AUTHOR: Jonathan Leeman
PUBLISHER: Nashville, TN: B&H Publishing, 2016, (74 pages).
In this booklet about Church leadership and congregational authority, the author highlights four types of popular leadership styles. The first is the pastor-led or elder-led church in which pastors and elders are the spokespersons on behalf of the whole church. They drive the direction and the final authority for the whole congregation. The second type is the elder-rule type which believes that the final authority belongs to the elders of each independent church. Everybody, including pastors are under the leadership and spiritual guidance of the elders. The third type is the presbyterian model in which a "group of elders" rule over the Church. The fourth type is the episcopalians which gives the bishop overall authority over the whole church. While all of them share the similar belief that Christ is lord over all, the different positions express unique perspectives toward membership, financial matters, church discipline, and how matters of the church are conducted.
In understanding the congregation's authority, Leeman essentially gives the whole church her job descriptions and what an elder-led congregationalism looks like. It is about coming back to the gospel order that the Church is continuing the work of Jesus, starting from where He left off. The big picture is that every single member of the church, both elders and non-elders have work to do. It is a jointly owned responsibility for discipleship. The elders assist in training and the members respond by putting into practice the gospel work, under guidance of the elders. It is understanding who the Church is and what is expected of the Church in which we are a member of. Leeman lists at least seven responsibilities:
- Church members are expected to attend Church regularly
- They are to preserve the gospel
- They are to affirm gospel citizens
- They are to attend members' meetings
- They disciple other members
- They share the gospel with others
- They follow their leaders
He also addresses some critiques of congregationalism at the end of the book.
The author is an elder at the Capitol Hill Baptist Church in Washington DC as well as the editorial director of 9Marks. This book is one among the six Church Basics series of books. The others are:
Rating: 4.5 stars of 5.
This book is provided to me courtesy of B&H Publishing Group in exchange for an honest review. All opinions offered above are mine unless otherwise stated or implied.