Elders in Congregational Life

Elders in Congregational Life : Rediscovering the Biblical Model for Church Leadership

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A definitive and biblical answer to the current debate in many churches over the use of biblical offices in autonomous congregations. Many evangelical churches place high value on their autonomy as local congregations with the freedom to govern themselves. Ideally this means each member participates in decisionmaking, but in reality pure congregationalism is unwieldy, subject to conflicts on the one hand and inertia on the other. Pastors often solve the problem by absorbing more and more authority for themselves. Neither approach is biblical. A biblically functioning church requires much more than skillful organization and clever techniques. It calls for intentional devotion to the New Testament model of the church, and church leadership stands at the heart of the model. In this practical book, experienced pastor Phil Newton explains the necessity of elder plurality and how it functions in a congregational setting. He then calls for churches to raise the standards of church leadership. Newton demonstrates the history of elder plurality in Baptist life, expounds three biblical texts to shed light on the New Testament model for spiritual leaders, and provides answers to commonly asked questions. "A valuable contribution not only on the subject of eldership, but concerning biblical leadership. The young pastor or anyone grappling with leadership issues will benefit not only from the teaching of the book, but also from the appendices filled with carefully developed materials." --David L. Olford
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Product details

  • Paperback | 176 pages
  • 141 x 216 x 10mm | 213g
  • Grand Rapids, United States
  • English
  • 0825433312
  • 9780825433313
  • 790,485

Back cover copy

Self-government and autonomy are long-standing cherished traditions of most evangelical churches. Ideally this means each member participates in decision making, but in reality pure congregationalism is unwieldy and unworkable. Pastors try to solve the problem by assuming more and more of the authority themselves. Neither approach is biblical. A biblically functioning church requires intentional devotion to the New Testament model of church leadership. In this practical book, experienced pastor Phil Newton examines this biblical model of leadership by explaining the necessity of elder plurality and how it functions in a congregational setting. Newton demonstrates the history of elder plurality from personal experience in Baptist life, expounds three biblical texts to shed light on the New Testament model for spiritual leaders, and provides answers to commonly asked questions. "A valuable contribution not only on the subject of eldership, but concerning biblical leadership." --David L. Olford
President, Olford Ministries International "You can tell by the wealth of information in these chapters that Phil has lived through the process, and he's willing to share his own experiences--good and bad--in order to help us have even better experiences in our churches." --Pastor Mark Dever
From the foreword Phil A. Newton (D.Min., Fuller Theological Seminary) is a senior pastor at South Woods Baptist Church in Memphis, Tenn., where he has been since 1987. In ministry for more than thirty years, he also has served as an adjunct professor at several schools, and is regularly involved in leading international mission teams. Phil and his wife, Karen, live in Germantown, Tenn.
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Rating details

72 ratings
4.01 out of 5 stars
5 31% (22)
4 44% (32)
3 22% (16)
2 1% (1)
1 1% (1)
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