Over the past decade I’ve engaged a wide-range of Christians on the subject of elders. Some, in desperation, want to change dysfunctional church leadership structures. Others have grown tired of side-stepping the biblical teaching on elders. Some long to adopt elder leadership yet realize many of their congregants would resist change. A mission leader told me that elder plurality was a major issue in his region; nationals, unfamiliar with traditions and arguments against elder plurality, saw it in Scripture and wanted to obey. Christ gave elder leadership to the church for its growth, development, and unity. Yet tradition often tugs …
Dr. Phil Newton is senior minister of South Woods Baptist Church in Memphis, Tennessee, and is author of Elders in Congregational Life.