Tuesday, January 24, 2017

day no. 13,973: expressing my thoughts on again becoming an Elder

I think the biggest question for me going forward with respect to being an Elder at Anthem Church is: Will I have enough time to faithfully occupy and execute the various responsibilities of the office of Elder? My answer to this question is: maybe. The answer depends upon how flexible and how complementary you believe the role a plurality of Elders plays in leading a church.

Flexible in that seasonally things may vary. If you believe one can rightly occupy the office of Elder while also having seasons during said tenure where they may be more or less available due to outside demands (i.e. newborn, newly married, new job, recently lost a job, ministering to a particular difficult child, a family illness, etc…) then I am fully prepared to march with you men. That assumes, of course, that in some seasons you may still be an Elder in the army, but riding in the tank rather than on it.

Complementary in that we are gifted and wired differently. If you believe one can rightly occupy the office of Elder by meeting the minimum qualifications of each prerequisite in general (one wife, well behaved children, a well behaved wife, hosting people, knowing sound doctrine, putting down false doctrine, a leader of leaders, exemplary character, good reputation with outsiders, a pastor/shepherd of people, not combative, not unrepentant, not a drunk, etc…) while displaying particular giftedness in some areas which the individual carries for the group disproportionately then I am ready to lift burdens with you. What I mean by that is this: I like lifting the weight, doing the reps, and carrying the burden of protecting the doctrinal purity of our church by studying what is true and taking captive to Christ that which is false. That comes easily to me. I like it and I'm particularly gifted at it. As such, I carry the weight of that disproportionately for our group. That isn't to say that neither of you carry any of that weight, but it is to say that I delight in it and readily take on more than my "share" of it by studying books, making teaching schedules, helping on the teaching team, thinking through the best way to audit our sermons, to prepare our sermons, etc… I do it by my new nature because it is a spiritual gift that God has placed in me. I also encourage and entreat you both to think more and exert more effort into this particular area. Why? Because I'm passionate about it. That said, you both have different areas of expertise, spiritual giftings for which you similarly take on more than your respective "shares" and you do so gladly. You, likewise, try to pull me further and farther into expressing and pursuing that particular aspect of what makes a good Elder. I hope you see that as a whole we express the office of Elder better than any of us do in isolation. So I may, as a lay person, do less hands on ministry in a calendar week than you gentlemen do, but in fairness, you both do less ministry with respect to reading, thinking, meditating, studying, etc… than I do in a given week. We do differently things to differing degrees, and all of us benefit as a result.

If all of this makes sense and seems reasonable, my disposition is to lean in and to shoulder the weight of being an Elder at Anthem Church along your sides. My only hesitations are with respect to the flexibility and complementarian aspects I have expressed above. To say it more clearly: I would be hesitant to join the Elder team if there was no component of seasonal awareness and the capacity/expectations of said individuals in those seasons. I would also be hesitant to join the Elder team if a healthy acknowledgement of our complementary natures and subsequent capacities/enthusiasms could not be agreed to. I recognize that you both read less than I do. I will continue to push both of you to read, study, meditate more than you do because I believe it's important, but I will do so under the acknowledgement that it is a gift from God that I desire so zealously to do so and it is my joy to employ that desire for the betterment and health of Anthem Church. In keeping, you should continue to push me to push aside my introvertedness sometimes for the sake of meeting and ministering to people, but you should do so under the acknowledgement that it is a gift of God that you so zealously desire to be in people's lives and that it is your joy to employ those desires for the betterment and health of Anthem Church. In summation, we recognize our strengths and weaknesses without insisting that one must be strong as we are to be equal to the task while encouraging and exhorting each other in our weaknesses to grow and be conformed to the image of Christ.

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