Biblically, a church is commanded by God to have elders, and the qualifications for such an office are outlined in 1 Timothy 3 and Titus 1 This office is an overseeing and shepherding office designed to “keep watch over your souls” (Hebrews 13:17). With as much ink as the Bible gives to both examples and qualifications, it is astounding how many churches disregard the office.
Listen to a few of the dozen plus examples in scripture:
- Acts 20:28 “Pay careful attention to yourselves and to all the flock, in which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to care for the church of God, which he obtained with his own blood.”
- James 5:14 “Is anyone among you sick? Let him call for the elders of the church, and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord.”
- 1 Peter 5:2 “Shepherd the flock of God that is among you, exercising oversight, not under compulsion, but willingly, as God would have you; not for shameful gain”
I thought we already had elders…
Evident Grace launched with me (Gordon) as your Teaching Elder (TE) and an appointed group of elders from other churches, but we are now at the stage of moving from that oversight to an oversight of me and a group of Ruling Elders (RE) coming from within our own congregation.
What can we expect from our new elders? What does it look like for elders to shepherd, oversee, and govern? While there are many resources to inform this thought, we have been following the ideas set forward in a great book called, “The Shepherd Leader”.
Prayerfully, this is what you can hope for…
Knowing, Feeding, Leading, and Protecting
An elder will know the church, specifically the members of which he is called to care. No one, including myself, can know every person at the church intimately, but an elder should make every effort to know as many people as possible. Additionally, as each elder is seeking to care for a smaller, more specific, part of the church, he should know them, their families, and their needs very well. Caring for them should be based on personal interactions with them throughout the month.
An elder will feed the church, specifically in teaching. EG will now have multiple, faithful teachers who have endured faithful, grueling challenges to be proven faithful teachers. You can look forward to their teaching in both public arenas like our worship service and in smaller arenas like our (eg)Groups.
An elder will lead the church, specifically in the area of leading the vision of Community, Worship, and Service. They will co-create plans and programs that will lead you in that direction through all that we do.
An elder will protect the church, specifically in the areas of identifying and teaching the church against cultural wolves and protecting the church in church discipline. Each elder will work to be aware of what is going on in our local community and even the larger world scale. They will also work to protect our members from areas of sin and work to protect the church when they do.
This listing and description is daunting and impossible apart from the grace of God. But we are gifted with a few men who are willing to undertake this calling under the power of the Gospel. With Christ as our Chief Elder, you can expect this level of care, and these men can expect to lead you with your full hope and partnership.
Pray for our men as they go through their testing and preparation for ordination. We will keep you updated as they make their progress.