PASTORAL LEADERSHIP AND THE PLURALITY OF ELDERS
Jansen E. Hartman, Pastor
Grace Bible Fellowship Church, Reading, PA
Areas to be considered: The administration of the church by effective pastoral leadership and the ruling of the church by elders who vary in many ways; gifts, age, experience, temperament and background.
The aim will be to work together to fulfill the God given responsibility being like-minded, having the same love, being of one accord and of one mind. (Phi1.2:2)
Preliminary considerations and assumptions.
1. The Lord Jesus has a strategy and a plan for the development of the church. "I will build my church" - (Matthew 16:18)
2. The oversight of the church is delegated by our Lord to those who serve as His representatives.
3. The principles and guidelines for the oversight of the church are given in the Scriptures.
4. The problems in the church are mainly spiritual problems. This factor places the emphasis on a complete relationship with Jesus Christ the Head of the church. These problems can be met and solved by the following:
A. Knowing and understanding the will of the Lord respecting the role and functioning of the particular church.
B. Dedication and holiness of life.
C. Faithfulness to assigned responsibilities
D. Love for fellow believers and for all men
E. Open communication between elders and the Lord through prayer and receptivity to the Holy Spirit's leading.
F. God given wisdom that enables the elders to meet every situation.
I. PASTORS AND ELDERS ARE CALLED BY GOD TO OVERSEE THE CHURCH
"The Holy Spirit hath made you overseers" (Acts 20:28; Hebrews 5:4)
A. By inward persuasion and conviction
B. By external confirmation by fruit and recognition by other spiritual believers.
II. PETER'S EXHORTATION TO ELDERS
1 Peter 5:1-5
A. Peter's qualifications to exhort (1)
B. The assignment - Be a Shepherd - "Feed the flock of God.” Do the work of the total care of the church (2)
1) Service freely given.
"taking the oversight thereof, not by constraint, but willingly." (2) some texts add "according to God"
2) Unselfish Service
"Not for filthy lucre, but of a ready mind" (2)
3) Leading by example
"Neither being lords over God's heritage, but being examples to the flock."(3)
C. The Reward (4)
D. The Key to interpersonal relationships (5)
1) Younger submit yourselves unto the elders
2) Be subject one to another
3) Be clothed with humility
4) Receiving God's grace
APPLICATION OF PRINCIPLES
I. Do the work of the total care of the church
A. Know thoroughly the following
1) Faith and Order.
2) Your church's by-laws, traditions, practices.
3) Parliamentary procedures.
B. Employ efficient procedures
1) Proper minutes - promptly distributed.
2) Agenda - distributed before meeting.
3) Reports - distributed.
4) Proposals in writing.
5) Follow sunlight principle
C. Service Freely Given
1) Assume responsibility
2) Carry out committee assignments
3) set no price for your service
D. Serve Unselfishly
1) Be objective in considering issues
2) Follow principle over personality
3) Scriptures above tradition
4) Recognize gifts of others
E. Lead by Example
1) Each one including the Pastor is servant to the others
2) Do your homework in providing reasons for position proposed
3) Lead by doing
II. Maintain Unity by being in Good Terms with Other Elders.
A. Recognize God's Chain of Commands
1) To Pastor
2) To Officers with designated authority
3) Younger submissive to older
B. Be subject to One Another
1) Accept the ruling of the body of Elders
2) Realize in many areas we all know less than others
3) Maintain a continuous evaluation of program and activities
III. Be Clothed With Humility
A. Perfection is a quality none of us possess
B. We serve as brother to brother
C. We are successful only by the Grace of God