The biblical precedent and principle of plurality in church leadership has underpinned eldership teams as being the primary form of local church government. Almost universally, in independent local churches, eldership has been a voluntary and in most cases part time occupation. Pressures of modern life have led to many local churches seeking one or more full time workers (or a number of paid part time workers) to serve the needs of the church in all areas of ministry. Often this has been done without careful thought as to how a full time, and often salaried worker, should function in the context of an eldership team.
Key issues to think through:-
- Should the full time worker be part of the eldership? If not, what regular access should he or she have to the forum of eldership?
- A full time worker is likely to become the public face and key liaison person of the local church in many forums, especially local community. What should he or she be called? What type and amount of delegated authority should he or she have in daily weekly decision making?
- Who sets, shapes, develops and manages the vision and key strategies of the local church?
- What experience and understanding does the full time worker have of elder-led churches, and in particular of Brethren ethos churches?
The following articles and papers were written to address some of the above matters.