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What is the difference between the elder model and clergy/laity?

Submitted: 4/12/2005
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Question: OK. I'm in the process of trying to really understand this but I'm doing it literally on my own here. How is it that the eldership team keeps from being the 'chosen ones' and the rest of everybody the 'not chosen ones'? How is it that this model is NOT like the elders are the clergy and the rest are the laity? I believe in the elderships wholeheartedly, I think I struggle with some of these concepts partly because I am looking at it through the traditional lens I know so well.

Answer: Elders can act as though they are the 'chosen ones' if they so choose. Simply changing the leadership structure does not guarantee that everyone participating in it will have the right spirit. What makes an eldership (multi-pastor) model different is that if the men participating in it are operating in a spirit of humble service, they can protect themselves from becoming clergy-like by holding one another to high standards of conduct and keeping one another accountable. The multi-pastor model provides a hedge against becoming a clergy, but does not have the power, in and of itself, to prevent it. It is the hearts of the men that ultimately make the difference.

Please see our article titled Servant Leadership on the Leadership and Authority shelf of the Apostolic Free Library.