WHAT ELDERS DO

Watch the flock

"Keep watch over yourselves and all the flock of which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers. Be shepherds of the church of God, which he bought with his own blood"-- Acts 20:28 --

"Obey your leaders and submit to their authority. They keep watch over you as men who must give an account. Obey them so that their work will be a joy, not a burden, for that would be of no advantage to you"

Hebrews 13:17

"Be shepherds of God's flock that is under your care, serving as overseers--not because you must, but because you are willing, as God wants you to be; not greedy for money, but eager to serve"

1 Peter 5:2

The work of an elder does not consist of finding all of the flaws in the brethren. It does include watching the flock like the Good Shepherd. It involves protecting it from wolves and other ravenous opponents. "Watching" implies taking care of the house of God; seeing to it that it is properly fed, and that it is not submitted to unnecessary dangers. Intruders who will cause harm are to be seen early, and the flock protected from them. Those who bring benefit and help are also to be detected, and advantage taken of their gifts and abilities. Those who are not growing are to be seen, and provision made for them to grow. Those who are advancing are also to be seen, and provision made for them to use their abilities to edify the body.

Provide an example to the flock

"Remember your leaders, who spoke the word of God to you. Consider the outcome of their way of life and imitate their faith"

Hebrews 13:7

" . . . not lording it over those entrusted to you, but being examples to the flock"

1 Peter 5:3

The true elder is one who walks with God. He is living by faith (Rom. 1:17; 1 Cor. 5:7) and walking in the Spirit (Gal. 5:16, 25). His affection is set on things above (Col. 3:1-3), and he is seeking a better country, that is, an heavenly (Heb. 11:16). His strong point is his faith. If others are not following the Lord, it is obvious that he IS doing so. He reaction to sin should be able to be followed. The brethren should be able to embrace what he embraces, and go where he goes. That is why the people of God are admonished to follow his faith (Heb. 13:7). Such elders translate Scriptural truth into life that can be seen and followed.

Speak the Word to the flock

"Remember your leaders, who spoke the word of God to you. Consider the outcome of their way of life and imitate their faith"

Hebrews 13:7

The only authority an elder has is his ability to bring the Word of God to bear upon a situation. An individual that is fundamentally ignorant of God's Word cannot possibly be an elder. For such a condition to exist, God would have to be at variance with His own purpose. The will of the Lord cannot be implemented apart from the Word of God. That is the "seed" of God's kingdom, and nothing grows without it--particularly people.

This does not mean elder has all of the answers. He knows, however, where to find them. There may very well be times when he has to consult with the Lord like David (2 Sam 5:19). Or, like the Apostles themselves, they may need to ask for Divine guidance (Acts 1:24). However, whether by immediate knowledge of the Word, or through prayer and supplication, they are eventually able to bring the truth of God to bear upon a situation.