Best Practices in Elder Selection & Development Process with Phil Taylor
Welcome back for another episode of the unSeminary podcast. I’m excited to have Pastor Phil Taylor with us this week. He is the executive pastor at Mosaic Church in Winter Garden, Florida.
Phil is with us today to talk about the elder development process at Mosaic and how you can implement it into your own church.
- Two-year eldership development. // When Phil came to Mosaic five years ago, one of their biggest needs was leadership and eldership development and so they decided to build a two-year elder development program. Since a lot of the men who become elders are not formally trained at the seminary level, the process involves a lot of reading about theology, spiritual life, marriage, prayer, Church history and so on. The two-year process is broken into the first year being the book learning side and the second year the more practical side. During the first year the group meets every month, and the second year they meet every other month.
- First 15 Focus. // Part of the training process is called the First 15 Focus. When the group meets, the first 15 minutes will be focused on something related to the life of the church. The hospitality director may come in and talk about why they do hospitality services they way the church does it. The youth director may come in and talk about the youth activities and areas the church has. It gives the men a thorough look and understanding of the church during their training time.
- Pre-requisites before the requisites. // Phil explains that when it comes to elder selection, Mosaic does not pursue people to fill this role, but rather lets interested persons approach them. It’s important that the men who come forward feel called to serve in this role, rather than feeling pressured by a pastor to do so. Before men who come forward are even considered for the two-year development program though, there are certain pre-requisites that must be met. For example, an individual must have read the entire bible at least once in the last two years. This is an obstacle to a surprising number of people. Once all the pre-requisites are met, the two-year training begins. Not everyone makes it to the training program, and many don’t complete it. But those who do understand their responsibility as an elder and are committed to the role they are called to serve in.
- Shepherd the people. // Mosaic has elders for life, but not all elders work the same way. Some elders are directional elders and others are shepherding elders. The directional elders have the bigger role of coming together to work on decisions for the church such as salaries for the executive team. But for all elders of any position the primary job is to actively shepherd the people of the church.
- Let the program evolve over time. // At first, the trainees would receive all of the information at once at the very beginning—if someone said they were interested in being an elder, Phil would give them a file that contained the pre-requisite list, the application, the reading list, everything. But he found that gave the assumption that they were automatically accepted into the elder program without any additional consideration or work on their part. It works best to distribute content in parts and see how committed the men are along the way. Another important part of the process is to involve the wives. Include the wife in the interviews to help determine whether it really is the husband who wants to be an elder and not his wife pushing him into doing it. It’s very important there is vision alignment from both the husband and wife. There are also questions in the application process for the wife to answer.
- Help for backstage pastors. // Phil kept getting asked for the papers on his elder process and then asked to meet with people to go over the process in more detail. He realized that there were a lot of books on being an elder, but no one was going into a lot of detail on the process of training an elder for their role. So he took his process and annotated it into a book that explains each step along the way. Eldership Development: From Application To Affirmation is the second book in the Backstage Pastor series, which are practical books for pastors who spend more time behind the scenes than they do on the stage.
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Helpful Tech Tools // Enneagram test
Ministries Following // The Potter’s Inn in Colorado
Influential Book // The Emotionally Healthy Leader: How Transforming Your Inner Life Will Deeply Transform Your Church, Team, and the World by Peter Scazzero
Inspiring Leader // Kevin Feige
What you do for fun // Kayaking, Running, Orlando Theme Parks