Eldership at the Lord's Table
The communion service is the core of worship in the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ). The elders offer individual prayers of thanksgiving to God, expressing themes such as the broken body of Christ symbolized by the bread and his shed blood represented by the wine. After serving all the participants, the elders and deacons return to their places in the congregation. This simple yet reverent service is repeated weekly in thousands of congregations.
What sets the Disciples' communion service apart is that it does not require an ordained priest or minister. The service is typically led by elected elders who fulfill various ministerial roles within the congregation, including teaching, guiding, counseling, shepherding, and guarding the faith.
To fully appreciate and understand the concept of eldership within the Disciples tradition, it is necessary to study its historical development and influences. The course "Disciples Eldership: A Quest for Identity and Ministry" explores the nature of the eldership and equip students with the knowledge and skills for effective ministry.