The mission of Elders’ ShopNotes is to provide encouragement and practical teaching for elders who seek to shepherd God’s flock in the local church.
Many elders work responsible fulltime jobs, have families and are involved in various ministries. In addition, some have been thrust into the role of elder with little or no training. The busy elder has precious little time for self-study and further training. Much of the practical teaching for pastoral leadership is contained in resources that are directed toward “The Pastor” of a traditional church, so is limited in its applicability to working elders.
1. Provide “bite-size” teaching readily digestible for the working elder whose time is ever at a premium.
2. Provide helpful how-to’s that are practical for shepherding the congregation.
3. Provide basic biblical leadership principles.
4. Provide teaching for how elders’ wives can be a support to their husbands.
This ministry is targeted at secularly employed elders who desire to become effective shepherds of God’s flock. Both this web page and the corresponding ministry letter promote biblical eldership without taking sides on controversial issues. We desire to encourage and build up elders, not to persuade them of a particular slant on issues. Invariably there will be implications made related to certain interpretations, but the primary thrust will be to edify, not to argue.
We believe the scriptures present a plurality of elders as the norm for church government. The general tenor of the pastoral teaching in scripture and the record of the beginning of the early church in scripture supports this conclusion. While there may be some who give their time vocationally to pastoral work, we believe the elders should share in the responsibility of the ministry. They are not just “board” elders, but should be pastoral or shepherding elders.
There are times when plurality may not be possible, for example in the case of a new church plant or initial missionary work. Also, there may be times due to spiritual difficulties when a lack of qualified men may result in only one elder. But, in all cases, movement should be towards plurality for a healthy church. This is assumed in the ministry of ESN.
We recognize that some will disagree with this approach (as God’s people, we do tend to disagree at times). We accept this and recognize that our efforts here will not meet the need of nor satisfy everyone. It is the local church’s responsibility to determine their beliefs and interpretations on these matters and we respect that. Our goal is simply to come along side and provide help.
How Did This Begin?
This ministry is the outgrowth of a series of biblical eldership seminars that were conducted over a period of years in various places. While the seminars provided solid biblical teaching, many elders expressed a need for practical training on the “how to’s”. For example, how to visit someone who is sick, how to conduct a funeral, etc.
The result was a bi-monthly newsletter. This met with good acceptance and many requested a web site as a means of disseminating these helps.