Human leadership of the local church is delegated in the New Testament to elders (also called overseers and pastors or shepherds—p. 73). Jeramie Rinne has written this little volume “to provide a concise biblical job description for elders” (p. 15). His target audience is not only elders and those who aspire to be elders, but the entire congregation which needs to understand God’s instructions for church leadership (p. 15).
Rinne does an excellent job of interweaving biblical teaching and practical application. The author correctly lists and explains the qualifications for elders (pp. 18-30) and details their primary ministries of teaching the Word (pp. 48-50), defending sound truth (pp. 50-56) and shepherding the flock (pp. 32-41). Concerning the latter, Church Elders offers a nice section on how to keep track of members who are straying (pp. 57-69), as well as specific ways to encouragement and pray for the flock (pp. 109-120).
Rinne, who is a congregationalist (pp. 74, 82), believes the New Testament teaches that the church is to be led by a plurality of elders (pp. 85-95). Therefore choosing elders who are servant-leaders is key to a healthy church (pp. 78-83).
Church Elders is a wonderful resource that will benefit any church. It is far more concise than Biblical Eldership by Alexander Strauch but covers much of the same material. The elders of our church are reading through this book together and we intend to use it as the base for a course for “aspiring elders.”
Church Elders, How to Shepherd God’s People Like Jesus by Jeramie Rinne (Wheaton: Crossway, 2014) 133 pp., Hard $14.99
Reviewed by Gary E. Gilley, Southern View Chapel