The elders are from the people, and among the people, and having a plurality of elders among the people helps to create congregational support for decisions, before and after the fact. A single leader is not able to influence and win support and deal with individual circumstances nearly so strongly as a team working together.
7. Less Sting From Unjust Criticism
Flying solo in leadership means all the sting lands squarely on the lone wolf. But when we lead as a team, and make and own decisions as a team, we’re less exposed to unjust criticism for those decisions. We still feel the sting, but not nearly so sharply as when we take it together. Which connects, then, to our ability to encourage one another in difficulty.
8. More Encouragement in Difficulty
All leadership in a fallen world involves difficulty sooner than later. It’s just a matter of time. And perhaps all the more in Christian leadership, because so much is at stake, and because there is a genuine Enemy with schemes against us.
Trials will come, but when we lead together, we’re in much better condition to walk in those trials without losing hope. Together, we strengthen each other to continue truly, deeply, continually rejoicing, even as we experience great sorrow. Having peers in leadership proves to be a priceless encouragement in trouble.
9. More Stable in Transition
Transition comes to every leadership team if the organization is healthy and survives for much duration of time. In particular, when the senior leader transitions, whether to retirement or some other vocation, the plurality contributes greatly to stability during change.
10. More Sanctifying
Not only is there the collective wisdom, but leading together makes us better as individuals. Shared leadership is more sanctifying than leading alone. Leading together, says Strauch,
exposes our impatience with one another, our stubborn pride, our bull-headedness, our selfish immaturity, our domineering disposition, our lack of love and understanding of one another, and our prayerlessness. It also shows us how underdeveloped and immature we really are in humility, brotherly love and true servant spirit. (114)
Leading together makes each of us better. “Iron sharpens iron” (Proverbs 27:17).
11. Greater Joy Together
Leading together also brings greater joy than going at it alone. “It is much more satisfying … to pastor as a team than to be a lone-wolf shepherd” (Jeremie Rinne, Church Elders, 95). While at times it may feel easier to make all the calls yourself, the joy of leading together, with all its attendant difficulties, far surpasses the simplicity of being the king of the hill.
12. Together Under the Chief
Finally, and most significantly, working as a team of undershepherds should remind us continually that there is only one “chief Shepherd” (1 Peter 5:4; Ephesians 3.21″ data-version=”esv” data-purpose=”bible-reference”>3:21).
The reality of plurality reminds us that we are not the lone leader of Christ’s church. He is.
“The reality of plurality reminds us that we are not the lone leader of Christ’s church. He is.”