Book of the Week 9 – Qualified, Commissioned and Accountable – studies in Eldership



There is nothing more important for a Presbyterian Church than the health of her eldership and yet comparatively little is written directly for elders to strengthen them in their work.


This book began life in 1987 as a series of brief addresses at the start of Presbytery when its author Ernest Brown served as Moderator. The addresses were so well received that they were put into a book which was published in 1993, this version was revised in 2016.


Ernest Brown has served as an elder in the Evangelical Presbyterian Church of Ireland for over 40 years and his wisdom shines through the pages of this book. Taking Acts 20:28  as he his foundation text he expounds what eldership should look like. There are 9 chapters all around 10 pages each – Our Call, Qualifications, Order, Office, Affinity, Warnings, Flock, Motivation and two chapters on Our Charge. Each chapter ends with a series of helpful questions for discussion.


The temptation for Church Session is that it so easily becomes business as usual, literally the same old, same old and sometimes elderships can become jaded and discouraged. This book drives us back to biblical foundations on eldership and challenges to us think clearly on our role and how we can function better as shepherds in Christ’s Church. It does not say everything about eldership but that is not its intention. I highly recommend this volume to those training for eldership but also for all elders. Why not buy a copy for all your elders, read a chapter at the start of each session meeting, discuss it and spend some time in prayer? It will not be time wasted.


There are lots of books on leadership and mainly from the US, this book is specifically for elders on eldership written by an elder and to top it off it is written by a Brit.


My fellow elder Graham Weeks has reviewed the book here


Ernest’s lecture on the Confessional Church is very helpful indeed and worth listening to, there’s a print copy of it available from the Bookshop too

Yr 2 – Day 135

Year 2 – Day 135 – Mon 15 Jan – I cracked on with Matthew 4 in the morning before catching the train with Gethin to Swindon for his UFM panel. It was good to see Matthew Evans who’s an old friend and chairs the UFM council, Gethin had interviews one on one so I had a bit of time to read. The panel had 7 folk on it and I was there as the church representative, they didn’t really understand Presbyterianism but they are good gospel hearted folk who were very positive about Gethin. We got back in for 630, read to the kids and then a quick turnaround for deacons meeting, I left early to catch up with Alun Ebenezer and Sir James Charles Hughes who was up from Llanelli.

Yr 2- Day 134

Year 2 – Day 134 – Sun 14 Jan – Phoebe was up in the night and so in our bed from about 4 which meant being kicked and slapped and not a great deal of sleep. It was her third birthday but she wasn’t able to be at church because of a high temperature. It was a memorable Sunday morning as one of our older members fainted during the sermon. I had to stop the service and ask for our medics to help. I could see that there was a problem and she wasn’t able to communicate with her husband and looked very unwell but nobody else could. Our Dr’s and nurses did a great job. I went back to preaching but it felt very difficult to concentrate on what I was saying.

In the afternoon we were around and a little birthday tea with the family for Phoebe, in the night Gethin was on 1 John 5.

Yr 2 – Day 132

Yr 2 – Day 132 – Fri 12 Jan – I picked up Alun Ebenezer about 9 and we headed up to Birmingham for the funeral of an old friend of ours from Aber days. It was a sad day, Lucy was only 44, wife and mum to 3 young boys. She was a believer and the funeral was a testimony of the gospel. Her cousin Simon Mawdsley preached a powerful evangelistic message. The hymns were terrific – How great thou art,
Thine be the Glory and particularly O Love that will not let me go were helpful. It was incredible to see folk you’d not see for the guts of 20 years. We were back in London for about 7 – life is very short.

Yr 2 – Day 131

Year 2 – Day 131 – Thu 11 January – It was a full on day but the morning I spent studying then gave the GLT talk on ‘Is God Sexist?’,  there was a good crowd and really encouraging that a friend of someone in the congregation came of their own accord.  I did a couple of pastoral visits in the afternoon, fitting in a bit of study for Sunday morning. I got to see one of your young men in the congregation in the evening and tried to finish the sermon as I’ve got a funeral tomorrow.

Yr 2 – Day 130

Yr 2 – Day 130 – Wed 10 Jan – I had a day studying, reading up for tomorrow’s lunchtime talk on ‘Is God sexist’ and working on Sunday morning’s sermon. After lunch I hit a wall and had slept for an hour. I just found I couldn’t get going at all. We had housegroup at ours in the evening and worked through Ralph Davis’ material on 1 Sam 5-7 which is terrific.