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Question About Elders: How Fast?

February 24, 2010

You hear this question a lot at pastors’ conferences, possibly during the panel discussions: “How fast should I transition my church into being elder-lead (or governed)?”  Whether you are planting a church or just hired at an established one, the usual answer is, “take it slow.”  It seems that, in most cases, this is wise council.

However, Elliot Grudem (at the Acts 29 Blog), when reflecting on his church replant tells us about an interesting exchange he had with his dad (Wayne Grudem) about appointing elders at his church.  I think its a helpful reflection:

A couple of years into my church replant I was talking to my father about the state of the church. (My father, Wayne Grudem, is a seminary professor who has trained pastors and scholars for Christ’s Church the majority of his life). He asked me when the church was going to get elders.

“I don’t know,” I responded. “It’s going to take some time.”

“I don’t think it took Paul that long,” my dad replied.

“I’m not Paul.”

“I don’t think it took Timothy or Titus that long either,” he said.

His encouragement reminded me of similar encouragement I received from church planter and long-time Pastor Steve Smallman who helped me navigate my first year at the church. He reminded me that God designed the church to be led by elders. Part of establishing elders in the church I served involved trusting that God had given my church qualified elders.

You should read the whole thing.

2 Comments leave one →
  1. February 25, 2010 3:14 pm

    I enjoyed your article and thought this video on the plurality of elders might help your readers.

    Grace EV Free is introducing a new video series from our Elders called, “Why We Love.” This new series will give you an inside look at our Grace values and ministries in a interactive discussion style format lead by our elders. These videos will include elder discussions on worship, prayer, the priesthood of all believers, preaching, the local church and more. The first video of this series is now online, and takes on the concept of plurality of elders in church leadership based on 1 Peter 5:1-2; Acts 20:28; and 1 Tim 5:17-18.

    You can see the video by visiting our web page at

    Enjoy the new videos and tell your friends!

    • John Starke permalink*
      February 25, 2010 3:28 pm

      Hey Brian,
      Thanks for the link. I see that Erik Thoennes is one of your elders. I met Dr. Thoennes at ETS last year. I used to be on staff at CBMW, where he is a council member. He’s great!

      Thanks again.

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