The weekly elders’ meeting

I was talking with another pastor the other week and we got round to discussing eldership and how we operate respectively. On our eldership, we have a weekly elders’ meeting as a general rule. Obviously, if we’re away or there is a specific reason we can’t, we postpone it. But in the ordinary run of things, we have a weekly elders’ meeting.

My day off is a Monday, so we have our elders’ meeting on Tuesday morning. That is the first opportunity we have, after Sunday, to get together and work through whatever might have come up. Given many people meet with us on Sunday and tell us what is happening, what they want/need prayer for, what they need help with and that sort of thing, Tuesday morning is the first opportunity we have to get together and work through the various needs of the congregation after Sunday.

In reality, Tuesday is the practical start of my working week. So, Tuesday morning I prepare and agenda and then we have our elders meeting. I spend the rest of the day working through whatever has come up in the meeting, making phone calls, sending emails, reaching out as required to work through the various things that have come up. For me, the elders’ meeting helps me to structure my week, helps me work out what I need to do, helps me keep things moving and address matters that might otherwise fall off the radar.

Our elders meeting is separated into two halves. The first half is people focused. We run through matters arising from the previous week’s minutes, then we look at membership matters, non-member matters that might warrant some action, new faces at meetings and then we turn to ourselves as elders and pray for one another. After we have worked through all this (which is the longer section) we turn to more practical matters. We think about matters of direction, organisation, future plans, what we want to include in our prayer letter and those sort of things. Essentially, anything concerning the work, ministry, direction or vision of the church gets discussed in the second half.

Once we have discussed these things, I set about actioning whatever I am tasked with sorting out. It might mean approaching the deacons to get them onto something. It might involve pastoral issues that have cropped up. It might involve contacting particular people so the church can do something it needs to do. But so far as I am able, I use Tuesday to set up appropriate meetings, make contact, follow up and action all the things that I need to do.

I know others may have a different setup. I don’t presume to say ours is the way these things must be done (the Bible doesn’t specify, it’s just what I have found helpful). Some would feel “meeting-ed out” if they met every week. Some find that things have not significantly moved forward for them to have much to discuss every week. For me, I find meeting regularly and often helps me keep things moving and provides some accountability on the things I was supposed to do that have perhaps dropped off the radar. I find pastoral issues have a habit of arising regularly and often too and it pays to have a regular meeting where we can discuss them and work out what to do about them.

Anyway, that’s what we do and why we do it that way.