Thanks for posting this very good question. It's a very important question for the reasons the writer identifies--a certain amount of agreement is necessary for the teaching ministry to make the same sound and for the unity to be deep and unshakeable. But how much unity and in what things? That's the rub.
A few quick reactions to what really deserves a series of posts from a more senior pastor than myself. But here goes:
What makes for a good elders retreat? The elders at the church I serve just had our first retreat, and it was pretty simple. We spent Monday and Tuesday in town but not at the church. On Monday we met from 9 through 4:30. Tuesday we met from 9 through dinner that evening. We would have liked to go away overnight, and probably will sometime, but we couldn't get that worked out, and it was better to meet sooner than wait until we could get away overnight.
The below is a guest post from Brian Croft. Brian is the senior pastor of Auburndale Baptist Church in Louisville, Kentucky. In addition to contributing to the 9Marks blog, Brian also writes regularly on his own blog at www.practicalshepherding.com. Brian is married to Cara, and they have four children.