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9Marks Explained : A Letter From Mark Dever
Jan-Feb 2013 | Subscribe Free!

Lay Elders: A User’s Guide—Part 2

We return again to the topic of lay elders in this issue of the Journal. (Check out the last one here.) This time we take up the matter of elder relationships themselves. A lot of guys become elders and are surprised to find the relationships with the other brothers require care, even forgiveness.

“What? I thought they were all supposed to be godly?”

Well, hopefully, they are. But still…

You don’t become a “band of brothers” just by showing up. You need to face battle together, as well as work through all the disagreements and sins that arise along the way. My friend Matt Schmucker often observes that more apologizing happens during our elder meeting bathroom breaks than at any other time he knows. It is a consecrated commode.

An elder’s first priority is the sheep, but shepherds who don’t know how to love one another compromise their ability to serve the sheep.

To get us started, Bob Johnson explains how he, as the senior pastor, tries to build unity and love among the elders. Michael Lawrence, Greg Gilbert, and Walter Price all address the tricky issue of the lay elder/staff elder dynamic.

Then Eric Bancroft, Matt Schmucker, Nick Roark, and I turn to the elder meeting itself. How can we build unity and peace amidst the challenging dynamics of group decision-making? Finally, Jimmy Scroggins and Steve Wright take us in a slightly different direction by considering the possibility of bi-vocational elders planting churches.

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