The Saturday before mid-summer's eve in Scotland - 8oc, wet & windy! But the Greenview Gazebo didn't blow away and there was plenty of fun with face painting, games, free cake provided by the Greenview Cafe, and even hand massage. Thanks to all who made a pretty foul day so enjoyable.
Below are my notes from a conference I attended on Church Leadership. There are a few things I'm not 100% convinced by - but overall I think it's pretty sage advice. I've not mentioned where the conf was just in case I've inadvertently misrepresented anything they said.
Had debated splitting membership into Alphabetical Blocks –
but decided to leave PC as a general/organic thing – to let relationships form
and be managed naturally across the fellowship.
Elders’ Meeting Chairmen
Rotate Chair – as no-one to everyone’s taste & all have
All non-staff elders have 3 years terms. Staff elders take
Sabbatical time to get breaks.
Elders need to be meeting with other elders regularly, e.g.
lunches - to strengthen relationships / understanding.
Pastor left in charge of teaching as long as doing a
decent job. Other elders / staff given
No glamour in eldership – too difficult / painful when
dealing with real lives & issues. Not a calling for those looking for
prestige or position. Focus is on strugglers / difficult cases. Like being the
ER department of church – constant trauma / stress.
Big challenge for elders = discouragement. Sometimes best
you get is being personally faithful while others reject truth.
Elders should be people you would naturally turn to with Bible
questions or life issues.
Teaching (Pastor) is what attracts people to church – community
is what keeps them there.
Young men are stupid. Sharpness of Vision – little Depth of
Need eldership unity on...
nOn Gospel (sin – redemption – personal
nOn Doctrine (e.g. authority of Scripture)
nOn ‘Hot Buttons’ (e.g. Complimentarianism)
New Pastors want to change stuff – but they ‘make purchases
they don’t know the price of’- e.g. they upset people much more than they
realise over small things and lose long-term goodwill.
Lasting change comes from the pulpit – only God’s Word
Moved Services away from ‘19th Century Evangelical Variety Show’ format.
Mission Statements /
Don’t have these.
Have elder’s days to discuss particular issues / topics,
e.g. care of members.
Have 6x per year – include information updates and votes.
Like Annual Business Meeting but more emphasis on being a family.
Report to elders individually. Don’t meet as a group - avoids
conflict & confusion.
Have tried to de-emphasise music quality – focus on singing
together whatever quality of music. ‘Keep
music mere’ – don’t let band dominate / don’t be lead by it.
Best growth is steady & long term.
If you are committed long term you don’t have to do things
in a hurry. Long term ministries don’t need to be hasty or pushy.
You over-estimate what you can do in 1 year and
under-estimate what you can do in 5.
What would you think about a Maths teacher who taught Maths
but never corrected mistakes?
Have no formal programme for producing elders.
Rather seek to recognise those who are already acting as
‘elders’ – not ‘an office’ but a manner of life / godliness.
Professionalisation of Church
Oz Guiness: ‘When I
meet a Buddhist monk I meet a holy man; when I meet a Christian Minister I meet
Key Eldership Virtues
Self Control / Faithfulness / Reputation – example of
godliness to flock.
Sovereignty of God / Atonement (Penal Substitution) /
Authority of Scripture / Exclusivity of Christ
Not – harsh / judgemental / shockable / performance
Rather – gentle / humble / Cross-centred
Ecclesiology / Baptism / Complementarian / Expositional /
Word not Programme Driven.
Love for Congregation
(not just theology)
nRegular attendance at church
nWants to be with ‘his family’.
nTrack record of faithful service.
nNot quarrelsome / conflicting.
Do they relate/serve across the congregation (are they
cliquey / partisan)?
nThey have best insight into demands / reality of
nThey should have the best knowledge of potential
candidates (avoid embarrassment of unsuitable people being proposed).
Ask for members feedback privately – keep congregation
If people object – they must say why (if good reason elders
must know about it).
Don’t Raise the Bar
Watch that elders don’t raise qualifications once they’re
Avoid an ‘inner circle’ mentality.
DISCIPLINE & CARE
Make your church a difficult place for nominal Christians to
won’t make your church friendly
Change personality of church to ‘all member care’
Make it normal for Christians to care for others without
programmes or permissions.
When someone is in trouble do members respond or just leave
it to the staff/elders.
Pastoral` Groups –
not a substitute for natural relationships
Elders should know members across the church.
Resist consumer culture
Want members who are committed to whole congregation
Avoid members who want to go to SG’s but not services.
Don’t just be a ‘pulpiteer’ but a discipler.
Encourage growing Christians to invest in others –
5% of members will take up 90% of eldership time (neglect of
Don’t be lead by members who have no concern to make your
eldership a joy (Heb 13:17).
Pray for humility in leadership
Avoid culture of criticism / second guessing.
Be bold – ask for trust.
Give authority away - let others lead.
‘Church’ is the best
programme for discipleship & evangelism.
It should be the display of God’s goodness & character.