For the Love of Elders
In this, the year of love, it appears the Lord is calling us to raise up an Elder’s Body in our Congregation to help shoulder the spiritual load. The Lord’s love for His Body and Bride is at the root of all this!
As Dr. Scott Kelso pointed out to us, the idea of Elders in leadership goes all the way back to Moses. First, Moses’ Father-in-law Jethro noticed that the burden of leading Israel especially in terms of legal disputes was killing Moses. He suggested raising up leaders to delegate the responsibility to (Exodus 18).
In Exodus 24, Seventy Elders of Israel accompanied Moses part way up Mount Sinai to glimpse God’s Glory.
About 20 months later as recorded in Numbers 11, the Lord put His Spirit upon 70 Elders to help Moses carry the burden of leading Israel—especially as they complained about the wilderness journey—and in this instance, about their desire for meat.
Scott Kelso related to us that Numbers 11 was the passage the Lord led him to preach as he shared about the idea of Elders with Trinity UMC back in the 1980’s. Scott was stressed, tired, and on the verge of burnout from pastoring a growing church into the things of the Holy Spirit.
- SO GOD USES ELDERS AS A WAY TO LOVE ON OVERWHELMED PASTORS!
But that is not all. As we will see over the next few weeks, GOD ALSO:
- LOVES ON THOSE HE RAISES UP TO BE ELDERS, and
- LOVES ON COGREGATIONS THROUGH HIS CHOSEN ELDERS.
So, as always, God’s love flows in every direction. His purposes in raising up an Eldership to help shepherd congregations is beneficial to absolutely everyone in the Church.
But to be honest, I do not feel the Lord leading me to preach from Numbers 11 now, because burnout is not my or our most urgent need (although it is an ever-present concern).
I believe the Lord’s heart for OUR CONGREGATION in terms of ELDERS has more to do with:
- recognizing those whom He has gifted and equipped in Biblical Eldership;
- being more sensitive to the things of the Spirit;
- handling difficult situations, teaching, intercession, and doing deliverance/healing ministry.
- being better prepared for the spiritual battles around us;
- creating the place for men to accept their God-given place of headship;
- always being an incubator for people to rise up, grow up, and lead FROM the Father’s Heart;
- Enlarging our territory and moving out our tent-pegs;
- Preparing us to help Shepherd the final Awakening.
So LOVE HIMSELF is calling us to establish a Body of Elders within our congregation. He is doing so because He loves those whom He has called to be Elders… He is doing so because He is Loving this congregation with Elders… He is doing so because He loves this region and He loves this fallen world… He is doing so because He loves me, your pastor. He is doing so because He loves YOU. He is doing so because HE IS LOVE!!!