7 Things Pastors Wish From Their Governmental Elders And Leaders


Joseph Mattera gives an in depth description of 7 ways leaders and elders can be an asset to the senior pastor.

I. Pastors wish the elders would be there to support them, not supplant them

  1. Elders can either function as Aaron and Hur in Exodus 17:12, who supported and held up Moses hands during battle, or as Aaron and Miriam in Numbers 12:1-10, who were judged by God for attempting to supplant Moses as the primary leader of Israel.

  2. Biblically, elders should be placed by the senior leader. Thus they can be replaced by the senior leader. (Numbers 11:17 says God told Moses to pick the elders, thus the elders could never bypass Moses by telling him that their leadership was between them and God!)
  3. Elders should have the spirit of an armor bearer, taking the darts for the pastor, not being the one uncovering or throwing the darts.

II. Pastors wish their elders understood the various stages of leadership transition in regards to their function

In small churches, the elders do all the hands-on ministry; in mid-sized churches, the elders help oversee various ministries; in larger, mature churches, the elders function mainly as advisors to the pastor. For more on this read Leadership Transitions for Growth by Michael Fletcher.

III. Pastors wish their Board of Elders would be spiritual people who help them hear from God

Although the senior pastor is the primary visionary God speaks to regarding the macro-direction of the church, mature and trusted elders can and should also hear from God regarding the steps and implementation of the macro-vision.

IV. Pastors desire their Board of Elders to be as committed to their local church in their hearts as they are

It’s not equal time but equal sacrifice that is needed. Lay elders cannot possibly spend as much time in the church office as a full-time pastor, but they should have just as much commitment to sacrificing their time, money, and talents for the vision of the house.

V. Pastors wish their Board of Elders would point to the vision and the visionary (senior pastor) rather than to themselves as church leaders

Insecure and/or egocentric elders often gather disciples after themselves (Acts 20:30) instead of pointing those they are shepherding to the visionary and mission of the house.

VI. Pastors wish their Board of Elders would lead the way in sacrificial giving

  1. Most successful non-profit organizations expect fund development and sacrificial giving to be a requirement for an individual to serve on their executive board.
  2. A church with elders who do not lead the way in sacrificial giving is a church that God cannot fully bless. The leaders lead the way and craft the atmosphere and culture of the local church.
  3. I regularly check the tithe records of all my leaders and hold those accountable who lapse in giving. Those not faithfully giving their tithes and sacrificially supporting our vision know I will remove them from leadership if they don’t repent.

VII. Pastors wish their Board of Elders (or Board of Trustees) would lead the way in monetarily blessing them with a great compensation package and for special Pastor’s Appreciation days

  1. Many pastors and spouses work themselves to the bone without being adequately compensated. The governing board should never wait until the pastor requests a raise; it should be initiated annually or whenever possible.
  2. Sometimes elder boards and pastors are ignorant and need an outside voice to come in and bring proper balance, order, and protocol.
  3. If a church is unable to properly compensate their pastor in the beginning stages of the church, or during certain seasons, then the elder board can work with a compensation committee to properly evaluate the years the pastor and spouse have served in the church commensurate to what they should have been paid. Then they can be offered a compensation package that makes up for the years of monetary lack.
  4. I have observed numerous pastors who had to keep on ministering when they should have given up the leadership of the church to a younger person, but they couldn’t because of monetary challenges. Church finances should be set up so the founding pastor and spouse receives regular support even after they transition out of leadership.
  5. I have observed numerous pastors who have little or nothing for retirement and are living day-to-day on a shoestring budget in their late 60’s and beyond. This is disgraceful and should never be! Elder boards should make sure the senior pastors and their family has a full compensation package including long-term health care benefits and a great retirement package!
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