by LD Campbell
I LOVE YOU! Joyce and I talk frequently about the wonderful elders we have served with. I never served with an elder that made our disagreements personal. So to the elders I served with: I LOVE YOU! You encouraged us. You cared for us. You loved us. And I probably wouldn’t be in the ministry today if it had not been for you!
CARE FOR YOUR SOUL! How can you care for the souls of your flock, if you first don’t care for your own soul? By all means, be in the Word every day. “Sit a spell” with the Father every day.
PRAY FOR YOUR FLOCK! Pray for them by name! As an eldership, develop a system to continually pray for your flock. Contact them, tell them you are praying for them. Ask what’s going on with them that needs your prayers.
BE A SERVANT! Elders should be the greatest servants in the church. Yours isn’t an office or a title. It’s a servanthood that is best described in a towel and wash pan.
BE SEEN! I learned this truth from both President Kennedy and Queen Elizabeth II. President Kennedy said “walk slowly through a crowd.” The Queen said: “I have to be seen, to be believed.” She has been doing “walk abouts” among her people for 60 years. She doesn’t want to blend in with the crowd so she wears bright colors so she can be seen by her people. Elders, show up 30 minutes before worship begins. Walk slowly through your flock. They need to see you, (but the bright colors are up to you). In your “walk about” you will be amazed what you learn about what’s going on in the lives of your flock. Your “walk about” gives you an opportunity to encourage your people, to love on them, to pray with them. Don’t just say “I’ll pray for you;” you will forget. Pray for them right then and there! It may be awkward at first but it will speak volumes to your flock about your shepherd’s heart. When worship is over don’t dart for the door. “Walk slowly through the crowd.” “Be seen.” If you are a pastor reading this, do the same. BE SEEN before worship, in between services, and after worship. Your flock will love you for it!
LOVE AND SUPPORT YOUR PASTOR. Be his friend. Encourage him. Love him and his family. Regularly take him to lunch, not for church matters but just to be with him. Trust me, after 55 years of being a pastor, it gets lonely. Be honest with him when you need to be. However, don’t ever let your disagreements with him become personal. Your relationship will sour quickly. It will harm his leadership and yours, and your church will suffer. Do everything you can to keep him as long as you can. Long ministries build strong churches.
Elders, your responsibility is great. Please don’t try to do it in your own power. Remember what Jesus said, “Without me you can do nothing.”