Category Archives: Elder

Do’s and Don’t for a New Pastor

Must reading for every new pastor coming into an established church.

Do’s and Don’ts on
Leading Change
Relating to other leaders
Member Care
General Counsel

This article deserves higher prominence than it has!


Marriage, Divorce, and Remarriage

Boy does this subject come up a lot!

Justin Taylor summarizes Jay Adams book here.

Print down, discuss the whole thing.

Court of Elders

I have long thought that 1 Cor 6 argues for having the elders functions as a “court” to decide matters. Here is the first hint I have had that DA Carson and baptistic ecclesiology could support it.

He answers this question: To handle certain categories of
divorce and remarriage cases within the
congregation, some churches have established a kind of “ecclesiastical court.”
What biblical warrant, if any, exists for
this practice?

Piper on Wife Abuse

Good and Bad Gossip

Quick Post on “Good” and Bad Gossip

Bad gossip –  talking to someone who is not part of the problem or solution about an issue or a person. Not even to “pray” about it. Gossip is saying things in private you would not say in public. Flattery is saying things in public you would not say in private. – (Not original with me, can’t remember where I saw it.)

“Good” gossip – I am using the term loosely to describe the Biblical command to talk to spiritual authorities about issues in the body. In 1 Corinthians 1:11 Paul says that some from Chloe’s household have, in addition to delivering a letter asking questions, have also reported problems in the church. They reported real spiritual problems to real spiritual authorities.

Church members need to be encouraged to talk with those in authority when they have a concern. We cannot operate on a Dont Ask Dont Tell policy.

Biblical Confidentiality – In addition, the church needs to be instructed about biblical confidentiality. Some have sought to manipulate others by saying, “I am going to tell you something but you have to promise not to tell.”

The biblical response is “I cannot make that promise. I can promise you biblical confidentiality. I am not going to run out and tell others. But I cannot not nor should not promise absolute confidentiality.” (Seem Matthew 18:15ff, 1 Corinthians 5:1ff). If this is a manipulative situation, you might even need to add, “And you should not ever ask this of anyone. It is wrong.”

Our people need to be clear that we do not needlessly pass on information. BUT we do bring in spiritual authorities as warranted. Pastors are not just church event coordinators. They are real shepherds of God’s flock.

Don’t Neglect Your Gift

Devotional written ten years ago!
Do not neglect the spiritual gift within you. 1 Timothy 4:14

One of the temptations we as elders face is to neglect our own spiritual gifts. We have been placed in positions of authority because we are faithful and reliable. Because of that faithfulness we will ask, “What are the current needs of the church?” “What can I do to build up the church?” We should do this. We are looking after Jesus’ interests when it may seem as if no one else is. But in this process of worrying about the whole, we can neglect our own unique gifting.

It seems that Timothy faced this. Paul was giving him many instructions to carry out in Ephesus. These issues needed to be addressed to build up the church. Timothy was to deal with false teachers (Chapter 1), correct some problems in worship (Chapter 2), ensure that good men were being placed as officers (Chapter 3) and make sure widows were being taken care of (Chapter 5) just to name some of the major themes. As elders, we can certainly relate to similar to do lists for our church.

But often in this outward focus to build up the church we neglect the inward focus of using our specific giftedness. So in the latter part of Chapter 4 Paul gives Timothy specific instructions having to do with him personally. One of those instructions is not to neglect his gifting. In other words, in the midst of carrying out some duties he has as an apostolic representative, he is to continue to develop and use his own gift.

As elder It is difficult to keep this balance. We are in this position because we are wiling to care for the whole church. One of the best ways we can build up the church is to grow in our particular gifting. I remember the advise given to me when I was taking some time for evaluation. This man of God said to me, “Since your gift is teaching, you ought to love people by teaching them.” Really this is another way of saying, “Do not neglect the spiritual gift within you.”

A church is not a franchise, where each location looks the same. A church is a collection of uniquely gifted and burdened people. As a result, churches are as different as the people who make them up. Churches are strong in one area because they have people that are strong in that area.

One of the biggest causes of elder dropout is weariness and discouragement. One contributor to this weariness can be working on the tasks before us with no regard to our gifts. If we are going to be in this for the long haul, we will need to balance these “duties” with activities that are within our giftedness and passion. The more we passionately exercise our gift, the more the church will be built up.

How to Announce Major Changes

Michael Hyatt suggest different ways to make major changes without a backlash.

1. Determine what you need to communicate.

2. Commit the message to writing.

3. Secure alignment with your leadership team.

4. Contact influential stakeholders personally.

5. Use all available media outlets.

6. Make yourself available to talk.

Over the years, I think I have learned some of these by making the mistakes. But he helps make them clear in list form.