Churches should have a plurality of elders for their health and well-being. And now that I am pastoring a church, I have personally experienced the blessings of serving with fellow elders. I was also mentored for ministry in a church with a plurality of elders where I closely witnessed the advantage of having a pastoral team.
God has revealed in His Word how we are to govern His church, and from God’s Word we recognize two offices which He has given to lead His church: pastors (also called overseers and elders) and deacons. We also see that pastors are not to serve alone, but in a plurality of elders. After all, every time that local church leadership is mentioned in the New Testament, we read that there are elders (plural) at a church (singular), see Acts 11:30, 14:23, 20:17 and 28, Phil 1:1, 1 Tim 5:17, Tit 1:5, Jam 5:14, 1 Pet 5:1-2.
With this in mind, churches should have a plurality of elders for their health and well-being. And now that I am pastoring a church, I have personally experienced the blessings of serving with fellow elders. I was also mentored for ministry in a church with a plurality of elders where I closely witnessed the advantage of having a pastoral team. Here are some of the practical benefits that I have found when a church is led by a plurality of elders:
Elders Provide Wise Counsel
Church leadership requires making a lot of leadership decisions. From choosing our next sermon series to what is taught in Sunday School, from choosing what ministries that our church will have to how to carry out these various ministries, from choosing what counseling advice to give to operating under our church budget, thousands of decisions are required. If truth be told, I am not an expert in all of these areas, I do not always have a lot of experience, and I likely will not have knowledge of all of the options that go into making a good decision.
Hearing other perspectives and receiving the thoughts and advice of my fellow elders is incredibly valuable to making wise decisions. By the end of fruitful discussion, I have come to see why a promising idea that I had should not be implemented. When we engage in brainstorming together, I am amazed to see how many good ideas come up and are refined through our discussion. As I am counseling a member through a difficult struggle or situation, the insight that I have received has been tremendously helpful to provide hope and spiritual growth to the one who has asked for help. No wonder we read of the benefit of an abundance of counselors in Proverbs!
Elders Share Ministry Burden
Additionally, biblical and faithful shepherding of a local church requires far more than what one man can do on his own. When I consider all that Scripture calls me to do as a pastor, I immediately recognize how much help I am going to need to carry out the spiritual soul care that is needed among the flock of God. At the same time, with elders working with me, I am often amazed at what we can do together.