Establishing Elders in Cross-Cultural Communities
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Elders have held places of leadership among God’s people since at least the days of Moses. Today, elders help pastors lead a congregation through many roles. The office of elders is invaluable to a pastor and his church. Now consider a white pastor who is called to serve in a cross-cultural community. He does not know what he does not know about this new culture and needs help. Elders from that culture will be a precious piece of his ministry. The following thesis describes how a white pastor might establish elders from another culture to help him build the church of Christ in his new community. A study of the word “elders” in the Bible shows there is no prescription about how an elder can serve as a leader with the pastor. Advice from African American, Hispanic, and Hmong leaders teaches cultural considerations for white pastors trying to establish and work alongside cross-cultural elders. Advice from white pastors who have served in cross-cultural congregations teaches about having an open mind and heart to listen to and consider the input and leadership of elders from another culture. The thesis closes with applications (drawing from what Scripture says about elders and the advice from both cross-cultural leaders and white pastors) for a ministry which seeks to establish cross-cultural elders for building up the kingdom of God.