Tag Archive: leadership

Over the last several months, for variety of reasons in my own life and the lives of those around me, the issue of elders in the church has become a topic heavy on my heart and mind.

I had a vague idea of what I thought a biblical elder should be, then I began hearing conversation about the position of an elder.  A few issues came up, such as, What are the responsibilities of the elders? What authority do the elders have?  Why it is dangerous to confront an elder or pastor? 

I began to wonder if I really understood the job description of an elder. I needed to stop all the noise, even if it was from people I respected, and find out what does God have to say about all this.

I started my research at CARM (Christian Apologetics Research Ministry).  Only because I knew the leg work of locating scripture would be done for me.  Sure enough I found thorough research on the elders in the church, their job description,even an outline of responsiblities and qualifications. 

There was so much good information I didn’t know where to begin reading.  I was pretty familiar with the qualifications, (although I did learn that the word elder is masculine, making a point for the side of no women elders).  I was primarily interested in the responsiblities of the elders and pearing down what that looked like, not just what I had seen modeled.

I chose 1 Pet 5:1-3 as a catalyst to defining the role of the elder.

The elders who are among you I exhort, I who am a fellow elder and a witness of the sufferings of Christ, and also a partaker of the glory that will be revealed: Shepherd the flock of God which is among you, serving as overseers, not by compulsion but willingly,not for dishonest gain but eagerly;  nor as being lords over those entrusted to you, but being examples to the flock;

Key words in the job description in this verse are Shepard and overseer.

Well, we know what a shepard does, it feeds the sheep, keeps them safe, and keeps the wolves out.

But I wanted to examine ‘overseer’.

I went to the Greek definitions for overseer.  I looked not only at the initial definition given, but continued to the root word, and found that the word for overseer was born from a word meaning WATCHMAN.

Wow!  Have a got a good analogy for this one!

So go with me for a moment to a camp in a deserted area.  A group of men, women and children, have set up housekeeping in this vast wilderness, and they choose watchman, who will rotate standing guard.

This Watchman will be looking for anything that may threaten the security of the camp.  He is guarding so that when a potential threat arises, he can take precautions to prevent entry into the camp.  Should he be unable to prevent an attack on the camp, his job would be to sound the alarm, so that all those within the camp are now aware of the pending attack, and can take precautions or flee. 

What this watchman would not do, is greet the attacker, ask what his plans are, then well aware of the threat to the camp, say “Have at it, but I can’t stand by and watch I’m out of here.” and then silently walk away.

I think it is important to note that if an attacker approaches, and the watchman is doing his job, he is going to be the first one fighting for his life. 

 He wasn’t hired to abandon his post at the first sign of a threat.  He was hired to keep watch, alert everyone of potential threat, and do everything in his power to prevent the attack, even if it meant loosing his own life.

The Watchman’s job is first to ward off any potential threat, and second,if unable to prevent it, to alert the entire camp of the threat.

So now we have an elder, who is to give food to, provide shelter for, and be a watchman of, the flock.

I came to this topic full of emotions because I felt our church had been abandoned by the elders, and because I was aware of another local church where there is a cycle of elders leaving their positions and yet the congregation remains helplessly unaware of what their Pastor is doing.

After seeking the Lord, studying the Word, and concurring with my husband, I still wanted confirmation that my concept of a biblical elder was not off base.  I couldn’t believe that I could be right, and that these men, who were suppose to be fulfilling these positions were dropping the ball.  These are Godly men, whom my husband and I respect, and yet they have left us fending for ourselves, unwilling to even talk about why privately, let alone sound an alarm publically.

Well that confirmation came, very quickly. 

We met with a newly appointed elder of our church, and we were careful to ask him questions without leading him to the answeres we wanted to hear.

What we heard was a resounding “I will be your WATCHMAN”

False teaching and spiritual abuse are running rampid and elders are walking away.

Where is the alarm? Where is the warning, Watchman?

You may dismiss my whole argument right now, saying that the threat is coming from inside the camp and so the rules are different.  Consider that a wolf in sheeps clothing may not be recognized immediatly upon entry to the flock, but when his identity is revealed it is still the job of the shepard to save the sheep!

Being an elder is a highcalling, and if a man believes he was called to this position by God, not just chosen by a pastor seeking “YES MEN”, then he ought to be willing to follow through on the responsibilities God called him to fulfill.

If these Pastors I refer to are quilty of  spiritual abuse, the elders walking away from them, and allowing them to continue, are at the very least quilty of spiritual neglect.


I must warn you, I am on a soap box this morning!!!!


Nobody wants to gossip!  Atleast in Christian circles, no one wants to gossip or be accused of gossip, or slander. 

An admirable goal.  I don’t want to be a gossip either. 

But let us consider Matthew 18 for a moment:  (a brief summary)

Confront a brother privately.

Confront a brother with witnesses.

Confront a brother before the church.

The Church is the body of believers. It is not the staff, it is not the elders, it is not the building, it is the BODY OF BELIEVERS!

So the first stop on my soap box is

1) Why do people stop short of confronting an offender infront of the body of believers?

Why does a pastor, who’s behavior has come into question, have the right to defend himself behind closed doors, and never be confronted infront of the Body of Belivers?

Why are elders and staff pastors busy about protecting the reputation of a lead pastor, and not busy about protecting the sheep in the flock, and even worse, not busy about protecting the reputation of the Lord?

Next Stop on the Sliding Soap Box:

2) Why is it gossip to tell someone, sitting in a body of believers, what is going on in that body?

If it is true, and it concerns the people you are talking to, why is it gossip?

We quarintine people who have diseases, and we tell everyone not to go near them, lest they be infected.  It isn’t gossip, it is sharing relative, valuable information that concerns the people to whom you are speaking.

I am a part of a church, in a relatively small community in Central Oregon that has been on a roller coaster for the past few years. This church started with solid teaching, and a mission to raise up Men of God, that would lead there families, and be a testimony in this fallen world to the truth of God.

 It was truly an Oasis in the desert.

  Our Pastor fell, he committed ‘the ultimate sin’ and our associate pastor took over.  He has changed the dynamic, the teaching is different, the emphasis has changed and one by one, elders are leaving, staff pastors are being let go and recently 3/4 of the church including elders, lay leaders, home group leaders, and staff pastors are fleeing from their positions because they disagree with doctrine, and the direction of the church.  

Hundreds of people, are willing to walk out the door, forsaking their place of fellowship, because they believe the Word of God is being corrupted, they believe God’s honor is at stake, and yet they won’t stand up, infront of the BODY OF BELIEVERS and say a word.  

They just quietly walk out the door, and leave the rest of the flock to discover the wolves for ourselves.

Elders, and pastors, and leaders, and brothers and sisters in the Lord, should care more about one another than that.

Why are you quietly protecting the interests of one man, or even a handful of men, rather than protecing the interests of the Lord?  If it is important enough to leave your fellowship over, isn’t it important enough to expose to the rest of the body?

I won’t leave quietly.  I have heard one side of the story from the horses mouth.  I am seeking to hear the other side of the story from the other horse.  And when I do, I will tell those I care for, who are still sitting in that body, this is the truth of the matter, this is what is going on, and you need to be informed and you need to make a decision. 

We lost our fellowship.  Hundreds of families displaced from our dear fellowship in our small corner of Central Oregon, because no one wanted to take the final step of Matt 18, and no one wanted to gossip.

Do you think the Lord will look upon this and say to those who have walked out the door, leaving others behind to fend for themsleves “well done, my good and faithful servant”?

We have lost our Oasis in the desert, and we didn’t even fight to try to keep it.