by Wally Rendel
One of the ways to create harmony among the elders and minister is to make your preacher an elder. It’s that simple. If he is scripturally qualified, the elders can simply appoint him as a fellow elder in the church. This makes him a vital part of the team, especially as a “bridge” between the elders and staff. It is scriptural for the minister to serve as an elder, though not all churches do so. See 1 Timothy 5:17: “The elders who rule well are to be considered worthy of double honor, especially those who work hard at preaching and teaching” (NASB, emphasis added). This way, the elder leadership team speaks with one voice. Jack Coffee served as chairman of the elders at Southeast CC, Louisville, KY, for a number of years, and he addresses this issue specifically in his excellent book Elders: A Practical Guide to New Testament Leadership. I would suggest your elders study their way through his book.
Not only did Paul, in his first letter to Timothy, directly say that elders “preach and teach,” but we also see a great example of a preaching elder in Peter. In Acts 2, Peter delivered the very first sermon of the Church to the Pentecost crowd in Jerusalem. When he wrote his first letter, he challenged his readers: “Therefore, I exhort you, as your fellow elder and witness of the sufferings of Christ, and a partaker also of the glory that is to be revealed, shepherd the flock…” (1 Pet. 5:1-2, NASB, emphasis added).
Peter was both preacher and elder. Paul told us to honor elders who preach.
Assuming he’s qualified scripturally, bring even greater harmony to your church’s leadership by making your preacher an elder.
It’s that simple.