No one in Seventh-day Adventist churches, besides the pastor, has more influence than an elder. Who better, then, to provide insight into the best ways to support our pastors? With that in mind, OUTLOOK editor Martin Weber asked each president of Mid-America’s six conferences to select two elders—one from a larger church and another from a smaller church—who represent the excellence and spirituality of their calling. Eleven responded to our request for an interview. In this nine-part series, these elders share their visions for how lay leaders and members can support and work with pastors in a practical experience of wholeness and growth in our churches. Click on the questions below to read their comments.

#1) You have been chosen by your conference president as being an exemplary local church elder. What does this mean to you?

#2) What do you enjoy most about your responsibilities as an elder?

#3) What’s your greatest challenge?

#4) As pastors come and go within a congregation, head elders can provide long-term leadership continuity. They can be the bridge between the pastor and the community, particularly in the pastor’s first year in a church. How do you help a new pastor connect with people in your church and community?

#5) What is one way in which you help your pastor facilitate discipleship and equip your congregation for ministry?

#6) All families have relational struggles, including the family of God. Church conflict may place pastors in opposition to their members. Elders often serve a vital role as peacemakers. Share one bit of advice for your fellow elders in resolving such potentially explosive situation.

#7) My research has shown that how a congregation treats the pastor’s family is a huge factor in whether the pastor’s children will remain in the church. What is something your congregation does to help your pastor’s family feel welcomed, accepted and appreciated?

#8) What do you think is the most helpful thing you do for your pastor?

#9) What is the best thing a congregation can do to show support for their pastor?