What Is ELI?
Elder Leadership Institute (ELI) is a church leadership training program in the Reformed tradition. ELI develops and supports spiritual leadership for the church by training ruling elders (members of Session) together with their teaching elder (pastor).
ELI’s goal is transformation, not simply information. ELI participants experience how to live and function as elders according to the model set forth in the New Testament. Every elder engages in a three-four month Preparatory phase, followed by an Equipping phase. The Equipping phase is 12 months for Year One, with optional continuation of Years Two and Three (years 2 and 3 are not yet available and are still in development.) for a total of 36 teaching units for the full Session rotation.
An additional Immersion Retreat provides a retreat in spiritual formation and disciple making for the pastor and two to five ruling elders.
This post-Christian age provides the church with a great opportunity. Cultural attitudes of relativism, pluralism and tolerance challenge church leaders to renew their commitment to be disciples and to make disciples. Throughout history, when the church seemed to be losing ground, lay movements have surfaced to help the church rediscover the gospel and its power for life and mission.
The church requires that ruling elders and pastors provide spiritual leadership. When the church began, Jesus appointed the apostles. The apostles then trained elders to carry on the ministry that was started in each place. Today’s church needs ruling elders who can not only set goals, discern needs, manage budgets, and oversee programs: the church needs humble leaders whose lives reflect a growing relationship with God, a working knowledge of Scripture and theology, church history and missional strategies in their desire to glorify God through a transformational church.
It is never easy to find such leaders, and in today’s post-Christian culture, there are no assumptions that professing Christians possess the core content and practice of the historical Christian faith.
ELI's purpose and desire is to help participants understand:
1) God Calls Elders to Read All Life Redemptively: a focus on Scripture and church history.
2) God Calls Elders to Share All Life with God: a focus on spiritual disciplines and development of a Rule of Life.
3) God Calls Elders to Lead as Functionally Mature Believers: focus on leadership principles, marks of maturity and essential tenets of the Reformed faith.
4) God Calls Elders to Become and Make Disciples: focus on post-Christian context, the missional church, discipleship/disciple making and leading through adaptive change.
5) God Calls Elders Together to Share God's Life and Mission in the World: a whole-life strategy.
ELI is a ministry of Flourish. It is the mission of Flourish to help all churches and leaders flourish: making strong disciples of Jesus Christ through offering in-depth support services, resources and training.