Series: Elders SHOPNOTES: A Collection of Essays

Elders SHOPNOTES: A Collection of Essays: Volume 4: Practical Ministry

Chuck Gianotti Jack Spender


This particular volume which you have in your hands, “Practical Ministry & Studies in 2 Timothy”, is comprised of essays on the leadership in the local church. Not meant to be exhaustive in covering everything on the subject, we have sought here to address some of the issues we have come across in our travels among God’s people and elders in various places.

Going back over the first three volumes, it is increasingly apparent that a plan is unfolding: the essays are moving from foundational to practical. No doubt those who are laying out the content of each volume have a part in this, but Elders’ Shop- Notes, having been consecrated to the Lord from the outset, displays His guiding hand in the background. And isn’t that the way many of the New Testament epistles are designed: doctrinal/foundational and then practical application?

The content of this fourth volume leans heavily toward the “hands on” information that many elders are requesting in order to serve the people of God. Subjects like “Conducting a baptism”, “Visiting the sick”, and “Arranging for ministry in the assembly” are about as relevant as one can get in helping elders function effectively. Other essays incorporate a bit more theory, for example, “When is a man ready to be an elder” or the two part series on “Excellence in preaching”. But overall this volume has to do with the practical side of the shepherding work of elders.

Years ago, a conference speaker referring to the need for a plurality of elders in the church used the expression “decentralized pastoral care”. I wasn’t sure how I felt about such an (unusual) expression. But over time it has become clear that that’s exactly what God purposed, however you word it: seeing the saints equipped to do the work of the ministry according to the gifts God has given, and the older men of the congregation – elders – taking the lead in this good work. To all who are so engaged, this volume is affectionately dedicated with the prayer that it will edify and encourage.

I’d like to take this opportunity to say a word of thanks to Chuck Gianotti, who has been a loyal friend, patient teacher, and benevolent critic, holding firmly (as he ought) to the original vision for Elders’ ShopNotes as mentioned in Volume I. Many thanks Chuck! Thanks, too, to the folks at Everyday Publications for their encouragement to us who write, and for their vision of providing helpful literature for the Lord’s work in far away lands.

Jack Spender

Chuck Gianotti

Chuck Gianotti, Th.M. (Dallas Theological Seminary), elder, teacher, team member of Biblical Eldership Resources, author, itinerate preacher, husband of the love of his life–Mary, a father of two grown children, grandfather, canoeing aficionado, outdoor enthusiast, woodworker.

Jack Spender

Jack came to know the Lord Jesus at age 7 at Camp Berea (NH); He and his wife Ruth have been Serving full time in the Lord’s work since 1972. Jack’s main efforts have been in planting new assemblies, Bible teaching, discipleship and leadership training. They live in Bethany Conneticut.

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