2017 Conference – When the Church Was a Family

A BER Conference

This conference took place March 25, 2017

See below for recordings.

Why a plurality of elders? Why does God want his church led by a plurality of leaders, rather than a single individual?

The answer lies in the nature of the church itself. In the midst of a lonely world where increasingly people are feeling disconnected and isolated, the church is a family. God designed us to be in community with him and with our brothers and sisters in Christ. And that goes for church elders, as well. Only a church leader who is deeply engaged relationally with his fellow-leaders has the genuine credibility necessary to challenge his people to love one another.

In this series of messages, Dr. Joseph Hellerman will explore with us the image of the church as a family, drawing upon his book, When The Church Was A Family.  We will revisit some familiar passages in the Bible with the help of ancient cultural values and early church practices. We will then consider the implications of a relational—versus institutional—model of church for relationships among a team of elders or leaders.

PPT Slides

Lecture Notes

Discussion Questions


Session 1 — The Church As A Strong-Group Family
The Value Of Cultural Analysis For Biblical Interpretation

Session 2 — I Am My Brother’s Keeper
Relational Solidarity In The Early Christian Church

Session 3 — Pastors Without Friends
Unhealthy Trends In Contemporary Church Life

Session 4 — Benefits Of A Community Of Leaders
Embracing Shared Ministry

Session 5 – Q & A