Being healthy is important. Having elders in a local body who are servant focused, relational and filled with godly character are important elements to the overall healthy of the body of Christ.
What do elders do, you ask. Good question. In the simplest form, they point the church in healthy directions (the direction of Jesus) and invite them to follow along. Elders pray and know the Word of God as they encourage the body to move out in Biblical Truth (D), Relationships (N) and Mission (A).
Here are two things I'd ask you to pray for regarding elders.
1.) We could use lots of wisdom as we seek the face of God and point our community in the direction of health in Jesus Christ. Please pray for us to lead in a loving, servant filled manner.
2.) We desire for as many godly elders as God will raise up. There is no limit on how many elders a local church can our should have so we are always open to the Lord bringing more. Please pray that the elders will be among those who are equipping the body of Christ to functioning fully, in healthy ways so that every believer becomes strong in their faith, which will cause the whole body to be strong and healthy.
I also want you to know that our elders get together regularly and these get togethers are open to anyone who would like to join us. We WOULD like you to join us anytime you'd like. You can join in on our conversations, prayers and studies anytime and as often as you'd like. Just shoot an e-mail and we'll tell you the next time we are getting together.
The following thoughts on eldership are from a friend of mine, Traver Daughtery. I thought it may be helpful to see that our thinking regarding eldership is certainly not alone.
The Leadership of the Church
Before reading the following excerpt from Frank Viola's book, Rethinking the Wineskin, read Acts 20:17, 28, 29; 1 Peter 5:1-4; Titus 1:5-7.
The above texts plainly show that the oversight of the church was placed in the hands of a group of people called "elders." The Greek word translated "elder" (presbuteros) simply means a mature man.
Elders, therefore, were local men who were more spiritually advanced than the rest. An elder ought never to be thought of as an office that is held vacant until filled. On the contrary, the elders were simply brothers - older men.
They were also called "overseers." This is a term that describes their function of supervising the affairs of the church. They were also called "shepherds" (or in some translations, "pastors"). This shows that they were responsible for instructing and guarding the flock from spiritual predators.
While all elders were "apt to teach" and had the gift of shepherding, not all who shepherded and taught were elders (Titus 2:3, 4; 2 Timothy 2:2, 24; Hebrews 5:12). Teaching could come from any believer who had a word of instruction for the church (1 Corinthians 14:24-26).
Elders, then, were overseers and shepherds. The term "elder" refers to their character. The term "overseer" refers to their function. And the term "shepherd" refers to their gifting. Their chief responsibility was to supervise the believing community in times of crises.
It's important to note that the Bible is not opposed to solid Christian leadership; it is a gift to the church. Equally important to note, however, is that Christian leadership is different than worldly leadership; in other words, the CEO model has no place in the church. Hierarchy in the church simply isn't God's design (BTW, Viola notes, "Joseph, Moses, Joshua, David, and Solomon, etc. were types of the Lord Jesus Christ, not a human officer").
Humorously, Gene Edwards contends, "If you must really know who the elders are, then I recommend the following. This may not have a scriptural ground, but it works a lot better than today's very artificial approach. Ask the women in the church to list, by secret ballot, the three or four brothers in the church whom they trust the most or who are the most caring and thoughtful. Count your ballots. There may be only one consistent name, or two, or three. Rarely four. Whatever the results, these are your elders."
Now, that's a thought!
The Banqueting Table