Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Elders as Spiritual Leaders

In the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) the elders are suppose to be the spiritual leaders of the congregation. More often than not they are the business leaders of the church. Many years ago my dad served several terms as an elder in a Presbyterian church—I don’t believe he was a Christian at the time. If he was a Christian there was absolutely NO evidence of it. He definitely was not a spiritual leader in the church. Today, my dad is a believer and could serve as an elder if he attended a Presbyterian church. His case is not a rarity. In past years our Nominating Committee has come to me with the list of the people they were considering asking to serve as elders. Several times their list had people on it who attended church less that four times a year! I asked them how a person could serve as a spiritual leader in the congregation when they didn’t even qualify as a “regular attender.” The secret to having a strong church is to have the elders be the spiritual leaders of the congregation. Additionally, I believe that the elders are to be on the front lines in dealing with the demonic beings in the spiritual realm.

I meet with a group of Presbyterian pastors every month for prayer and fellowship. Several years ago one of those pastors called me and asked for my help in dealing with a demonic situation. I suggested that he get his elders involved (exactly how I will deal with tomorrow). He checked with his elders and found out that only two of them even believed that there was a Satan, demons or spiritual forces for evil! I took the elders from my church to join with that pastor and the “believing” elders from his church to confront the situation. You see, the elders from his church were the business leaders of the church—not the spiritual leaders.

Our session spends almost as much time in study and prayer as it does in the business part of the meeting. We make a conscious effort to be the spiritual leaders. Our nominating committee now looks at the spiritual growth and development of a person before that person is asked to serve as an elder or deacon. Last year they left one position vacant due to the lack of sufficient candidates. (Note: That doesn’t mean that we have so few people who are spiritually mature that we couldn’t fill all of our positions. Lots of criteria are looked at: including spiritual gifts, talents, how involved a person is in other ministries, etc.) Our church’s elders MUST be the spiritual leaders of the church. Period!

3 Comments:

At 9:31 AM , Blogger Michael W. Kruse said...

Great post Lance!

 
At 7:40 PM , Blogger Quotidian Grace said...

What Kruse said. Very insightful.

 
At 7:39 PM , Anonymous Jim Loughlin said...

One approach that seems to work well for us (Kirk of the Hills) is that we have separate boards for Elders and Trustess with a few Elder/Trustees. I realize we have a large church and a larger pool of resources. What I like about it is that the Trustees are focused on the business of the church and the Elders are focused on the spirituality of the church. There are times when the Trustees responsibly have said "that's not in the budget" and the Elders have faithfully responded "we are going to step out in faith on this". However, more often than not the Elders heed the guidance of the Trustees.

 

Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home