I wish our elders did more ___________, and less _____________.
I’d love to see all our members complete this sentence according to their personal desires and hopes for God’s Church. According to their own frustrations. According to the ways they interpret Holy Scripture and see it applied at the congregational level.
And then I’d love to see all our elders complete the exact same sentence according to their personal desires and hopes for the Church and according to their own frustrations, according to the ways they interpret the Bible and see it applied at the congregational level.
And I promise we wouldn’t be able to tell which sentences were completed by the members and which ones were completed by the elders. They would look exactly the same. Exactly.
We all claim to want a group of spiritual shepherds, not a board of directors. But then we bog them down with questions and complaints about air conditioners and classroom space, bulletin boards and coke machines. And our elders, feeling those unrealistic expectations from the church to know everything and fix every problem, allow themselves to be weighed down by those unnecessary burdens. And we’re nurturing an unhealthy culture that prompts some of our very best men to say, “I can be a better shepherd if I’m not an elder.”
What a strange relationship between a congregation and its elders. What weird dynamics are involved when everyone in the equation wants one thing but act in ways that make that one thing nearly impossible to achieve.
Changing that culture won’t be easy. We’re up against decades and decades of tradition and policy. But the conversation here at Legacy starts this Sunday.
We’ll examine the relationships and the responsibilities between a church and its elders. Does your relationship with an elder make his job easier or more difficult? After a conversation with you, does an elder have a song in his heart or is he groaning? Elders who are frustrated because administrative matters are crowding out the spiritual duties, why do you allow it to happen?
It’s a two-way street. It’s a mutually encouraging relationship with mutually spiritual responsibilities between a congregation and its elders. And it’s up to the entire church—members and elders alike—to make the work of shepherding a joy and not a burden.
Fill in the blanks.
Now, Mr. Elder, what are you doing to make that dream a reality? Mr. or Ms. Member, what are you doing to make it happen?