Sarah Beam reached out to me a few weeks back and asked if I would share a few thoughts on being an elder. Since then, I’ve been thinking about what I might share with you about the position.
For one, elders (and pastors for that matter) are no less sinful, nor do they struggle any less than any of you do. We are broken vessels, and, but for the grace of God, there go we. Elders, at least not this one, do not live on some higher plain of spirituality. We are in just as much need of Jesus as anyone.
For two, I didn’t know this, but, in the PCA, once an elder, always an elder. When I signed on, I thought it was like a board commitment. Three years and then I’d be out. No, no, no. Au contraire, mon frere. Elders at this church are always elders. To me, there is some good and some not so good to that. The good is that we elders really know each other. We have battled over issues. And we have grown in mutual trust and respect. The negative is that, if we are not careful, we will not be attuned to new and fresh ideas. That is why it is important, in my opinion, to add elders to our number. Hey, maybe you.
But what I’d like to share with you is that, for me, what I have discovered as an elder is that the primary role we play is that of paying attention to the activity of God and doing our best to obey. Put simply, we are assigned to pray. Pray for you. Pray for each other. Pray for Hope. Pray for God’s vision for His people. Pray for those who have yet responded to His invitation. Pray. Pray. Pray. Pray for healing of bodies. Pray for mending of relationships and marriages. Pray for finances. Pray for all kinds of stuff.
If you came to one of our elder meetings, you may be astonished by how much we pray. It honestly has inspired me. And frankly, when our meetings turn toward more talking and business, we get less done. In fact, those are often the meetings where prayer is probably most needed!
So as Clyde used to say, pray for our praying. That would be a great way to support us.
Honestly, it is very humbling to be an elder. Many of you would be better at it than me. I am sure of it. Nevertheless, I promise to do my best to pay attention and stay obedient to what God might be saying.