One of my personal convictions as well as one of the core values of our church, First Central Bible Church of Chicopee, MA, is that of shared leadership. During our elders & wives’ Bible studies, we identified five key tasks of the elders.
- Feeding the Flock – Teach biblical truth (Acts 6:1-7); Equip people for service (Ephesians 4:11-16)
- Leading the Flock – Overseers supervise and manage the church (1 Peter 5:1-2); Manage the finances of the church (Acts 11:29-30; 1 Timothy 5:17-18)
- Protecting the Flock – Guard against false teachers (Acts 20:28-31)
- Caring for the Flock – Practical care of the flock’s many diverse needs (Acts 6:1-7); Prayer for the ill (James 5:14)
- Example for the Flock – Model Christlikeness (1 Timothy 4:12-13; 1 Peter 5:3)
- Shared leadership – Plurality of elders—collective, shared, or team leadership
In regards to shared leadership, I explain to our membership class that the elders and I share the same responsibility. Their ministry is just as or even more important than mine. The only difference is that I get paid so I can devote my full time and attention to ministry.
One of the ways we demonstrate shared leadership is in rotating who leads the communion service, or the Lord’s Table. Our church celebrates communion on the first Sunday of the month. I lead the observance of communion every other month. The elders rotate the responsibility of leading communion during the other months. When I am not leading, I help serve by distributing the elements to the congregation. This allows people to hear a different voice every other month as well as see me submit to the other elders when they lead.