I feel the need to make a quick warning to the following blog post. I’m going to speak very candidly about my personal understanding of something in the church, and what I see happening. I apologize if I upset anyone with this post, but I feel like God is leading me to share this.
John 10:11 says, “I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep.” And that is exactly what Jesus did for the church, for His followers, for everyone. He laid down His life so that we can have a life.
I bring up this important verse, because I think a lesson can be learned from it. You see, many churches have an Eldership, which are often referred to as the “shepherds of the flock.” Mine in particular, the Church of Christ, is one that appoints elders in place of a board of directors in other churches. The main difference is that a board of directors isn’t chosen with biblical and spiritual needs in mind, but rather with a business mindset.
Shepherds, specifically during Jesus’ time, were extremely important to the livelihood of their flock. I don’t think it’s a coincidence that we are often referred to as sheep. If you know anything about sheep, you know that they are not very intelligent animals.
Sheep require care and guidance so that they don’t wander off and get lost or stray from the flock. Often when they do stray, they get eaten by other keen, more agile animals, like wolves. They need protection, and that comes from their shepherd and the flock around them.
In the many references in the Bible where we are compared to sheep, I think Jesus was saying the same thing. We need protection from our shepherds and our flock around us. We often stray from the flock and get lost and need to be shown our way back. This is why I think elders are so important to church families. The need for them is great, but I’m not sure it is always taken as seriously as it should be. The Bible says this about church leaders:
“This is a trustworthy saying: “If someone aspires to be a church leader, he desires an honorable position.” So a church leader must be a man whose life is above reproach. He must be faithful to his wife. He must exercise self-control, live wisely, and have a good reputation. He must enjoy having guests in his home, and he must be able to teach. He must not be a heavy drinker or be violent. He must be gentle, not quarrelsome, and not love money. He must manage his own family well, having children who respect and obey him. For if a man cannot manage his own household, how can he take care of God’s church? A church leader must not be a new believer, because he might become proud, and the devil would cause him to fall. Also, people outside the church must speak well of him so that he will not be disgraced and fall into the devil’s trap.”
1 Timothy 3:1-7 NLT
It’s a heavy duty to take on, and I think one that many forget to take as seriously as they should. You see, I don’t believe church leaders are meant to micro-manage, or run a church like a business, but rather they are meant to shepherd their flock. Church members should see them as a safe place to run when times are tough, and know that when issues arise or requests are made, their leaders will be there to protect and guide them in the most Godly way possible.
Elders should lead by example. Take this for instance… We just recently completed our annual VBS, which was over the course of 3 days. The prep work that was required was far longer than 3 days. We had a handful of people help with decorating, etc.
The thing is…we didn’t have any of our sheep herding guys help. I prayed that we would see them on the nights of VBS, to help out, or even their wives, and only 2 of the 5 had any part of it. They weren’t involved in shepherding and overseeing the flock. We had a good portion of our church family involved in the execution of VBS, and there was no involvement from the ones who should’ve been the first to sign up. I appreciated the 2 and their wives for helping, because their hands we involved and that is exactly what I believe God called them to do. I just wish the others had made it a priority as well.
Now I understand that life gets busy, things come up, etc. but I do believe that when you take on a position to lead a church family, whether an elder or deacon, that job should become first priority after God and family. It’s a position ordained by God Himself, and one that I think requires a lot out of the ones given these positions. Yet if chosen to accept, it needs to become something of major importance in their life. The small things like building maintenance decisions, etc. can be discussed at meetings, but leaders should lead by example. Walk as Jesus walked, so the sheep can follow.
That being said, I hope those reading will pray for the leaders of my church, as well as your own, that they can do things according to God’s guidelines, and that they can support and guide the flock first, and run things secondly. Because we are the flock and we need our shepherds.