Rawlings School of Divinity
Doctor of Ministry (DMin)
P. Adam McClendon
Church, Leadership, Elders, Preaching, Teaching, Pastor
Christianity | Leadership Studies | Religion
Hartman, Eric Michael, "Shared Oversight: Equipping Elders to Shepherd the Flock" (2021). Doctoral Dissertations and Projects. 2838.
Leadership structures vary greatly across various faith traditions, but how much flexibility is biblically warranted? Far from being silent, the Bible is descriptive and prescriptive with regard to a plurality of leadership within a congregation. These elders, also called overseers, are to shepherd the flock (Acts 20:17, 28). The problem is that there is often lack training to that end. This study constructed a process for training elders and/or potential elders within a congregation to better understand the nature of plurality and parity of those tasked with caring for God’s people. The four training sessions covered the following: (1) The role and prominence of elders throughout the Mosaic and New Covenants and in the early church, (2) the understanding of elders and overseers being the same group who are tasked with shepherding, or pastoring, the church, (3) the parity of elders, regardless of status of employment, and (4) the primacy of teaching in shepherding, including that which is commonly called preaching. The elders of Providence Church of Texas served as participants in the study, the goal of which was to better equip those tasked with equipping the saints for the work of the ministry. The effectiveness of the training process was evaluated by both a questionnaire given before and after the sessions and via the information gathered by the researcher through discussions in the sessions. The handouts and teacher’s notes from each session are included to aid in adaptability to other ecclesiastical contexts.