ELDERS: SHEPHERDS OF SPIRITUAL CARE, By Kevin W. Rhodes

 If a new Christian has not previously become acquainted with the elders in the congregation where he attends, this should be one of his first priorities. Likewise, elders should make it one of their first priorities to get to know new members of the congregation (1 Th. 5:12-13). The purpose for this is not to reinforce some power structure or to “network” but rather to begin a healthy relationship whereby the elders can learn the strengths and weaknesses, talents and needs of the new Christian in order to help him grow spiritually and become an integral part of the congregation.

In his first epistle Peter wrote,

“The elders which are among you I exhort, who am also an elder, and an a witness of the suffering of Christ, and also a partaker of the glory that shall be revealed: Feed the flock of God which is among you, taking the oversight thereof, not by constraint, but willingly; not for filthy lucre, but of a ready mind; Neither as being lords over God’s heritage, but being examples to the flock. And when the chief Shepherd shall appear, ye shall receive a crown of glory that fadeth not away.” (1 Pet. 5:1-4)

Elders are therefore not a board of directors who hand down decisions in memos and whose main purpose is to keep the church in the black. Elders are spiritual shepherds whose work it is to insure the best spiritual nourishment, protection, and environment possible for the flock, while also helping individual members overcome their personal spiritual struggles.

Elders are the men who want you to go to heaven. They will teach, correct, visit, and do whatever it takes to help you achieve that end.

 

“Therefore take heed to yourselves and to all the flock, among which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to shepherd the church of God which He purchased with His own blood.” (Acts 20:28 NKJV)

With this in mind, we should heed the words of the writer of Hebrews:

“Obey them that have the rule over you, and submit yourselves: for they watch for your souls, as they that must give account, that they may do it with joy, and not with grief: for that is unprofitable for you.” (Heb. 13:17)

From Midtown church of Christ

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