The Elder-Led Church

The Elder-Led Church

P&R Publishing

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Church leadership is a shared responsibility, not a solo venture. This book equips pastors and elders to lead the church together as a team, focusing not so much on what they are to be but on what they as a body are to do. Written by a former pastor, now a seminary lecturer and longtime volunteer elder, this book is a groundbreaking resource for local churches of all shapes and sizes.


“An amazing achievement on eldership—a true gift to the church! This Christ-centered, gospel-focused, biblically grounded, theologically clear, exegetically thorough, well-researched, and immensely practical book should find its home in every church and seminary library and the hands of every man called to lead, oversee, shepherd, protect, and teach God’s church.”

—Douglas Sean O’Donnell, Senior Vice President of Bible Editorial, Crossway Books

“The perspective provided by this reputable, credible, and gospel-sensitive author is valuable for philosophy but also a great blessing for the actual practices of leaders who serve in a local church.”

—Bryan Chapell, Author, Christ-Centered Preaching; Stated Clerk, Presbyterian Church in America

“Blends strong biblical foundations, gospel-driven intentionality, and practical wisdom. . . . Intentionality and practical wisdom inform discussions of such essential church issues as maintaining meaningful communication with and care for members, planning and conducting elders’ meetings, capitalizing on the diversity of gifts among elders, and prioritizing mission and evangelism—alongside worship and disciple-making.”

—Dennis E. Johnson, Professor Emeritus of Practical Theology, Westminster Seminary California

“Church leadership is hugely significant. We feel this significance especially in an age of cultural pressures hostile to Christianity, at times of painful division between churches and denominations, and on occasions of devastating ministry scandals. Murray Capill’s book is deeply biblical and astonishingly comprehensive. It is clearly the fruit of careful study based on a lifetime of pastoral experience. It is therefore both scriptural and practical, modeling beautifully how to take the Scriptures and apply them in the concrete realities of church life. This excellent book will prove a valuable resource for both church leaders and church members.”

—Christopher Ash, Writer in Residence, Tyndale House, Cambridge

“Churches are facing a leadership crisis. On the one hand, some churches’ leaders misuse their authority and harm people under their care, while other churches see the way forward as creating egalitarian spaces with minimal leaders. Many more churches are struggling to raise up leaders altogether. In his latest book, The Elder-Led Church, Murray Capill serves churches well by providing a book rich in biblical exegesis, pastoral insight, and practical help. Rather than moving away from the Bible’s vision for church leaders, Murray casts a positive vision for how and why a plurality of elders is good for the local church. This volume will be a great help for churches thinking through leadership and for existing elder groups as they seek to love and serve God’s people.”

—Murray Campbell, Senior Pastor, Mentone Baptist Church, Melbourne

“Leading a church as a team of elders requires a clear and shared understanding of the church’s direction, but it also requires a clear and shared understanding of what leadership entails. Without that understanding, the elders will often be working at cross-purposes with hidden assumptions about what their role entails and how it should be carried out. Murray Capill’s book shows how elders may lead a church together in a way that is biblically grounded and practical. I wish I’d had this book when I was a pastor.”

—Karl Deenick, Community and Student Care Coordinator, Lecturer in Theology, Sydney Missionary and Bible College; former Senior Pastor, The Branch, Launceston, Australia

“Capill’s book on eldership is clear, biblical, practical, and engaging. I encourage elders to read it for themselves and pastors to purchase it for all their elders. And if your church doesn’t have elders, this book makes a compelling case for why it should.”

—Iain Duguid, Professor of Old Testament, Westminster Theological Seminary

 “One of the challenges we face as God’s people is learning to think biblically about both mission and ecclesiology. All too often, we prioritize one at the expense of the other, with painful and damaging results. In this careful and rich book, Murray Capill maps out a way of being a Reformed church that is dynamic, flexible, and biblically faithful in our context. I know of no other book quite like this, and am thankful that Murray has written it. I hope that every church leader buys a copy and reads it!”

—Gary Millar, Principal, Queensland Theological College, Brisbane, Australia

“In recent years, the biblical vision for teams of elders shepherding each congregation has been newly embraced. But a host of practical questions remain: How can teams of elders effectively provide theological clarity, gospel vision, sound teaching, faithful oversight, personal care, and discipleship? What does it look like for elders to work together both as a team and as individuals, in both smaller and larger churches? How should paid elders relate to those who are volunteers, and how can the elders effectively mobilize the whole church for gospel mission? In The Elder-Led Church, Murray Capill draws on his years of teaching and practical ministry experience to provide biblically grounded wisdom for the way ahead.”

—Murray Smith, Lecturer in Biblical Theology & Exegesis, Christ College, Sydney, Australia

“This is a book that Presbyterian and Reformed churches have long been waiting for—and desperately need. From Scripture, we know that local congregations are to be led and ruled by elders. But how do elders tackle this challenging task? What should their goals and priorities be? How do they lead amid ever-changing circumstances? These questions are compellingly addressed in this readable handbook. Capill carefully guides the reader step by step from the biblical foundations to goals and aspirations, and on to the day-to-day practicalities of leadership. He writes with a clarity that every elder will find appealing. The material is well set out and logically presented. Each chapter ends with relevant and probing study questions. This is a refreshing and timely book written by a seasoned pastor, teacher, preacher, and author. No church should be without a copy. Highly recommended.”

—Stephen Voorwinde, Lecturer in New Testament, Reformed Theological College, Australia (1985–2011)


The Author

Murray Capill

Murray Capill (DMin, Westminster Theological Seminary, California) has pastored churches in New Zealand and Australia and is principal of the Reformed Theological College in Geelong, Australia, where he lectures in preaching and pastoral ministry.

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