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Elders in Congregational Life: Rediscovering the Biblical Model for Church Leadership

3.99  ·  Rating Details ·  67 Ratings  ·  16 Reviews
Self-government and autonomy are long-standing cherished traditions of most evangelical churches. Ideally this means each member participates in decision making, but in reality pure congregationalism is unwieldy and unworkable. Pastors try to solve the problem by assuming more and more of the authority themselves. Neither approach is biblical.

A biblically functioning chur
Paperback, 176 pages
Published April 15th 2005 by Kregel Academic & Professional
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Feb 23, 2013 Danny rated it it was amazing
Some of my favorite quote so far from Elders in Congregational Life: Rediscovering the Biblical Model for Church Leadership by Phil A. Newton
I know of no other book that gives such particular and practical consideration for transitioning to plural elders. Mark Dever, Capitol Hill Baptist Church
when the leadership group of a church is swamped in the mundane and temporal, they may fail to take to heart the deeper spiritual needs of the church.
the duties of elders might better be approached in a f
Kevin Sorensen
Jul 01, 2014 Kevin Sorensen rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
When I see a book, journal article, blog post or just about anything that's written by someone from 9Marks, I read it. I've been aware of 9Marks since before they were 9Marks. I've read Mark Dever's '9 Marks of a Healthy Church' several times. I've taken our elders and deacons through it twice, along with Dever's equally helpful, 'The Deliberate Church.' So, when Kregel released a newer version of 'Elders in the Life of the Church,' I wanted to read it. I was not disappointed.

Newton & Schmuc
Doug Hibbard
Jun 05, 2014 Doug Hibbard rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Elders in the Life of the Church is a book that scares me with its subtitle of “Rediscovering the Biblical Model of Church Leadership.” I know that, in the past two millennia, we have had times of drift from Biblical truth. However, when someone claims in 2014 that we finally have something right that’s been wrong for a long, long time, that sets me on edge. Our predecessors were not always right (see: slavery, segregation, religious warfare), but to claim that you are “Biblical” where no one el ...more
Michael Boling
Jun 26, 2014 Michael Boling rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
What are elders and why are they a necessary element of the local body of believers within the framework of a local church? Should elders be given the responsibility of leadership or is that the role of the senior pastor? Why do some denominations utilize elders in their church government while others do not? These are issues that often face churches as they discuss the topic of elders. Phil Newton and Matt Schmucker, in their helpful book in the 9Marks series called Elders in the Life of the Ch ...more
Brian Daniel
Jan 16, 2016 Brian Daniel rated it liked it
Make no mistake - this is a survey course on and in defense of church elders. This reality makes it somewhat academic in nature with an intent to provide information and guidance in elder leadership. Even so, I had not problem reading it and enjoyed the experience. Not only was it helpful in ways authors Newton and Schmucker intended it to be, but it was also engaging in ways I didn't necessarily expect. Perhaps what I appreciated most about Elders in Congregation Life was the historical and bib ...more
Josh Skinner
Nov 12, 2014 Josh Skinner rated it liked it
There has been quite a resurgence of Biblical polity in many churches that have, seemingly since the advent of the Second Great Awakening and Finney-brand revivalism, often been plagued by an unbiblical model of church government. I remain convinced from Scripture of the necessity of a plurality of qualified and called pastor-elders to serve as under-shepherds, leading God's local flock. I do still have reservations as to the validity of congregationalism, but do see that the idea(generally) is ...more
Mar 02, 2016 Matthew rated it it was amazing
Shelves: ministry, leadership
For me growing up as a Baptist, I saw elders and congregationalism as at cross purposes. But the more I read the NT and the more I read books like Newton's Elders in Congregational Life, the more I realize that they aren't and don't have to be at cross purposes. Elders is just another name for 'pastors' or 'overseers,' with each term having a different nuance to the same office. He gives me much to think over.
Michael Vincent
An excellent overall look at the biblical model of the plurality of elders for church leadership. He not only shares the theology behind it, but shares stories of how transitions to place in several churches. A good companion to Strauch's book on the subject.
Mar 05, 2016 Hopson rated it really liked it
Helpful book outlining the reasons for and the practice of plural pastoral leadership in the local church. Most helpful is Newton's section on moving from theory to practice.

For Tim Challies' 2016 Reading Challenge, I read this book as a book written by a first-time author.
Mar 25, 2015 Jamie rated it really liked it
One of the best books on biblical eldership I've read. The last few chapters on the transition to biblical eldership in an American setting or missionary seting were especially helpful and worth the price of the book.
Rock Rockwell
Nov 04, 2007 Rock Rockwell rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Christian Leaders
A good fast read to look at the biblically warranted church polity of plural elders in a congregational church. A good balance of defining the need for elders, Scriptural clarity, and practical implementation is given. The balance between a plurality of elders without compromising the equality and connection with every member in a local church body is clearly argued. The Baptist distinctions are addressed to deal with changes the Baptist are encountering as the move from one Senior Pastor (Elder ...more
Seth Channell
Sep 01, 2015 Seth Channell rated it liked it
I liked the book, but believe there are more helpful books out there on this subject. However, the book does have the best material, that I have found, on how to transition to elder leadership. Even if you do not read the entire book it is worth your time to read the last three chapters.

Read the updated version (September 1, 2015). The new chapters by Matt Schmucker made a good book ever better.
Rick Dobrowolski
Jan 07, 2014 Rick Dobrowolski rated it really liked it
A good treatment of the Biblical basis, implementation, and responsibilities of elders.
Herb Hunter
Dec 18, 2012 Herb Hunter rated it really liked it
For anyone considering a change to a more biblical form of church government, this book will be a must read. I love Newton's practical and sage advice to those who would make a change too. It's beneficial and packed with real wisdom.
Mike Hyatt
Dec 10, 2013 Mike Hyatt rated it really liked it
Decent. Gives some practical steps in moving a congregation to a biblical view of leadership.
Victor Chininin
Oct 03, 2013 Victor Chininin rated it really liked it
A very helpful guide to the study of eldership for congregational Baptist churches.
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Phil A. Newton (PhD, Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary; DMin, Fuller Theological Seminary) is senior pastor at South Woods Baptist Church in Memphis. In pastoral ministry for over thirty-five years, he also serves as an adjunct professor at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary’s Equip Center.
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