When John Stott wrote in 2007 that “There is no biblical warrant for the so-called one-man band, in which a single pastor, like a single musician, plays all the instruments,” he was not presenting a new idea; both he and David Watson had been saying this for decades. Is there an authentically Anglican and evangelical remedy to the unbiblical pattern of a solo pastorate?
Anglican evangelicals seem to be caught in a dilemma: on the one hand our biblical convictions persuade us that the leadership of the local church is rightly plural. On the other hand we espouse a church polity in which the prime ordained leader is normally a sole pastor over a congregation. Is it possible to be both biblical and Anglican with respect to plural leadership? Can it be done, and if so, how?
Those were the questions behind Anglican Elders? Locally shared pastoral leadership in English Anglican Churches. In this Latimer Study I briefly survey the biblical material and examine how Anglican and other evangelicals have historically understood it to apply to local church leadership. In order to see what this looks like in practice, I spoke to nine church leaders who have established a ministry leadership team along these lines. I learned that there is no single pattern. There are, however, common patterns of working that characterise healthy shared local leadership. A final section of practical proposals suggests how a ministry leadership team might sit within the established structures of an Anglican church, including the churchwardens and PCC.
The result is a short book that I hope is practical and heart-warming. It certainly made me think more carefully about the privilege of pastoral care.