Chapter 17 – Getting Started (in transitioning to the elder-led structure)
This chapter primarily exists to help leaders of established congregations move to the Biblical model of a plurality of elders. However, the wisdom contained in this chapter should challenge and encourage us all.
We must present the Bible’s teaching on how a church is to be structured. A faithful expository ministry will win people’s trust and allow them to see these ideas as God’s.
Elders should constantly be looking for and recognizing potential elders in their congregation.
Elders should nominate elders. They should nominate them in advance so that the congregation has plenty of time to think over and express their concerns regarding the potential elder.
The congregation votes on the nominated elder. The ultimate responsibility lies in the hands of the congregation in the election of their leaders.
The affirmed elders should be installed during a Sunday morning service.
“It cannot be emphasized enough that once a congregation votes a man in as an elder, they should cooperate with and submit to his leadership joyfully.”
Term limits for non-staff elders may serve the congregation better than lifetime appointments. Capitol Hill has a three-year term appointment, and then an elder must be reaffirmed for another three years. After two terms, a non-staff elder must take a one year sabbatical.
This is a very important issue. We should proceed with great caution and carefulness.