Better Church Elders Episode 2

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Better Church Elders Episode 2: Eldership and Governance

What is it that makes good governance? What do governors actually do?


An 18-minute conversation online between Charles Hewlett and Mel Wilson.



As an eldership or board, discuss the following question together after watching the video:

  1. Talk about what makes good governance. What are some of the things your eldership group is doing well?
    Talk about what makes bad governance. What are some of the things your Eldership group is/isn’t doing that hinders good governance?
    (Are there any elephants in your room?)
  2. Discus the concept of stewardship versus ownership. For the question: “who are we stewarding this for?” consider your stewardship as Elders for: current members, future members, current young people, etc.
  3. Legally [in New Zealand] church Elders have certain compliance expectations. Discus this within your eldership group. If you’re not sure of the law, set someone the task to find out and report back.


Here is one activity for your eldership team to complete:

Either do this now, or set some time aside when you next gather: Go around the room and explain why you’re on this eldership or board group. Talk about how you are contributing to the mission of this church.

Now as a group, start developing a skills based matrix of your current group of Elders – get someone to draw it up on a piece of paper, or open a new spreadsheet on a computer or device… In a column down the left list skills/gifting/character, then add columns across the page – one for each Elder or board member… Focus on one person at a time and as a group list what you see each person bringing to the group – let this be an encouraging and affirming exercise!

Now, from what you know of the needs of the church from a governance perspective, is there anything missing within your current Eldership group skills matrix?

Another thing to consider around this is succession planning: How are we looking to develop new leaders who can continue our role in years to come?


If you would like to go a little deeper with this topic, Mel Wilson recommends reading chapter 7 of the book: Good Governance is worth the effort – a handbook for Christian charities and churches in Aotearoa, by Martyn Norrie (2019, Archer Press). In fact, Mel recommends you purchase the book. This reading is a 6-page PDF that can be downloaded by clicking on the link below.

How do we inspire and motivate? (Ch 7, Good governance is worth the effort by Martyn Norrie, 2019)

You can purchase the book, Good governance is worth the effort – a handbook for Christian charities and churches in Aotearoa, by Martyn Norrie (2019) online here:

Archer Press