One of the frequent petitions I hear about elders in public prayers is, “Lord, bless our elders as they make their decisions.” I often cringe when I hear that. What about, “Bless our elders as they shepherd the flock; bless our elders as they set examples of excellence, dedication, service, and holiness; bless our elders as they discern and lead this church in a heavenly direction”?
But when you think about it, decisions our elders make are crucial. Not ones about whether to build or not to build, the color of the carpet, settings on thermostats (I think one of the qualifications of an elder should be he doesn’t know how to operate a thermostat), or the type and size of lawnmowers for church grass.
Some Decisions Elders Make Every Day
- To shepherd or do the work of a deacon. I hear many excuses about why elders are still doing the work of deacons years after they were appointed to shepherd the flock and know better. The reason is everybody (elders, deacons, and members) likes it the way it is better than what it would take to change it.
- To do the work of ministry or also equip others to do the work of ministry. Paul taught evangelists, pastors, and teachers to equip saints for the work of ministry — not do all the work themselves. (Ephesians 4:11-13).
- To mentor and train leaders or hope some show up when we need them. It’s too late to be alarmed over a lack of qualified men to lead two weeks before the day to appoint new elders and deacons. I believe each congregation has leaders they want, leaders they prayed for, leaders they trained. What planned development are you doing for elders and deacons now? What have you done in the last two years?
- To deal with difficult situations or ignore them. The Holy Spirit makes shepherds who will work with sheep. Sheep, by nature, are dependent, dirty, and disoriented. Sheep get in messy situations. Shepherds can continue to meet about the budget and complain how bad the world and brethren are or get into their spiritual ambulances and pick up the sheep who’ve wrecked on life’s highway. One is more comfortable for the moment. The other is the job description of a shepherd.
Others Who Are Making Important Decisions
“Bless our ______ as they make their decisions”
- Deacons decide if they’ll serve with excellence bringing glory to God or just take up space on the church bulletin — to do all the work they’ve been given or develop others in the work of ministry.
- Preachers decide if they’ll preach the truth with enthusiasm and conviction or look up a good sermon on the internet Saturday night and read it on Sunday morning. They decide by pain and hard work to develop a Christ-like attitude or do what comes naturally, which is often offensive.
- Parents decide if they’ll prayerfully put the priority on raising their children in the way of the Lord by example, teaching, and training or decide to make them popular and pleasing to the world of sports and entertainment.
- Young people are making decisions about serving God, their occupations, marriage, and morals. In the next ten years, decisions of our teens will probably have a greater impact on the church in the next ﬁfty years than decisions of our elders.
- Bible teachers decide if they’ll prepare their lessons well, live a good life, be a worthy example, and be interested in teaching individuals not just filling time for forty-five minutes.
- Every Christian decides if his or her emphasis concerning God is to be faithful, prayerful, hungering and thirsting for righteousness, or if a little religion is good for a well-rounded life.
- We all decide, either on purpose or by default, how we relate to fellow Christians in encouragement, happiness, sorrow, and conflict.
Who do you want God to “bless as they make their decisions”?
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