Eldership and Church Governance

Introduction and General Resources

The Eldership and Church Governance Framework is designed to provide a church leadership with support and resources to meet their governance and leadership responsibilities. The framework is split into three broad categories or governance themes that an eldership must take responsibility for within their church community:

  • A Christ-centred Community
  • A Well-led Community
  • A Safe and Legal Community

In each category you will find a list of governance responsibilities accompanied by document templates and examples and a list of training and support resources. Read the Spiritual Leadership:Eldership and Church Governance Framework document to help understand the intent behind and principles underpinning the framework and to see a detailed table of all governance responsibilities for each category.

General Resources

The following general resources provide the overview of the key governance principles and responsibilities for church elders.

Contact the Church and Community Engagement Team at churchsupport@cofcqld.com.au or 1800 193 438 with any questions or for consultancy support.

Christ-centred Community

Leaders of a Christ-centred community ask the questions: are we relating and leading the way Jesus would and is our church culture honouring God? The four key governance responsibilities of the Eldership in this area cover high level pastoral issues, significant theological issues, conflict and relational unity and spiritual oversight.

High level pastoral issues

Providing advice to the Ministry Team Leader on high level pastoral issues and managing the risk of the congregation being negatively impacted by high profile cases.

  • Example High Level Pastoral Issues Procedure (pending)
  • Example Privacy and Confidentiality Policy (pending)

Training resources and support

  • List of referral options for support (pending)

Significant theological issues

Resources on how to research, debate and provide a position on issues that have the potential to create division and relational pain in the church.

Training resources and support

  • To be provided

Conflict and relational unity

Un-resolved or poorly resolved conflict will have a detrimental impact on the culture of the community and compromise its capacity to fulfil its mission. Complaints and conflict procedures will help the community maintain unity.

•    Example conflict management procedure (pending)
•    Example complaints handling procedure (pending)

Training resources and support

  • To be provided

Spiritual oversight

In a church the elders are responsible for setting expectations for the Spiritual formation of the community. Provide spiritual oversight of the church by setting an example of Christ-likeness and take a “God first” approach to church life, including regular prayer together.

  • Example values statement (pending)

Training resources and support

  • To be provided


Safe and Legal Community

The Eldership is responsible for putting measures in place to ensure that the church is safe for everyone involved and that its legal responsibilities are being met. A safe church will have safe people, places and programs.

Safe People and Safe Places

Industrial relations (staffing)

Policies help to ensure all relevant Industrial Relations responsibilities are met in relation to all staff and volunteers.

Training resources and support

External reporting

Oversee any reporting requirements to external entities including Australian Charities and Not-for-Profits Commission (ACNC) and Churches of Christ in Queensland.

Training resources and support

  • Explore the information on the Australian Charities and Not-for-Profits Commission (ACNC), specifically the Manage Your Charity section

Church Constitution

Ensure the constitution is current, clear and followed in decision making by the governance group and the church members.

Training resources and support

Privacy and confidentiality

Ensure the church complies with privacy legislation and treats confidential information correctly.

  • Example Privacy and Confidentiality Policy (pending)

Training resources and support

  • To be provided


Well Led Community

The eldership is responsible for ensuring the church community is well led. This includes establishment and regular review of the mission and vision of the church, empowering and supporting the Ministry Team Leader, approving the annual budget, understanding the governance role of the eldership as distinguished from ministry and operational decisions, and selection, induction and training of elders/board members.

Appointment of Minister

Run a clear process for selection of a new Ministry Team Leader and recommend the appointment to the church.

  • Example constitution template – outlines the elders’ responsibility to run the Ministry Team Leader selection process
  • Example process for clarifying the type of Ministry Team Leader being sought (pending)

Training resources and support

Ministry Team Leader support and evaluation

Empower the Ministry Team Leader's performance, support their ministry and evaluate regularly.

  • Example constitution template
  • Example Ministry Team Leader position description (pending)
  • Example annual performance review process (pending)
  • Example annual performance review documentation (pending)
  • Example decision making authority of Ministry Team Leader document (pending)

Training resources and support

  • To be provided

Mission and Vision

Facilitate a process to clarify the church’s mission and vision and evaluate progress regularly.

Training resources and support

  • To be provided

Budget and finances

Approve a budget that reflects ministry priorities, monitors financial viability and protects the assets of the church.

  • Example procedure for setting and approving annual budgets (pending)
  • Example monthly financial reports (pending)

Training resources and support

  • To be provided

Congregational meetings

The elders are responsible for and to the church congregation and so lead congregational meetings. Lead congregational meetings so they are unifying and focus on key church wide issues.

Training resources and support

  • To be provided

New elders/board members

Oversee the selection, induction and training of board members.

  • Example constitution template
  • Example process for selection of new board members (pending)
  • Example process for board member induction (pending)
  • Example advice for office-bearers (pending)

Training resources and support

  • Annual training for church boards offered by CMA in Brisbane [live link underlined text to: http://www.cma.net.au/]

Evaluate the performance of the board

Evaluate the performance of the board and ensure that elders are being training in all issues of governance and leadership.

  • Example process for Board review (pending)

Training resources and support