Resourcing Elders

TreeIt’s not unusual for me to be contacted about reading resources, and typically it’s not too difficult to recommend some appropriate text(s). Today, I was asked what resources there are for elders serving in the Presbyterian/Reformed tradition. After a quick scramble, here’s what I came up with:

  • Joan S. Gray, Spiritual Leadership for Church Officers: A Handbook (Louisville: Geneva Press, 2009).
  • Ken Lawson and Stewart Matthew, Caring for God’s People: A Handbook for Elders and Ministers on Pastoral Care (Edinburgh: Saint Andrew Press, 1995).
  • Ted A. Lester, ‘So, You’ve Been Elected an Elder …’ (Louisville: Congregational Ministries Publishing, 2001). This is a video/DVD.
  • Phil A. Newton, Elders in Congregational Life: Rediscovering the Biblical Model for Church Leadership (Grand Rapids: Kregel Publications, 2005). This is a Baptist perspective on eldership.
  • Colin H. Ray, ed., A Guide for Elders (Melbourne: Uniting Church Press, 1994).
  • Lester J. Reid, A Resource for Elders, Sessions & Parish Councils (Wellington: Presbyterian Church of New Zealand. Department of Parish Development and Mission, 1997).
  • Sheila Stephens, ‘Why Me?’ (Edinburgh: The Church of Scotland). This is a video and it comes with an accompanying 36 page handbook.
  • Thomas F. Torrance, ‘The Eldership in the Reformed Church’, Scottish Journal of Theology 37 (1984): 503–18.
  • Thomas F. Torrance, The Eldership in the Reformed Church (Edinburgh: Handsel Press, 1984).
  • Thomas F. Torrance, Royal Priesthood: A Theology of Ordained Ministry (Edinburgh: T&T Clark, 1993).
  • Tony Tucker, Reformed Ministry: Traditions of Ministry and Ordination in the United Reformed Church (London: United Reformed Church, 2003).
  • Lukas Vischer, ed., Eldership in the Reformed Churches Today: Report of an International Consultation held at John Knox Centre in Geneva from August 26–31, 1990 (Geneva: World Alliance of Reformed Churches, 1991).
  • Lukas Vischer, ed., The Ministry of the Elders in the Reformed Churches: Papers Presented at a Consultation held in Geneva in August 1990 (Berne: Evangelische Arbeitsstelle Oekumene Schweiz, 1992).
  • D. Newell Williams, ‘Consultation on the significance of Eldership in the Reformed Tradition’, Mid-Stream 30 (1991): 353–55.

Now the concerning thing is that I may have discovered today that my inkling is confirmed: that the pickings really are slim in this area. Of course, I’ve love to have my inkling swiftly murdered by others who know more about this stuff than I do. In other words, I would be really excited to hear of some other resources (booklets/videos/books/tapestries/etc.) that people have found helpful in this area (and those not only from the Pressie/Reformed tribe).

Of course, there’s also a serious book or two that it would be great for such elders to read. Among these I would include:


  1. Something you might find interesting is the Elders’ Institute of The Presbyterian Church in Canada:

    The Institute works mainly to provide leadership training for ruling elders in The PCC, but its resources and online courses are open to others as well, I believe.


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