Friday, November 18, 2011

Elder's Meetings

I came to work yesterday at half force. It was everything I could do to get out of bed and get going. Even while I was at work, I felt like I was moving slower than a sloth. And that's not a good thing. I would just sit there for a few minutes staring into space and then realize I had not accomplished anything. Have you ever felt that way? I went to work very tired! Why? Two words: ELDER MEETING!

Even those words can make the hair on the back of some man's neck stand up, for they know what I mean. In every church I have been part of, elders meetings can last late into the night. On Wednesday night, our meeting lasted until just before midnight. Add that to an early morning on Thursday and it equals tired day.

As I finally mustered the energy to think about why elders meetings often go late into the night, there was only one reason that kept coming to my mind: the work elders do is very serious business. Let me explain. God has called the elders of a church to shepherd the people of the church. The Apostle Paul told the Ephesians elders:
"Pay careful attention to yourselves and to all the flock, in which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to care for the church of God, which he obtained with his own blood." (Acts 20:28)
Later in Scripture, the Apostle Peter made this statement to a group of elders:
"Shepherd the flock of God that is among you, exercising oversight, not under compulsion, but willingly, as God would have you; not for shameful gain, but eagerly; not domineering over those in your charge, but being examples to the flock." (1 Peter 5:2-3)
Elders should take great care in their meetings because they are called to shepherd the flock of God. It is their responsibility to make decisions and act with the overall health of the body of Christ in their mind. That is why it can often take time. It should be deliberate and careful.

So what does it look like? What do we do in an elder meeting? Let me pull the curtain back for a minute; here is what we tried to accomplish at our meeting on Wednesday night.
  • We prayed for many individuals in the church, including having one come to the beginning of the meeting so we could pray for them in person.
  • We planned and organized a few events coming up in the life of our church, including a Christmas Dinner
  • We approved a plan to give every family in the church a special gift at the start of our next series on January 8th. (No, I'm not going to tell you yet what it is)
  • We spent time refining our goals as a church for 2012 that will be discussed at our annual meeting on February 12th.
  • We reviewed the status of our youth ministry and prayed as to how God might lead and provide financially for another pastoral staff person in the near future.
  • We praised the Lord as we heard updates on the building process, benevolence issues, missions, finances, and our children's ministry.
  • We worked out some numbers related to the 2012 budget.
If you haven't taken the time, would you pray for your elders at your church today? Would you pray for your pastors? Would you pray for your deacons? Would you pray for those who give oversight to your church? They need it because the work they are doing is serious business!

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