- Click here to read a conversation introducing this section
Tim Member: Well, I’m convinced that Biblical Eldership is God’s way for church leadership, and so are a few others in the congregation—we’ve been reading up on it and talking about it a lot. How can we convince the board and the pastor that this is the way to go? Should we get people to sign a petition? What’s the best way to go about this?Paul Mentor: Great questions, Tim. First off, I’d urge you to put unity at the top of or your priority list. As important as biblical eldership is, it is not a good trade-off, if the cost of pursuing it destroys the church. Many fine pastor-led churches accomplish great things for the Lord. BE is not one of the fundamentals of the faith.Tim: Thanks, that’s a good reminder. I guess I have been studying this subject for so long now, I’ve gotten a bit out of balance. Having said that, I still think pursuing BE is what God would have for our church.Paul: Your outward show of commitment to the unity of the church coupled with your love for God’s people will communicate volumes to those you are trying to influence toward BE.Tim: I sure hope so.Paul: Another thing that is important is to demonstrate your submissive attitude. Remember that Hebrews 13:17-18 tells us to “obey your leaders and submit to them, for they keep watch over your souls as those who will give an account.” It goes on to say, “Let them do this with joy and not with grief, for this would be unprofitable for you.”Tim: So are you saying that a submissive attitude is strategic and profitable and, in this case, will give us a fair hearing with the leadership?Paul: You read my mind. I think that is a reasonable application of the passage. Now, I need a bit more background. Have you talked with the pastor or any of the board members about BE yet?Tim: I did bring it up with the pastor once, but he dismissed it as unbiblical.Paul: That’s not all together an uncommon first reaction, but there are some things that can help you approach the pastor and the board about this.Tim: Well, I’m all ears, I can use some help.Paul: Glad you are open for some input. The first step is for you to examine your motive. Let's go on …
If you are reading this, then you are a member of the congregation and not on the ruling board or a pastor. There are some unique challenges in pursuing BE—namely, attempting to influence the pastor and/or the board without giving the impression that you are critical of them. That’s why it is necessary to demonstrate in your actions and your words that you are supportive of them and their efforts. There can be no success if they feel attacked or criticized in the process of your efforts.
The place to begin is to examine your motivations, to discern not only the obvious ones, but also the “hidden things of the heart.” It is the not-so obvious ones that can trip you up. After that we will introduce to you some helps for seeding the leadership of your church with the BE concept.
So continue on to the next section, “Member’s Motivation” where you will step through a few preliminary things.