Plurality in leadership??

Discussion in '2003 Archive' started by Pastor_Bob, Aug 11, 2003.

  1. Pastor_Bob

    Pastor_Bob
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    The following question and the resulting answer were recently brought to my attention. Not having studied this in depth yet, I am curious if any of you have dealt with this issue?

    Question: Based upon New Testament Pattern, shouldn't church leadership be a plurality of elders who are equals rather than one Pastor calling the shots? I'm basing this on the first church at Jerusalem and the others since in the New Testament. Those churches seemed to have a plurality of leadership. (Submitted by: G. D.)

    Answer: Yes, you are correct. There should be a plurality of elders in God's church. Sadly, most professing Christians are indoctrinated in the hierarchical system, started by the Catholic church. It is assumed to be the way Christ intended. As usual, something assumed is believed in faith without really proving it from the Scriptures.
     
  2. Mark Osgatharp

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    PastorBob,

    I agree 100%. I serve with another man in the church where I pastor. Neither of us is considered an "assistant" to the other.

    Mark Osgatharp
     
  3. Artimaeus

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    Plurality is scriptural, I agree 100% also. Mark, it would seem to possibly present a problem for an even number of pastors in the rare event that there would be a disagreement when a decision needs to be made.
     
  4. Bob Farnaby

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    Would totally agree, plurarity of elders is the scriptural way. We loose too much in focussing on one man as the church leader. God gives churches people with the gifts they need to serve Him in the church, so all can be part of His witnesss and service.

    In no way does this despise or denegrate the use of those given the pastoral and teaching gifts. Study and support is justified within the proper context of the church. And it does expect that all in the leadership positions have the proper humility to lead and serve.


    Regards
    Bob
     
  5. Matt Black

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    Definitely -plurality, with the pastor(s) being primus inter pares at strongest.Our church's leadership consists of the elders and deacons plus the minister.

    Yours in Christ

    Matt
     
  6. Pastor Larry

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    There is simply not enough information in teh NT to demand a plurality of elders. The nature of leadership rather leads us to the conclusion that a lead pastor or senior pastor is the most biblical form of NT church government. To insist on a plurality of elders is to insist on something that the NT does not clearly teach or demand.
     
  7. Artimaeus

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    Being "first among equals" is an oxymoron. It is like saying that the management "team" in a company is a plurality of leadership. This just isn't true. The vice president in charge of paperclips is not equal to the CEO. If you have someone who is "THE" pastor then you DON'T have a plurality of elders. It really doesn't make any difference if you call them pastors, or elders, or bishops, or overseers.
     
  8. Matt Black

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    I said "at strongest". Sometimes it will be necessary for the minister to exert strong leadership and have the'casting vote', particularly where you have a divided eldership.

    Yours in Christ

    Matt
     
  9. Pastor Larry

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    Which in and of itself shows two problems. First, everyone that I have heard talk about plural eldership means that all elders have to agree before a direction is taken. Second, in the case of a plural eldership divided, you indicate the reality of single leadership. Plural eldership works great in theory. It never works in practice. In every single plural elder church that I know of, there is one guy who is "the guy" and everyone knows it ...
     
  10. Artimaeus

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    Matt, I see your point but mine is that no matter how close the "seconds" among eqauls are they are still second and not equal.
     
  11. Gunther

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    Larry, there is more about eldership than there is about baptism and the lord's supper combined.
     
  12. Pastor Larry

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    So??
     
  13. Gunther

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    Does the bible clearly teach and demand proper baptism and the Lord's supper?
     
  14. Pastor Larry

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    Does the bible clearly teach and demand proper baptism and the Lord's supper? </font>[/QUOTE]Yes ... but that's off topic for this thread.
     
  15. Gunther

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    No it isn't. Eldership is so clear in the N.T. that one would have to stumble over many texts to avoid it.

    You say it isn't clear. I say there is more about it than other issues that we would both say are crystal clear. How can this issue not be clear?

    Part of the problem is when churches have deacons in leadership positions.
     
  16. Pastor Larry

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    I never disputed the teaching of eldership in the Bible. I in fact affirm it. Read again what I said above. It was something entirely different.

    This is certainly true.
     
  17. Deacon

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    Gunther posts:
    1 Timothy lists the requirements of a deacon and those of the elder. The list is very similar. Some have concluded that the position of deacon may be a stepingstone to that of an elder. How does one grow into the eldership role without experence and guidance.

    IMHO, a deacon may hold leadership positions and leadership responsibilities but those responsibilities are subserviant to the elders who task the responsiblities to those qualified deacons.

    I believe it has been said before;, "There is an equality among elders in a church, but some are more equal than others." Every team has a leader. Frequently the preaching elder holds the "Senior Pastor" role. The church where I attend uses the title "Pastoral team leader".

    Rob
     
  18. Mark Osgatharp

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    Part of the problem with people accepting the idea of plural eldership lies in a misunderstanding of the nature of the ministry. When we understand that the only objective is to get the will of Christ done, the personal quarrels disappear.

    The work of pastors is one - to teach the people the word of God and lead them to do what it says. As long as pastors are doing this and nothing more, there will be few decisions to be made and thus little conflict in the ministry.

    We have had two pastors for about two years and about the only decisions we have to make is who gets to preach when and when to initiate matters of church discipline. So far we have been able to work these matters out with no conflict.

    Matters of a carnal nature - such as building and grounds work - are decided by the congregation. Outside of giving my opinion, I involve myself in these matters as little as possible and try to stay focused on the real issue - ministering the words of Christ to the people.

    Mark Osgatharp
     
  19. gb93433

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    I would take a little different position. From Acts 20 and others we see that Paul is the primary leader who mentored other church planters and pastors. I cannot think of any case where a pastor did not reproduce himslef in the lives of others. It has been my experience that very few men even have a clue how to mentor others and reproduce themselves in the lives of others. The first qualification for leadership is that the man is already leading. Leaders lead not just want to lead somehow. Leaders don't stand around and discuss, they are doers.

    When we look at the NT, for example, the church at Ephesus was made up of several churches in the area. Each was pastored by a leader who sought to reproduce himself in the lives of others. Elders are the same as pastors. I have seen hundreds of elders who do not lead and have never led in spiritual reproduction. Just because we call them elder means nothing if they are not truly a spiritual reproducer. Just because a man is nice and prays and teaches a Sunday School class soes not mean he is an elder. Just because he has "been a Christian" for over 30 years means nothing if he is not leading. The best way to tell a leader is in his fruit. Apple trees produce apples. Elders produce fruit that is consistent with spiritual reproduction.

    Sometime just ask some men who you know who are elders if God has called them. Then ask them for the proof of God's call. Ask them if they would be wiling to live by the same standard of living as their pastor. Elders/pastors do not just make decisions. They live out their faith and provide and example of spiritual reproduction.

    Elders pastor other pastors. I see no three tiered system in the NT. I do see mentoring but all are called by God.

    BUt let me ask this question, "If God has called them then why are they not pastoring?"

    I would equate pastors and elders. In every group there is always a leader appointed or mot. The leader is the one the others look to for leadership.

    Elders/pastors are God called distinguished leaders of exemplary fortitude and example. Thre are too many good men who are called elders but are not leading others.

    It works. I have seen it first-hand. What a tremendous blessing to work with men who are leading others to Christ and discipling them.
     
  20. Pastor_Bob

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    Everytime you see the word "elder" in the NT, it is not referring to an office in the church. Jesus used the the word "presbuteros" long before He ever established the church.

    In Acts 2:17, the word "presbuteros" is translated "old men." In I Timothy 5:2, the word presbuteros" is translated "elder women." The very meaning of this Greek word does not denote authority or leadership. I Timothy 5:17 is one of the very few passages that even suggest that elders rule in the local church.

    On the other hand, the word "pastors" in the NT is the Greek word "poimen." It denotes leadership such as a shepherd would lead his sheep.

    Rev 1:20 The mystery of the seven stars which thou sawest in my right hand, and the seven golden candlesticks. The seven stars are the ANGELS OF THE SEVEN CHURCHES: and the seven candlesticks which thou sawest are the seven churches. (KJV)

    Rev 2:1 Unto the angel (SINGULAR) of the church (SINGULAR)of Ephesus write; These things saith he that holdeth the seven stars in his right hand, who walketh in the midst of the seven golden candlesticks;
    (KJV)

    Rev 2:8 And unto the angel of the church in Smyrna write; These things saith the first and the last, which was dead, and is alive; (KJV)

    Rev 2:12 And to the angel of the church in Pergamos write; These things saith he which hath the sharp sword with two edges; (KJV)

    See also 2:18, 3:1, 3:7, 3:14

    The word "angel," used by Jesus Himself, means "a messenger or a Pastor." Jesus sent His message to these local, visible churches through THE PASTOR, not the leadership of the church.

    I am not saying that I believe the pastor is above anyone else regarding their favor with God or in their access to God. But God does place men in these positions as His ordained authority in the church.
     

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