The numbers on pastoral burnout are all too obvious. Most observers understand that even the most favorable numbers reflect a problem with the pastorate in the West. The answer to pastoral burnout is not found in  another program or another leadership conference. The answer to burnout is not more coaching or better education. The answer requires our churches change the very structures that foster isolation and burnout. If we hope to save our pastors, then we need our pastors to abandon the Pastor as CEO model of leadership. If we want to save our pastors, we need a systemic change in the way we plant, grow, and maintain our churches. Instead of putting a solo-leader at the top of Church Incorporated, we need to build teams of Elders, doing ministry together, as they lead the Family of God. Elders Lead A Healthy Family explores what the Bible teaches about shared leadership, Elders as the spiritual ‘Big Brothers’ and shepherds to the Family of God.

The book is for current and future Christian leaders; church planters, missionary-planters, bi-vocational pastors, students, and all those interested in reshaping leadership. This book will draw in readers interested in the organic church movement and young Christian readers frustrated with the celebrity-pastor culture.

Readers of Elders Lead A Healthy Family, will discover the power of shared leadership to strengthen our leaders and transform our churches into vibrant communities of Faith. Because the book will introduce them to a fresh approach to Church as a Family and the transformative power of biblical Eldership.


Dr. J.R. Miller’s Elders Lead a Healthy Family: Shared Leadership for a Vibrant Church is a refreshing alternative to the numerous familiar (and generally fruitless) attempts to baptize the pragmatic priorities of secular leadership theory into the waters of New Testament ecclesiology. For all the talk about community in our churches today, Joe reminds us that healthy relationships must begin at the top—with a community of leaders. This book is full of solid biblical teaching packaged in a winsome and appealing way, by a practitioner who has experienced the benefits of shared leadership first-hand. Elders Lead a Healthy Family ought to be required reading for vocational and non-vocational church leaders alike.

Joseph H. Hellerman, Ph.D.

Author of When the Church Was a Family

Elders Lead a Healthy Family: Shared Leadership for a Vibrant Church is a fascinating fresh look at church leadership. No one wants their sacred cows questioned, but that’s exactly what this book does. With excellent scholarship and personal stories, Dr. J.R. Miller builds a biblical case for elder-led churches. I love how Joe includes women in the discussion in a way that honors and elevates us. It’s a friendly, easy read, but one that will challenge assumptions and inspire every Christian to respond.

Lyn Smith

Bible Activist, Speaker, Author

This book by Dr. J.R. Miller is a helpful addition to books on the biblical vision of shared leadership. Not only does Miller weave in wisdom gained from his pastoral experience but he also treats sensitive topics with thoughtfulness and grace.  With so many churches defaulting to the CEO model of leadership, Elders Lead a Healthy Family: Shared Leadership for a Vibrant Church provides an alternate model to help churches, and church leaders, embrace God’s design of shared leadership.

Benjamin L. Merkle

Bible Activist, Speaker, Author

Dr. J.R. Miller is a rare combination of theorist/practitioner, except when you’re doing what you’re writing about, it stops being theory and starts becoming experience. I appreciate Joe’s well rounded approach to the subject of shared leadership; a heady piece with heart.

Peyton Jones

West Region Catalyst, SEND Network

Dr. J.R. Miller is a Professor of Applied Theology and Leadership & Dean of Online Learning at Southern California Seminary. Outside work, he is a church planter. Dr. Miller has a diverse educational background and authored multiple books on church history, biblical theology, and Leadership. Joe and his wife Suzanne enjoy the sun and surf with their 3 sons in San Diego, CA.

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