by Bob Hightchew
As Senior Minister at South Fork, there are three things that I love about the Elders I serve with: they know the Word of God, they know our congregation, and they know me personally. I believe these three factors led to the success of our ministry together and I believe these three things will lead to a successful ministry in any church. Let me explain what I mean.
Know the Word – 2nd Timothy 2:15
Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly handles the word of truth.
I love the ministry with all my heart. I really do. But as any minister will say, there is nothing more exhausting than being the only 22resident Bible “expert” in your church. People desire to go to someone they know is studied for the answers to the questions they have. This allows them to grow. When it is only the minister they can go to, there is a bottleneck in the system. I love that my elders are not only studied, but the congregation knows they are. When elders become studiers, the whole church will follow their example.
Know the Congregation – 1st Peter 5:1-3
To the elders among you, I appeal as a fellow elder and a witness of Christ’s sufferings who also will share in the glory to be revealed: Be shepherds of God’s flock that is under your care, watching over them—not because you must, but because you are willing…
Our elders have their finger on the pulse of the church. They work to know every family and as many individuals of that family that they can. It would be a lie to say that they knew every person, but I will say it is not for lack of trying. If you remember the song from the show Cheers years ago, there was a line in the theme song: “You want to be where everybody knows your name.” That is true. When people know that their elders know who they are, it makes a world of difference when they come in. There is also an accountability that comes with being known.
Know the Preacher – 1st Timothy 5:7
The elders who direct the affairs of the church well are worthy of double honor, especially those whose work is preaching and teaching.
Often times, there is a division between the elders and the minister. I feel sorry for the brothers I know in ministry who talk about how terrible it is when they meet with their elders. I am so blessed when it comes to this. The elders I work with are like my brothers. I really mean that. When I go to them with church issues, they carry the load as well. I never feel like I have the weight of the church on my shoulders alone. My elders will often pull me aside just to see how me and my family are doing. They ask if there is anything I need. I cannot tell you how cared for that makes me feel. They know me personally and they care about the needs of my family and myself.
These items above can be done by an elder at any size church. I often hear, “Well, that may work at a big church, but not one our size.” These three steps work no matter what size church. Try them and see. I bet you will be very happy with the results.