Eldership in Action: Through Biblical Governance of the Church


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Eldership in Action:

Through Biblical Governance of the Church




Richard H. Swartley


6″ x 9″


This insightful resource explains in detail how a church can be truly biblical in its governance and leadership, while simultaneously fulfilling the Great Commission.


The focus is on the elders’ collective responsibilities as well as practical aspects of putting biblical structures and methods to work. Also explored are implementation techniques: from the small church, to the church plant, to the large church with many members and ministries.



Richard Swartley (MDiv., Fuller Theological Seminary, 1959 B.A., John Hopkins University, 1956) is also the author of Marriage Preparation: How to Give Couples the Right Start and A Wolf in the Pulpit: The Setup for Moral Failure and the Abuse of Power; and coauthor with Alexander Strauch of The Mentor’s Guide to Biblical Eldership. Richard Swartley has over 34 years experience in church leadership as a self-supported elder.

His secular fields were satellite communications equipment and, later, satellite systems engineering. Prior to early retirement in 1994, he managed a sixty-person satellite communications equipment engineering group, and later on worked as a senior systems engineer for technical intelligence systems. Concurrently,

Swartley served as one of the founding elders of what has now become a large, evangelical, non-denominational church in the Northeast. Over the course of his ministry there, he served many years as elder, including several periods as chairman of the elder board, and for a length of time on the elders’ staff relations committee.


Here’s What People Are Saying!

“Dick Swartley has spent a lifetime thinking about the issues of biblical church government, and has been at the forefront of establishing a biblically ordered church that has a worldwide outreach. He sets forth a positive, practical vision for effective church eldership. I highly recommend this valuable work as standard reading for church leaders. It fills a big gap.”

Alexander Strauch

author of Biblical Eldership

“I have not read any other book on church leadership and governing that so fully integrates the biblical and wisely practical! It will be immensely helpful to those who will have to give an account to Jesus Christ for their leadership role in this Church.

Walt Russell

Ph.D., Professor of New Testament,

Talbot School of Theology

“While there are good books on the theology of eldership, Dick Swartley’s work carefully addresses the practice of eldership. It is clarifying, challenging, and convincing, and I commend its common sense linking of solid biblical insight with the real-life struggles those of us in church leadership all share.

Doug Goins

Peninsula Bible Church,

Palo Alto, California


“I have thoroughly enjoyed Eldership in Action. This is a very practical book which builds on other already published conceptual and theological works.

I like the way that Dick Swartley has taken the broad theological concepts found in other works and presented ways to implement them in a workable model for local churches, both large and small. His practical insights into how to deal with the many issues that an individual or group of elders encounters in their continual struggle to lead a congregation should be very helpful.

Kenneth W. Murray

Director, Emmaus Ministry Resources

Emmaus Bible College



Chapter 1  Biblical Eldership

Chapter 2  Biblical Governance

Chapter 3  The Elder

Chapter 4  The elder Council

Chapter 5  Planning

Chapter 6  Council Decisions

Chapter 7  Efficient Council Meetings