Read This First

Click here to read a conversation introducing this section
Tim Curious*: Hi, I’m Tim Curious, and you are …?

Paul Mentor: … Paul, that’s Paul Mentor. Welcome to Biblical Eldership Resources. If you are talking with me, you are at the implementation tab on our website. By the way, how did you learn about BE (Biblical Eldership) Resources?

Tim: Someone sent me a flyer in the mail with this web-address. It reminded me of a book I read a few years ago, called “Biblical Eldership” – can’t remember the author’s name.  My interest piqued, so I got on the site and went through the information there on “What is Biblical Eldership?” And then I saw this tab for how to implement it.

Paul: How may I help you?

Tim: Well, I have a few initial questions. How does this “implementation” tab work?  I imagine you get people from a diverse background culturally and denominationally, all with a different way of doing things?

Paul: You are right about that. You can include, “internationally” as well. Our goal is to get the word out to encourage people and churches to consider a biblical eldership form of church government.  And, believe me, we get people from different doctrinal and theological persuasions checking out our site. So, we are attempting to address this subject in many different contexts.

Tim: That sounds “mentor” intensive.  How many mentors do you have in your group? This could get to be a pretty large ministry.

Paul: It could, but we have designed (and continuously update) this website to anticipate and address many common issues and scenarios that people come to us with. Not every church is the same and not everyone who comes to this site for help is in the same situation.

Tim: Are you focused on one specific denomination?

Paul: No. Biblical Eldership is not a denominational concept—although it will affect groups differently depending on their current leadership structure. Churches from many different denominations have embraced BE, such as independent Bible churches, Baptist churches, Brethren,  Evangelical Free, and others. 

Tim: So back to my original question. How does this “implementation” tab work?

Paul: Well, in order for us to help you, we will first need to assess which of the main transition scenarios best fits you and your church's situation. Then you will have to determine which of the two main plans you would like to take for transitioning your church to BE. These are preliminary issues. After that, you will be able to click through the seven main steps which will guide you and your church through a process of investigating and implementing BE. 

Tim: That seems simple enough.

Paul: Yes, finding your way around our website and this process is easy. But, implementing BE is hard work. If you are committed to BE and making it happen in your church, the work is well worth the effort. Let’s get started. Oh, one other thing…every section is introduced with a fictitious conversation … like you and I are having. This will help set the stage for each section.

Tim: But, you seem real to me, Paul.

Paul: Neither one of us are, but I think many of our readers will find this interaction helpful and hopefully interesting. So, Tim, let’s make these conversations interesting, OK?

Tim: Let’s do it!



Welcome

Welcome to “Implementing Eldership.” This is the part of our website where we will provide suggested guidelines for transitioning your church to biblical eldership (abbreviated “BE”). We praise God for your interest in not just knowing about BE, but also in implementing it into your local church.

Honoring our Lord and His commitment to the local body of Christ in this way can be an exciting as well as a challenging task. If approached with humility, patience and commitment to Scripture, the results will bring glory to the Head of the church, blessing to the congregation, effectiveness to the leadership and fruitfulness to your outreach efforts.

A Change of Significant Magnitude

Modifying a church’s governmental and shepherding model involves a variety of significant challenges. Here are some of them:

  • holding faithful to God’s Word
  • maintaining unity in the body
  • acting in love and grace
  • communicating clearly and carefully
  • managing the change process

Change Agent

Every change needs a “change agent,” someone to get the ball rolling, to be the catalyst in getting the process moving. In the case of the church, that agent is first and foremost the Holy Spirit. But, the Spirit often uses human instruments to bring about His work. Any effort you put into this must be in line with his leading,

“Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit” (Gal 5:25 NIV).

The “Implementation” process we are presenting here assumes that you, the reader, are the human change agent, at least initially. If you do not have a good grasp on biblical eldership, we encourage you to first go to our “What is Biblical Eldership?” tab and fully study the scriptural teaching on this subject.

Further, we encourage you early in this process to find others of like mind to join you as co-catalysts. This will help reduce the focus on one human leader and foster the idea of the Holy Spirit working through a plurality of leaders.

The Value of Wise Counsel

Some churches have navigated the transition to BE with no outside help and have been successful. Others have failed, suffering from unnecessary and avoidable mistakes. We offer seasoned insights and a process for you to use and adapt as the Lord guides. This is not intended to be a cookie-cutter approach that results in churches looking identical, but rather it is a working outline, simply a tool to help you align your church more closely with the biblical pattern of church leadership. You can adapt it to your unique context.

In some cases, where appropriate, we can provide personal consultation and teaching, or simply some “outsider” feedback that can help you address particularly difficult situations.

“Without consultation, plans are frustrated, but with many counselors they succeed.” (Prov 15:22)

The BE core team, the group behind BE Resources, represents over 100 years of eldership and leadership experience, has written and taught extensively on the subject of BE and has been involved in training and consulting with elders in many churches internationally, as well as in many different contexts. Additionally, we network with churches and groups that have gone through the implementation process, drawing on a wide spectrum of experience-based counsel. This material you are reading represents what we consider the best advice, strategies and resources for helping you implement BE in your church. We plan to update it as we continue to grow and gather information and insights from churches that have gone through the process.

Helps and Pointers

At every step of the way we will provide helpful ideas for dealing with the challenges you will undoubtedly encounter. Resistance to change, as most leaders know from experience, comes with the territory. It’s like turning an elephant—very hard to do if the elephant doesn’t want to turn. We will provide some insights and suggestions for managing the change and for helping the congregation understand and embrace BE as a welcome transformation for the church.

How Long Will This Process Take?

Experience shows that transitions need time in order to be done well. You can expect the process to take at least nine months, but it could take up to two years or longer, depending on the readiness of the church. Progress at your own pace according to the needs of your church’s unique situation.

Getting the Most Out of This Material

This “Implementation” material is intended to be self-serve, that is, you can use what we present, modify it, adapt it for your use—all at your own pace. But, in order to get the maximum benefit, here are some suggestions to help you gain maximum benefit:

  • Pray fervently at every step of the process, for as Scripture states, “The effective prayer of a righteous man can accomplish much” (James 5:16b).
  • Follow the steps in order, as each one builds upon the previous one. At times we may suggest alternative paths to take. Of course, you may adapt any of this material as you see fit for you particular situation.
  • We provide worksheets (downloadable) that will help you work through the various topics and ideas. We strongly encourage you to take advantage of these. They include extra articles, charts, guides and check lists that will aid you in working through the various steps. Where there are discussion questions, use these as “mental crowbars” to help you wrestle with the material.
  • Discuss each step with other leaders in the church. This provides opportunity for “iron sharpening iron.”
  • For those wishing more depth or breadth, or to fill in any gaps, consider the additional selected readings provided throughout.
  • Much of the material may be downloaded—look for the printer symbol (show graphic here). For copyright information on downloading articles and materials, see our copyright button at the bottom of each page.
  • Please give us your feedback, corrections of typos and mistakes, and most of all your insights and suggestions. As you go through the process of implementing BE, send us your reactions, responses and ideas—we would like to add the wisdom you gain to our pool of experience and knowledge, which we can in turn share with others. Click on Contact Us.
  • If you desire, we can provide a BE mentor who can help you track your progress and provide objective, outsider feedback and consultation. See our “About Us” or Contact Us.

We pray the Lord will guide you in this wonderful process of helping your church transition to biblical eldership. Our desire is that you will …

“… grow up in all aspects into Him who is the head, even Christ, from whom the whole body, being fitted and held together by what every joint supplies, according to the proper working of each individual part, causes the growth of the body for the building up of itself in love” (Eph 4:15-16).

Next:

For your next step, navigate to “Identify Your Scenario”. There you will determine which of various scenarios you and your church fit into. By doing this, you will help us guide you to the right information in the right sequence, in order to maximize the benefit to you. So, go ahead and get started!

*”Tim Curious” and “Paul Mentor” are  fictitious character created for this dialogue. Any resemblance to any conversations or anyone connected with Biblical Eldership Resources are purely co-incidental.

2 thoughts on “Read This First

  1. The biggest problem we have in our local church has to do with the reality that several of us, the Elders, have full-time jobs. In my view, we can allocate too little time to the tasks of Eldership.
    Historically, this has been the situation for over 60 years. The church budget is not organised to support paid leadership. How do you advise?

  2. Brendan, I can see that as being a big problem, a mindset orientation. Secularly employed elders, especially if they have younger children living at home, have limited time. That is one of the reasons plurality is so important, so that the shepherding load is shared and burdened down on one man’s shoulders. However, even in our busy, face-paced times, much shepherding can be missed still.

    My recommendation would be to begin with education. Teach what true eldership is, not just sitting on a decision making committed but shepherding God’s people. Our excellent series “Restoring Biblical Eldership” is a 9-part (15 minutes each) video series that could help toward this end (see link:http://biblicaleldership.com/what-biblical-eldership-0/restoring-biblical-eldership/. As the congregation (and existing eldership) grows in their understanding of eldership, there may be an increasing openness to a full-time elder and giving priority in the church’s financial resources toward supporting the man. As the church grows because of more effective shepherding (this is where the faith comes in), then the church’s income will presumably grow as well.

    I hope this helps. If you like further interaction on this, contact me at admin@biblicaleldership.com.
    Blessings, Chuck

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