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Recognizing Elders

July 27, 2009

Alan Knox recently described how his church is attempting to recognize elders. We recognized the elders in our church in a very similar fashion. I believe the overall health of local churches would change drastically if we followed the biblical practice of recognizing elders who are actually known by the congregation, have proven their quality, and whom the congregation believes has been called by God to shepherd.

One Comment leave one →
  1. Jeff Richardson permalink
    November 12, 2009 2:10 pm

    I couldn’t agree more. Far too often, (especially in the world of the mega-church) the elders are unknown decision and policy makers who expect (or demand) obedience based upon a misinterpretation of word “peitho” in Hebrews 13:17. As Alexander Strauch wrote, the use of the Greek word is in a passive-imperative form, that does imply “blind obedience” but rather permitting oneself to be persuaded, and to subsequently follow willingly.

    If we are in fact, only metaphoric sheep, then we have a personal responsibility to God and ourselves to only follow leaders whom we (personally) know to meet the biblical standards of eldership. This is impossible in situations where the elders are far removed from the congregation, and where their conduct and decisions are unknown to the followers.

    Instead, modern, consumeristic congregants too often abdicate all responsibility for the leadership and wellbeing of the church to professional pastors and elders; expecting to receive the benefits of living in a community of believers, but refusing to accept even the minor responsibility of knowing who is is that they follow. As it happens, there is no apparent shortage of “leaders” who will readily embrace responsibility for church governance, when it comes without any accountability to the congregation.

    Sadly, in the names of excellence,expedience, and growth, congregations are often encouraged to mind their own business, because as everyone knows… “the business of the church is none of the business of the church”.

    Jeff Richardson

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