Ryan is the Senior Pastor of Harvest Bible Chapel in Hickory, NC. He is the host of the "In The Room" podcast, and the author of 8 Hours, Or Less: Writing Faithful Sermons Faster.  

3 Types of Elder Meetings

Being a pastor involves a vast number of meetings. Pastoral counseling, church discipline, membership interviews, and meetings with other area pastors all consume a tremendous portion of a pastor's time. In addition to all the meetings already mentioned, the pastoral teams of each local church meet together on a regular basis. Growing up in the Church, I know that not all these meetings are created equal. Many leadership team meetings in the church consist of a group of people, typically chosen for the apparent success in the business world and not according to any clear biblical qualifications, sitting around making decisions, all the while disconnected from the actual shepherding of the church.

Because of the sheer number of necessary meetings and the unhealthy nature of many "leadership team meetings", we've given great attention to our elder meetings. Elders are the leaders of the church, also called pastors, bishops, and overseers in the New Testament (Eph 4:11; 1 Pet 5:2; Acts 20:28). We meet multiple times monthly and work to insure that our meetings add value not only to the individuals present in the meetings, but also the congregation at large that the Lord has entrusted to our care.

After much trial and error, exploring what other churches are doing, and studying the Biblical role of eldership, we've landed on three types of elder meetings that take place each month.

1. Action Meetings

Our Action Meetings are about leading Redemption at large and focus on three spheres - Doctrine, Direction, and Discipline.

- Doctrinally we may deal with any false teaching threatening our people, work toward greater clarity in various theological issues, or discuss how to more Biblically structure our church.

- Directionally we assess the execution of the vision God has given us and work to more effectively implement our ministry strategy.

- In addition, we discuss any areas of church discipline that may be looming and require our attention.

We've designated our Action Meetings as the time we make decisions (through unanimous vote), discuss policy, and love our church through intentional leadership.

2. Shepherding Meetings

Where Action Meetings are about leading the church, Shepherding Meetings are about leading our leaders, in our case, the pastor/elders. We don't vote and we don't make decisions. Shepherding Meetings are an opportunity to look at the hearts and lives of our leaders and challenge, train, and grow together. We discuss personal pursuit of Jesus, marriage, parenting, and the skills necessary to shepherd the people God has entrusted to us.

In our last Shepherding Meeting, for example, we gave great attention to and had fierce conversation around how to best share the gospel with those who don't know Jesus. It stretched, challenged, and blessed each of us personally and will inevitably translate into greater fruit for Redemption at large.

3. Coaching Meetings

Action Meetings are about the church, shepherding meetings are about the team, and coaching meetings are about the individual. I meet regularly (typically monthly) for specific and one-on-one coaching with each of our pastors. We discuss how to apply individually, the things we're discussing corporately. We talk about the pastor's heart and relationship with Jesus, his wife, his kids, and the ministry he is particularly responsible for at Redemption.

These three meetings have been crucial in leading the whole pastor, the whole team, and the whole church and have created a depth of relationship and health that I have not experienced up to this point in ministry.

Your round of meetings may differ from ours, but how are you intentionally leading the leaders of your church in health, faithfulness, and fruitfulness?

 

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