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.
How elders relate to each other will impact how they relate to the flock, for good or ill. Here are a few ideas for helping elders build deep friendships and sturdy unity. Read more >
When and how should lay elders push back on decisions of staff elders? Consider first what “hat” the staff elder is wearing. Read more >
How can elder boards avoid the vicious cycle of lay elders feeling pressured to rubber stamp staff elders’ decisions, then resenting them, then opposing them? Read more >
Balanced counsel on the balance between elders from a seasoned senior pastor. Read more >
Fear of man can lead elders to say too little or too much. Here are nine tips for setting your heart right and speaking well to your fellow elders. Read more >
Like families, elder board dynamics vary with size. Here is some counsel for larger and smaller elder boards from a pastor who has served on both. Read more >
Matt Schmucker and Nick Roark
If lay elders aren’t informed of issues before the elders meet, they can feel neglected, pressured, and out-of-the-loop. A little bit of prep work before hand can go a long way. Read more >
The Bi-vocational Elder
Jimmy Scroggins and Steve Wright
Countless church plants fail for lack of funds. So instead of throwing a Hail Mary, why not explore a new model instead? Read more >
When I enrolled in seminary, I knew I wanted to preach God’s Word, tell people the good news of Christ, and help others follow Jesus. And to this day I am grateful that I have been able to spend my life this way. So when my professors assigned a number of books on pastoral leadership and church growth, I was happy to read them. I had fundamental questions to answer before I hoped to lead a church: What is the church? What does it mean to be a pastor? How do these two (church and pastor) fit together? What is success in ministry? Read more >
What is a Baptist? This is not a rhetorical question. This is a test. Keep calm and carry on. Kevin Bauder, research professor of systematic theology at Central Baptist Seminary, is concerned that Baptist church members do not actually know what Baptists believe. Thus, he has written Baptist Distinctives and New Testament Church Order, a short, “nontechnical work that would explain what a Baptist is” to “people who are not theological experts” (11). Read more >