Jump Starts Daily

Jump Start #3551

Jump Start # 3551

Acts 14:23 “When they had appointed elders for them in every church, having prayed with fasting, they commended them to the Lord in whom they had believed.”

  I was asked recently to teach a men’s class in another city about the important topic of “Preparing to be an elder.” Leadership among God’s people is necessary and something that many do not put much emphasis upon. God has always led His people. Moses & Joshua, the Judges, the kings, the prophets, the apostles, our Lord and today, through shepherds, God provides leaders to help guide His people safely through the jungle of culture and fear.

  In working up some material, I presented the idea that many do not have this on their radar. It never crosses their mind to serve this way. Many don’t want to. In congregation after congregation, men are asked if they will do the work of a shepherd, and so many refuse. They want no part of it. This decision often hurts the church. It sends an unpleasant message among the people.

  Why is it that some do not want to do this noble work of leading the people of God? Here is what I came up with:

  First, some have seen the negative ways elders are treated. Such not only is shameful, but wrong. If someone is not doing the work properly, the other shepherds ought to talk to that person. But, most times, that is not the case. Complaining members are given the freedom to gossip and trash talk the leaders of God’s kingdom.

  If David refused to kill King Saul, who was trying to kill him, because Saul was God’s anointed, what will the Lord think about our grumbling and griping about the elders? There is a path to follow if there are accusations to be brought against an elder. Most don’t want to do that. They’d just rather talk to one another about how they don’t like the elders. Such sins, and that’s what that is, will not go unnoticed by our Lord. It’s time for the people of God to refuse to listen to such things. Be Biblical or be still.

  Second, some have seen the ugly approach to appointing elders. Much too often the process is started with the idea that we must find something negative about the man who may be an elder. Just like in the political arena, the ground is scratched and scratched until enough dirt is found that the man withdraws his name, hurt, disappointed and disillusioned. If these things people say are true, why hasn’t anyone said anything before now? Again, too many are not following the Biblical pattern of how to deal with one another and they demonstrate a lack of compassion toward one of God’s children.

  It seems that many have stopped growing in their faith and learning of God’s word. They have the basics down for salvation and worship and beyond that, they stumble through life ignoring plain Bible teachings on such things.

  Third, there is a major misunderstanding about the role of shepherds. Some see it as the stressful job of taking care of the building, paying bills and once or twice a year figuring out who will hold a gospel meeting. Running the church is not the role of elders. Jesus runs the church. Elders are not at the top, Jesus is. Aside from running through the qualifications or qualities of a bishop, only when someone wants to be appointed, the role, work and relationship of shepherds to God’s church is gravely ignored. I know this because I’m asked to go to so many places and teach upon this. I know this because of what I see and hear in so many places.

  Having a special study for the entire church on the leadership roles is something that ought to be done once a year. Layers upon layers of lessons can be looked at and explored. Young people need to see that it is such an honor to lead the people of God. One finds himself in the crowd of other leaders, such as, Moses and Joshua, the Judges, the Kings, the apostles and even our Lord. God has always provided leaders for His people.

  Leading the people of God and protecting those people is such a noble task. It should be held in the highest respect. It ought to be one of the highlights of a congregation’s history when shepherds are appointed. What we think and say about God’s shepherds can encourage or discourage others from ever serving.

  In our next Jump Start, we will explore the steps to prepare to be an elder.