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What does it mean for a church to be led by a plurality of elders? How much authority do the elders have? How does elder authority relate to a congregational polity? And how does the ministry of the deacons fit in?

This conference will address these questions by considering the authority of the congregation, elders, and deacons in a way that is simple and memorable, with an eye toward implementation across different church contexts.

Join us on Saturday, September 21 at First Baptist Church Matthews, NC for a one-day event on Elders in the Local Church. This event will feature teaching from Dr. Ben Merkle of the Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary and a panel discussion with local pastors who have experienced a transition to an elder model at their local church. 


  • Session 1: All authority is under the lordship of Jesus who is good chief Shepherd. The authority of the congregation can be found in the areas of leadership (choosing, commissioning, and confronting leaders), membership (receiving, rebuking, and removing members), and discipleship (congregations were sent apostolic letters and encouraged to settle their own disputes).

  • Session 2: This session will focus on the authority of elders which is conveyed in three ways: by their titles (elder, overseer, pastor), their qualifications (moral, social, and situational), and their roles of leading, shepherding, and teaching.

  • Session 3: This session will focus on the authority of deacons which is conveyed by their title (which suggests an official church office), qualifications (including the need to be tested and honored), and roles (which demonstrate an authority that is subordinate to the elders).



  • 9:00 am: Session #1 (Dr. Ben Merkle)

  • 10:10 am: Break

  • 10:30 am: Session #2  (Dr. Ben Merkle)

  • 11:30 am: Lunch (OFF SITE)

  • 1:00 pm: Session #3 (Dr. Ben Merkle)

  • 2:00 pm: Break

  • 2:20 pm: Panel Discussion + Q&A

  • 3:00 pm: Closing

For more information about the event and group rate ticket prices please contact

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