Clarification?

I’ve wondered if anyone is actually reading these posts because of the lack of comments, but I’ve received some feedback outside of the blog… in real life… that makes me think that isn’t the case. Please feel free to leave comments and join in the discussion. Even if you disagree or are afraid you don’t understand, your comments will help others understand and communicate as well.

Some of the feedback outside of the blog was that some were getting the impression that I was saying the church shouldn’t have or didn’t need elders. Nothing could be further from the truth, and that will become obvious as we make our way through some of the material. Shepherding has a major role in a healthy church system that focuses on care of the individual (Jethro II).

However, I would like to say that what I’m going to suggest may challenge your perception about roles within church leadership. For example, many have the presupposition that elders are in charge of the church, that they’re the bosses and that they should make the final decisions. Why is that? Where does that presupposition come from?

This week I’m working as a trainer/instructor at Abilene Christian University at the residency session for students that are working on their master’s degrees in conflict resolution and reconciliation. Part of my role is to debrief students that have just participated in a mediation role play. Yesterday, one of our role plays had to do with a disagreement between a young-buck youth minister and an established church member who had served as youth ministry leader for eight years prior. In our debrief session, one of the participants asked why a mediator was working the case instead of one of the elders since the elders oversee the minister, they hired him and can fire him.

My response was a question. Why do the elders hire/fire? What is it about their scriptural role in the church that dictates that they should be involved in that process?  His response was simple: It’s the way we do it.

He’s right. It is the way we do it (have done it). However, much of what we do organizationally has little to do with scripture. Just as the elders supervising the minister, some things have just become the way we do things. If that’s the case, shouldn’t we be in a position to analyze the way we do things and choose a more effective and appropriate method?

My co-minister shares a story with me about this that I love. Someone was asking about whether it was scriptural to use funds from the church treasury for some purpose or another. The response was golden: We invented the church treasury, shouldn’t we make it work for our advantage instead of against us?

What is your response to what I’ve written here? Let us know in the comments.

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