Elders operate under the delegated authority of the church members to undertake the governance role for the body. This is primarily a Relational Governance Role (undertaken through close relationships with church leaders, staff, the Leadership Team and the Senior Pastor).

Elders are a non-partisan consultative group. They do not have specific portfolios or act as representatives of, or advocates for, specific ministries or activities of the church.

They key roles of the Elders are:

1. Holders of the Vision:

  • Elders bring a ‘global’ perspective to the evolving vision of the church (but not in a restrictive way which shackles us to the past and limits new opportunities but inspires us to embrace new expressions of the church’s vision)
  • Elders are responsible for the process of discerning and casting of vision. Elders seek to discern, in consultation with others, particularly the Leadership Team, the direction the Holy Spirit is leading our church. We look to establish a broad vision for the church, while always acknowledging that God will raise people of vision and opportunities for growing God’s kingdom will occur which may alter or expand our vision
  • Elders set the ‘chalk lines’ on the field which define, in principle, where we jointly discern the broad vision of the church and the Leadership Team operate within these lines. The lines are principles rather than methodology. The focus of Elders is on the principles (goals, outcomes and character concerns) the focus of the Leadership Team is more methodological (How do we do this best? How do we achieve this?)
  • Elders reflect the ‘mood’ of the church to the Senior Pastor and Leadership Team (and vice versa)

2. Financial:

  • Overseeing budgets and outcomes of key goals
  • Financial accountability (budgets/accounts etc) – ensuring allocation of resources aligns with the vision
  • Reporting back/communicating to the church (AGM, Vision Night etc)

3. Pastoral:

  • Pastoral support and availability for prayer in services, for the sick, dying and those in extreme crises
  • Listening to concerns of people within the church, channelling these concerns to appropriate people and if necessary picking up individuals’ concerns if they are unable to make progress through normal channels
  • Handle difficult pastoral situations where it is most appropriate that the Elders of the church be involved
  • Meet with Leadership Team members to support, encourage and be aware of concerns (not an annual review or line-management role)

4. Relationship with Senior Pastor:

  • A key Eldership responsibility is to support, encourage, protect and hold accountable the Senior Pastor. The Senior Pastor is responsible for enacting and operationalising the vision
  • Involvement in and approval of staff appointments to the Leadership Team (and their recommendation to church members as per the South West Baptist Church constitution)
  • Involvement in employment/staffing/conflicts of interest issues (generally at the Senior Pastor level)

5. Relationship with the Leadership Team:

  • Elders need to ‘filter’ the vision of individual Leadership Team members for their specific areas of ministry responsibility through the over-arching SWBC vision
  • Elders have a pastoral role with the Leadership Team (not a governing, accountability role as this rests with the Senior Pastor)
  • Elders should be available for Leadership Team to have direct access and not just via the Senior Pastor (formally by scheduled visits and informally at other times)
  • Click here to view our ‘Elders – Leadership Team Dynamic’ document.

6. Relationship with each other:

  • Support for each other as Elders – the Elders group is not expected to be the primary support group in the church but they should support each other in their role as Elders and are aware and supportive of other personal issues happening for them as individuals

7. Membership of the Elders:

  • Need to bring together a mix of skills (people, passion and process) and experience on the Eldership to effect any changes to the way they operate
  • Elders need to look to form structures for the Eldership which will allow for future growth of the church