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Your experiences with having ELDERS

Discussion in 'Baptists' started by bethdinsmore, Oct 26, 2005.

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  1. bethdinsmore

    bethdinsmore Veteran

    +70
    Christian
    Married
    Our church is voting soon to change to an elder-led church. The old guard doesn't want to change, even though it is a biblical principle.
    They want to know the plusses and minuses of having elders.
    For those of you who have been in elder-led churches, what do you think are the positives and negatives of having them? This is what they are trying to find out.

    And we could sure use your prayers for unity. Thank you - aloha in Jesus
     
  2. JPPT1974

    JPPT1974 August Back to School

    +9,750
    United States
    Baptist
    Single
    CA-Conservatives
    They love the Lord.
    When we had the pastor at our church for sixteen years, we only elected officials twice.
    Now that we had this pastor for five years, it has taken place once every two years.
    So that everybody will have a chance and a turn.
     
  3. Watchman1

    Watchman1 Senior Veteran Supporter

    +9,870
    New Zealand
    Pentecostal
    Married
    An elder led church has definite advantages in that the church is governed by a team of experienced Christians with leadership skills, rather than by one man.

    When it is led by one man, the church suffers his weaknesses as well as being advantaged by his strengths. Another advantage of being led by one man is that the ministry is consistent. This all works well if a man is totally committed to Christ and has a definite call to the pastoral ministry.

    The disadvantage to a one man led church is that if that man develops doctrinal errors, he can move the church in a direction that it may not be appropriate to go. If a man becomes deceived and departs from the true Gospel into something else, then the whole church suffers as a result.

    Having a team of elder Christians governing the church places controls on the pastor. The pastor is an elder himself and therefore is part of the team, but if he goes into error, the other members of the team can correct him.

    But if the pastor is at the top of a leadership pyramid, who is there to correct him when he goes wrong?

    Of course, one of the disadvantages of a committee of elders running the church is that it could get stodgy and if one person has a vision of what God can do, he may be held back by the reluctance of the others if they don't want to step out of their comfort zones.

    I am an elder of a church, and I find comfort being part of a team of senior men in the governance of my church. The Presbyterian church is elder governed by policy

    So there are two ends of the continuum:
    Total Stablility <<==========>>Adventurous Progress

    How far you are along this continuum depends on the type of government you elect, and how your team/person decides to govern the church afterward.
     
  4. Steve_SandbachBaptist_UK

    Steve_SandbachBaptist_UK Well-Known Member

    +44
    Baptist
    Single
    Lord I pray for unity in this church, that the people will not split but will be bound together in Christ. Amen.
     
  5. CJD

    CJD Well-Known Member

    757
    +28
    Non-Denom
    Private

    Well said........Even though I understand and agree with what was said, I wouldn't have been able to put it into words as well.
     
  6. humbleservant86

    humbleservant86 Member

    150
    +12
    Baptist
    Single
    US-Republican
    Wow. I have never known anything about this type of church. We've always just had our pastor!
     
  7. Joykins

    Joykins free Crazy Liz!

    +1,095
    Methodist
    Married
    US-Democrat
    I've been in both kind of churches, though not involved personally in the church government aspect, but my perception is that having ruling elders keeps the pastor more accountable.
     
  8. lucypevensie

    lucypevensie Not drinking the kool-aid Supporter

    +26,443
    Christian
    Married
    I've never been in a church that didn't have elders. My husband is a deacon in our church right now. I wouldn't say that the church is led exclusively by the deacons though. The pastor is the main shepherd of the church. The deacons help him lead and provide accountability and guidance.
     
  9. daveleau

    daveleau In all you do, do it for Christ and w/ Him in mind

    +680
    Christian
    Married
    I have not been in a church that had elders in it in my adult life. This brings up a good point, because the position of the elder is definitely a Scriptural position- one I have rarely thought about since I am young(er?):). If I were in this situation, I would not be as interested in the positives and negatives of elders, since the issues are going to be so diverse and the handling of the position is heavily reliant on the quality (spiritually) of men chosen and the way the church used them. I would be more interested in determining if Scripture tells us that we should have elders.

    Here is a discussion on the role of the elder in Scripture: http://www.freedomsite.net/elders.htm

    I think the best thing the pastor could do is to sit down with each Sunday School class and have small discussions with each group, after telling them what Scripture says about this position. To avoid a split in the church, it might be beneficial to appoint elders with a plan to gradually give them more say in the church.

    Elders are spoken of 65 times in the NT. Deacons are only spoken of 5 times. Granted, many of the times elders are spoken of, they are regarding Jewish traditions carried over from the OT, but there is definitely precedence in the NT for this position.
     
  10. AmericanGirl

    AmericanGirl I love the US Army

    +106
    Baptist
    Married
    US-Republican
    I can't recall ever being in a church that didn't have elders, so I'm afraid I'd give a rather lopsided opinion. I'd pretty much ditto oscarr though. :wave:
     
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