This book is intended to assist in training budding elders in a local church situation. It is designed for use in a seminar situation, with an experienced pastor/elder in informal discussion with several trainees. This mirrors our Lord’s method, who chose his disciples ‘that they might be with him and that he might send them out to preach’ (Mark 3:14).
Each section begins with questions to stimulate the trainee’s thinking on the subject in hand, followed by introductory notes with helpful and relevant Scripture texts. A conclusion, drawing out the main point, completes each section.
The sections themselves are practical and relevant to pastoral life, and include ‘team spirit’, ‘pastoral leadership’, ‘the leader’s personal life’, ‘local church evangelism’ and ‘pastoral counselling’.
There are three brief appendices dealing respectively with ‘counselling and depression’, ‘counselling and abuse’ and ‘counselling and homosexuality’. The bibliography in each section is intentionally wide in outlook, so that the trainee can discuss and work out his own approaches, rather than become a mirror image of the trainer.
The author himself attempts to avoid discussion on major issues such as baptism. However, some of his opinions do surface — such as the belief that Timothy and Titus were not pastors, but evangelists/church planters — with biblical reasons given. The book does not discuss the part that missionary societies might play in missionary endeavour in partnership with the local church — so this could be worth discussing in the group!
There is an increasing need for this type of material as many ‘first generation’ Independent church pastors move into retirement. If pastors can invest time in training younger men, so much the better for the churches.
I would firmly recommend it as a ready-made structure for training elders.