“Obey your leaders and submit to their authority.” ~Hebrews 13:17
Yield to their authority and respect their position. If you go back to verse 7 we see that these elders, these leaders, were the ones who had taught these Christians. They were the teachers. And they were living such exemplary lives of faith that the members of the congregation were told to imitate that faith. Follow the example of the godly lives of their leaders. Live like they’re living. And, yes, the elders are told they will have to give an account, not for the church finances or the proper use of the church gym, but for what they’re teaching and how they’re living their lives. And as the flock of these shepherds, we are to be open and accepting of their teaching and eager to imitate their examples.
But here’s the real thing. And here’s the crux of what we did yesterday at Legacy.
My concern with the elders is usually, “How are they treating me?”
And the answer, once I think about it, is always, “Better than I deserve.”
And the same goes for you.
You are more important to your elders than you know. They love you. They pray for you. They think about you. They wonder how to better serve you. They agonize over your soul. Every single day they wake up, completely aware of their limitations to perform the difficult task of shepherding a flock of believers, and it’s a tremendous burden. And they pray and they cry and they study and they grieve. And they pour their lives out for us. They sacrifice time with their families and work and vacation. They agonize over our souls. Did I already say that?
They would die for you. They would.
And yesterday we took a few minutes to pray over our elders. We drug our elders and our wives into the three center aisles and we prayed over them. The whole church. We got up out of our pews and walked over to our eleven elders (Jerry, wish you were here) and put our hands on them and our arms around each other and lifted them up to our God. Eleven big groups of loving brothers and sisters praying out loud for our Father to shower our leaders with his richest blessings of mercy and love and wisdom and strength. One of those memorable moments that I think was wonderful for our elders and for the church. Lots of tears. Lots of smiles. Lots of hugs. Lots of pats on the back. And a realization of the burden our shepherds carry and the church’s responsibility to help them carry it by encouraging them and making their difficult tasks a joy and not a burden.
Hug your elder today. Send him a card or an email. Love him. And try to make his job easier.
I’ve got very little to say about the Cowboys game last night since I just saw the second half in our hotel room last night after the opening keynote at the ACU Lectureships here in Abilene. Maybe the Eagles have a pretty good offense. Maybe the Cowboys defense is better than we thought. Maybe Aaron Rodgers is already done. I don’t know. I wasn’t really able to pay much attention.
The blogging will be sporadic this week. Hang with me. The “KK&C Top 20 College Football Poll” will be released late Tuesday night / early Wednesday morning.
Allright, a couple of things:
I know it’s been a while, but I need to humbly remind everyone of the rules. My intention is to always delete anonymous comments. I’ve had that policy and maintained it for a year and a half on this blog for many reasons. Anonymous comments foster suspicion and mistrust. Most of the things we talk about here are emotional (the Kingdom, the Kids, and the Cowboys? OK, you’re right. It’s ALL emotional). And so we need all the posters and those making comment to at least identify themselves. That keeps us all on the up and up and keeps things civil and honest and safe. I left the comment from “An Observer” up there because she at least gave me an email address and I could check it out. This latest one today, I don’t know. No email address. I can’t even check it out. I’ll leave it up. I will respond to the comment and answer the questions. But I’m going to remove the anonymous comment Tuesday afternoon. Thank you for understanding.
I can’t really respond to the part of the comment regarding our church website or the order of things listed on the website. Please understand our church website is a work in progress. To draw conclusions about the leadership structure at Legacy based on the size of the buttons or the font on our webpages would be way outside the bounds of reason.
As for elders filling coke machines and fixing leaky sinks and being responsible for thermostats and classroom space, I stand by my preaching of my understanding on that. Those are not tasks for our shepherds. If they are called by God’s Holy Spirit to teach and to pray and to give an account to the Lord for what they teach and how they live their lives as Christ-like examples for the flock and to be alert and wide awake to the wolves and the dogs and the prowling lions, and if that’s what the congregation has called them to do, then why and how could we ever with a good conscience dare to bog them down with nursery room deoderizers and fellowship center policies?
The comment regarding the need for correct contact information is valid. Not just valid, it’s dead-on right. When a member sees a door that needs repairing or a shrub that needs trimmed who are they going to call? If you look at our weekly bulletin, you’ll see a list of the elders and ministers. If you check our website you get the same thing, elders and ministers. Who else can you call? A huge board posted in the church building concourse and a highlighted page on our church website that lists all the deacons and their areas of administrative and maintenance responsibilities, along with their pictures and phone numbers and email addresses would go a long way toward helping our elders’ difficult task of shepherding be more of a joy and not a burden.
Peace from Abilene,
cool posting name and i really like the script – i agree with a lot of your points, particularly the lack of clear channels of communication. I won’t re-hash it here, however go see what i put up on Friday’s posting.
Elders are capable of cutting wood and are certainly not above it. In theory, I could teach a class or spiritually mentor someone (in theory only – they would never let it happen in real life). It’s more a matter of playing their position. This isn’t a 191 member church in Pecos where the elders knew everybody and did everything. The elders need to understand that and let go of some of logisitcal things they have held on to.
The members need to understand that there is a large group of deacons out there who can probably help them with their issue (probably with both the spiritual one yet certainly with the logistical/procedural one).
The deacons could do a better job of letting everyone know who they are and what they do. They were lined up and stretched across the holy gymatorium but I can only name a few. i know they have different colored named tags. Outside of a few, I don’t know who is charge of stuff.
I have to assume there is some organizational structure with the paid staff, yet I am purposefully ignorant on duties and responsibilities. But I do wonder who makes sure the water bill gets paid?
Thanks for posting up an HSO. Maybe some others will get in on the conversation.
“Who else can you call? A huge board posted in the church building concourse and a highlighted page on our church website that lists all the deacons and their areas of administrative and maintenance responsibilities, along with their pictures and phone numbers and email addresses would go a long way toward helping our elders’ difficult task of shepherding be more of a joy and not a burden.”
THAT is a GREAT idea!! Aaron and I were just talking the other day about some of the deacons and I was saying which one does what and he totally disagreed with me! We just laughed and said, “Man, if we don’t know this and are wondering, who else out there is asking the same questions?” It would go a LONG way into letting our Elders do more of their “shepherding” and everyone else working together! How cool would that be??
Have a fun trip to California!
The lesson Sunday was one of the best I’ve ever experienced concerning the role of Elders. I believe that any sermon that takes a shot at kicking the “politics” out of the Church and directs us back to the New Testament examples of Elder/member relationships is as good as gold( spiritually). As a preachers kid, I lived in a time in the Church when the “fish bowl” was a mainline of artificial expectations. I’m glad we are growing away from what I experienced in my youth. As we grow more spiritual I believe over emotioned reactions will diminish and be replaced be works of love.