The Eldership.

I was talking to a friend yesterday who asked me for some advice as he is increasingly becoming disillusioned with the whole leadership movement within the church. (Global as well as local) I said Pete, (Not his real name) there is another movement within the global church which is standing up against this and moving towards a every member ministry of the church. I referred to Dave Black’s research and writings, as well as my own observations as an example. 

One of the more dangerous issues I have become increasingly aware of is the territorialism within the church. My ministry! My position! My church! My calling! And this paradigm is led from the top within the framework of senior pastor. Simply put, there is no scriptural example to call anyone a senior or junior pastor. While indeed in the church there are a variety of functions, gifting s, callings and out workings of the Spirit of God through his people, the church elder ship is not called to govern within a political top down seniority framework – rather they are called to govern within a coming alongside equipping the saints to do the work of the ministry framework. 

The current leadership movement in many ways is guilty of creating a tower of babel mentality. By our own efforts we will build a tower which reaches high into the heavens, reaching up to God. Let’s build a big church, get more bums on seats, get more people with the program, center all we do around the buildings and programs and call this “church!”
And the result is that more and more people get burn’t out in the process. Pastors start getting territorial in comparing their so called flock sizes… truthfully guys, they are not our flock, Christ is our shepherd. We all belong to him. 

It’s true that the Apostle Paul called Timothy to establish elders (Note the plural here) in the churches he planted… basically his guidelines was to appoint a group of people whose lives reflected Godliness and wisdom in living. Their task was to look after God’s people by coming along side them and equipping them to live lives of holiness and wisdom in turn. No elder was more senior then the other. I personally like to think of the term “equipping” to be one of facilitating, a term that describes relational discipleship. And within the elder ship team a variety of gifts, talents, callings, out workings would take place in exactly the same way that the same variety of gifts, talents, callings and out workings would take place among those they came alongside.  And hence, we find those with leadership gifts will be among those who pastor – among those who evangelize – among those who teach – among those with apostolic and prophetic callings – among those who heal – among those who speak in tongues – among those who are hospitable – among those who serve – among those who give – among those who intercede – among those who have gifts of administration – among those who…. Blaaahahhhh you get my drift. 🙂 

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About Craig Benno

I'm an average aussie guy who has lived perhaps a not so average life.
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4 Responses to The Eldership.

  1. Dave Black says:

    The kingdom of God is flat. Aren’t you glad?

    Keep writing and making the rest of us think.

    Dave

  2. Craig Benno says:

    Thanks Dave. Appreciate the encouragement… and I like your flat kingdom analogy.

  3. Dave Black says:

    Odd that we can study the attributes of God and yet never discuss His impartiality. God is color-blind, status-blind, wealth-blind, and nation-blind. And that’s just for starters. We can talk about servant-leadership until we are blue in the face but God wants action not talk. Let’s all get off our pedestals and treat each other as true brothers and sisters in the Lord.

  4. Craig Benno says:

    Amen,Amen and Amen! Paul’s argument in Galatians exactly.

    Our men’s group was invited to join in with another church family group last night… Within worldly standards, you never met a more diverse bunch of peeps – many whom have suffered the indignity of being looked down upon as being less then equal in our society. Yet the generosity, fellowship and hospitality as we gathered around a lamb on the spit (and roast veges), sharing the word of God, praying and singing as equals was simply fantastic – and I am sure our heavenly father was looking on us well pleased.

    The ministry I’m involved with has a children Sunday school, school scripture, community BBQ, women and men’s group, cooking group, youth group plus a whole plethora of other stuff we go – interconnected with other ministries. And it is only now, we are discussing and praying just what will a Sunday (or other day) church service look like with each other.

    The truth is, I am truly tired of “doing” church and while I have a long way to go yet – the Lord has been stripping away from me the trappings of traditionalism and showing me / us how to be the church in our community. It can be messy. It’s often awkward. But the true riches of having someone sit with you and share their life story and allowing you to speak / pray hope into those circumstances is simply amazing.

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