After sitting through hundreds of elders meetings I can tell there are lots of different kinds of elders out there. All of them deserve respect due to doing a volunteer job that few are ever actually trained to do and the fact that they are serving God. I have worked under some truly great shepherds and also have worked under some really challenging ones.
One of the things I have noticed over the years that was nailed home last week is that far too often elders treat leading the church like leading a secular organization. This is often true from the appointment of elders and what people are looking for in their leaders. People want success and think that people who are successful growing a business must be good leaders in the church. But often that is not the case at all.
The things that make a good business leader don’t always translate into spiritual leadership, much less Jesus’ example of being a leader. In fact, if you ran a business like Jesus it would probably fail. You would have to give away products to all who asked and even give them extra stuff (Luke 6:30).
If you listen to what Jesus said about leadership it also runs counter to worldly business leadership practice. I am speaking very broadly here and very generally…there are exceptions to what I am saying. Jesus said the greatest among you will be your servant, not your CEO.
We need to make sure the culture of our leadership is spiritually minded and discerning. How do you do that?
First – submission rather than domination. Submit to God in everything rather than expand your brand.
Second – Prayer and fasting. There is no movement without prayer and fasting. Church leaders should pray and fast, regularly.
Third – Listen. Pay attention to God, the congregation and the community.
Fourth – Don’t do a single thing unless it honors God, advances the kingdom, makes disciples, or encourages the saints. Sometimes churches try to do too many things and miss the most important things.
Fifth – Reassess your leadership and the processes that put leaders in place to make sure you are actually trying to discern God’s voice (think Acts 13:1-3).
Sixth – Look for the people among you are shepherd people and take note, those are your future elders.
Seventh – Don’t go after your elders on this – they are doing their best and doing all they know to do. They are good people repeating what all the faithful people before them did. They should be appreciated for their service.
If you want to see some of this content and a bit more in video form, you can watch that here