

After the initial case of discipline, the church went through sixteen months of decline and struggle. After that, things really began to take off. The respect and admiration for myself from the body began to grow so much that I knew this was not healthy. I simply had almost no accountability. The deacons were only servants to the body and had no authority to oversee. The pastor was viewed as a benevolent dictator. I knew I needed help to lead and oversee the church. I was convinced that a plurality of elders was the most biblically healthy model of church leadership. I devised a plan. I would preach a series of messages on biblical elders and then ask the congregation to nominate men for the office. I would then examine the top nominees and exclude any one who was not biblically qualified. The remaining twelve would be presented to the congregation for a two-week examination period. If anyone had any concerns, they had two weeks to bring them to my attention. After two weeks, the men, with their wives at their side, were unanimously affirmed as elders in the church. Originally we called them “the Pastor’s Council” for fear the title “elder” might unsettle some. Since then, we have matured greatly in our understanding of elder ministry and in our policy for selecting and installing them. Today we require a 50-page questionnaire on theology and church polity. For over sixteen years now the love, encouragement, and accountability among the elders has been priceless to me. They have been the key, humanly speaking, to holding the church together in some very difficult times. Their leadership in doctrine and discipline issues greatly enhances my role of the preaching pastor.

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