One of the things I enjoy most about my job is discovering men whom God has called into ministry and developing them into godly shepherds and missional leaders. Currently, we are training three elder candidates and two church planting residents. What a privilege! As we develop elders, we don’t look for strong business or cultural leaders and them knight them for church leadership. Rather, we look for men who are already shepherding others through missional communities and invite them to join an elder development process (See Diagram). Some of these men are strong business leaders and some are not. We want eldering men for our elder candidates.
Elder Development Process
The Elder Development Process begins with inquiry and aspiration and ends in assessment and appointment. Here is an Overview of our Elder Process. Once the candidates have been approved for training, we begin the phase of Preparation. In this phase, we place a strong emphasis on character, spending 2-4 months on character assessment, spiritual development plans, transparency, spousal partnership, and resolve.
Character, Doctrine, & Skill
The three areas we are developing are character, doctrine and skill. Through three overlapping and self-nurturing phases, we move towards godly, experienced, qualified leadership.
Phase 1: Biblical Understanding & Character
- Transparent conversations about doctrinal, character, and skill weaknesses. Talk through growth plans for each candidate. Gospel-Centered Elder Study Guide, written by Bob Thune has been a helpful tool.
- Make sure candidates are currently serving and sharing what they are learning in some capacity. Coaching and skill development in counseling
- Biblical Eldership – Readings and socractic discussions on the nature and responsibilities of eldership. Exposure to elder meetings
Phase 2: Doctrine (courses offered in our semi-formal City Seminary)
- Christ-centered Interpretation
- Systematic Theology
- Cultural Apologetics
Phase 2: Pastoral Skill
- Gospel-Centered Discipleship
- Gospel Counseling