bits from bob....

Elders--Part 2

by Robert J. Young
©, 2001, Robert J. Young
[permission is given to reprint with credit noted]

Elders wear many hats in most of our churches. Elders ought to wear some hats they do not wear; elders ought not to wear some hats they do wear. There is a work elders (bishops- shepherds) are to do. No one can do it for them.

Sometimes elders are so busy doing the work that is not theirs to do that they cannot find time to do the work that is theirs to do. We must heed God's Word and learn and do what God wants us to do. Church organization is more than having the right names; it is doing the work in the way God directs.

One difficulty is focused by the fact that we almost exclusively use the term elders. Elders is only one of at least three different ways the Bible refers to these men who serve as leaders in God's church. The previous article demonstrated that elders is reflected in our practice, for many elders are almost exclusively decision makers. Unfortunately, these men seldom get involved in the other tasks God has given them to do.

I wonder if more elders would oversee if we called them bishops. I wonder if more elders would pastor if we called them shepherds. (Incidentally, we might also find more understanding among those religious neighbors who cannot understand why we don't have ‘pastors.' We do, but we seldom call them that!) Let's help elders do the work God has given them to do.

Certainly this is not everything the Bible says about elders. It is part of it; it is an important segment of Scripture. Let's appoint Scriptural elders. Let's encourage men to qualify themselves as elders. Let's return to our elders the job God has given them to do. Let's insist that they leave the deacons' jobs to the deacons. Let's insist that the preacher do what God has given him to do. The church will be stronger; the church will grow.

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Last updated November 23, 2001.