Do You Trust Your Elders?

bq. Hebrews 13:17 Obey your leaders and submit to them, for they keep watch over your souls as those who will give an account. Let them do this with joy and not with grief, for this would be unprofitable for you.

p. God gives leaders to the church as shepherds, men who are supposed to “keep watch over [our] souls”. Not all elders are going to be good elders (see 3 John, for example). No elder will be perfect. Hopefully, a plurality of elders will provide enough balance that the whole church will stay on track.

Do you trust your elders? Do you think they are godly men? Do you think they regularly seek God’s will and are able to discern His voice? Do you think they are wise?

These are the guys you trust to preach and teach you and your family. They spend the money you donate. They choose lay leadership. They help put together the programs, classes, groups, etc., that you probably participate in. They make all kinds of decisions that probably have a direct impact on your spiritual life. _You better trust them._ You better think they are godly, and wise, and discerning.

If you don’t trust your elders – if you think they are so spiritually dull that they can’t tell if an idea is “straight from Hell” or not – well, you need to find a group you can trust. That probably means changing churches. But if you think they are _that_ susceptible to Satan’s wily schemes, that they will make the wrong decision when things get tough, you really shouldn’t trust them to watch over your soul. You need to find someone else.

I don’t mean to communicate a “love it or leave it” attitude. It’s certainly OK to disagree with your elders and give them feedback or input (assuming you do it appropriately). I certainly have. It’s not a question of _agreement_. It’s a question of _trust_. Do you trust them to make godly decisions, or at a minimum, not to make thoroughly satanic decisions?

If you do trust them, then trust them especially when things look scary. But if you think the only reason they haven’t gone astray is that they’ve lacked the opportunity, you probably need to leave. Because it’s not like the church lacks opportunities to go astray. And many of those opportunities are very subtle. _If you don’t think the watchman will see the full frontal assault, how do you expect him to warn of the sneak attacks?_

Our elders need our prayers, our support, our encouragement, and our submissive obedience – _particularly_ when they are making tough decisions. If you don’t trust them enough to submit even though you think they are making a bad decision, _you need to find someone you can trust that much_. I don’t know if there is a nice way to say that, but I really don’t mean it harshly.

What they _don’t_ need is for us to give them grief. Opinions, hopes, worries, questions, fears, doubts – great. But not grief.

I know that the individual decisions the elders will face are not always clearly black and white. But the question of whether or not we trust them _is_ black and white. Your church leadership should be men you trust. You should trust your elders.

Jesus said we will know people by their fruits. Good tree, good fruit. Bad tree, bad fruit. If you think the tree is good, then eat the fruit. But if you think the fruit is _that_ bad, then the whole tree must be bad to, and you shouldn’t eat _any_ of its fruit.

[Obviously we shouldn’t follow our leaders into sin. And I’m not suggesting some kind of cult-like obedience here. I figured that was obvious but I didn’t want a dozen comments alluding to Jim Jones or David Koresh.]

This entry was posted in Christian. Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to Do You Trust Your Elders?

  1. Reid says:

    Robert, your post makes me think.

    It makes me think about how my church leaders have ignored me and how they have spent no time trying to help me when I cry out for help to them. Lately I have been going through a tough time as far as decisions I have to make in my life. I have called 3 pastors and emailed 3 more only to get no response whatsoever. Where is my church leaders when I need them>? What is their job? I am in a situation where I need to respect my parents as elders, yet I feel God’s calling to me to do something that might undermind my parent’s best interests. I have no elders to help me, and apart of it is that I moved to college now, but that is besides the point. I wonder what is the job of the elders if they are not to help a 20 year old on the brink of some key decisions in his life, maybe even becoming a missionary? It maybe wrong, but I have a tough time respecting Pastors/elders if they don’t even have the decentsy to take 2 minutes of their time to call me back and share their wonderful wisdom with me.

  2. Your elders should be there to watch over you spiritually. IMHO, this ought to include providing Biblical advice to you, either directly, or by pointing you to someone who can serve you better.

    If your elders are not men you believe to be spiritually mature and good shepherds, you need to think hard about whether or not it makes sense for you to continue under their leadership.

    I do not believe it’s wise for people to remain under the leadership of elders who they don’t respect. And from the language of your comment (and corresponding posts on your blog), you don’t seem to have a lot of respect for them.

  3. Reid says:

    First off, I have the upmost respect for Church leaders and their positions and my elders. I respect that they are striving to please God and to serve him.

    This in no way makes it so that I cannot disagree with how they are running things and how they are treating me as a person. I can disagree without being disrespectful and sometimes It has to be in a manor that gets the attention of certain people.

    When Paul confronted Peter, a church leader, about not eating with the Gentiles, was Paul not straight forward, blunt and to the point? Was he not Nailing the nail on the head? A lot of people would say that it was disrespectful, and i dont agree. Some people take me the wrong way because I am bold in how I write and I am not afraid to call out those who I feel in my heart need to be called out. People mistake this with being disrespectful and its not.

  4. You say this: I have the upmost respect for Church leaders and their positions and my elders.

    But you also say this: It maybe wrong, but I have a tough time respecting Pastors/elders if they don?t even have the decentsy to take 2 minutes of their time to call me back and share their wonderful wisdom with me.

    And you also wrote: What is your job as a pastor? Are you too busy for a 19 year old who has some questions? I guess so.

    There seems to be a little bit of a contradiction here. Either you “have a tough time respecting” them or you “have the utmost respect” for them. You can’t have it both ways.

    I can disagree without being disrespectful

    You can, but you’re not. At least, not the way you’re communicating it here.

    When Paul confronted Peter

    You are not Paul, and this is nothing like Peter’s sin.

Comments are closed.