In a post a few weeks ago, I included a list I had shared with our elders: five commitments I need from them as we lead our church together. I promised then I’d say more about each of those items. Let me here explain a bit more about each one.
1. TO CHAMPION THE MISSION OF CHRIST’S CHURCH.
In the first year of my ministry here, our leaders spent many hours refining a mission statement for our congregation. Since then “Redeeming Us Back to God” has been on almost every piece of communication produced by Christ’s Church. We want everyone who attends here to know it and be able to live it.
But I told our elders they (and I) need to to do more: we need to bleed this mission. It should be regularly on their lips. And as our congregation takes steps to live out the mission, I need our elders to be visible and vocal supporters of those decisions—especially when they are unpopular. We need our elders to protect the lead pastor, the staff, and the church from any issues that may cause division. They are the “spiritual Kevlar” for our congregation.
And always, they must focus on mission instead of minutiae.
2. TO LEAD THE CHURCH IN PRAYER.
Our elders must be people of prayer. Especially I want them to commit to weekly prayer for me and my family. And at least weekly, the needs and challenges and ministries of our congregation must be matters of prayer for them.
3. TO SUPPORT THE LEAD PASTOR.
No one can or should encourage and take care of the lead pastor like the elders can and should. They must remain a safe space for the lead pastor to process ideas, think out loud, and dream about our future together.
In this role they regularly offer wisdom and counsel. They look at ideas and initiatives through the filter of biblical truth and their practical experience.
When they have concerns or advice about staff members, they take these only to the lead pastor unless he asks them to join him in guiding or disciplining a staff member.
4. TO MODEL SERVING AND GIVING.
Each elder should serve in at least one ministry of the church in addition to his role as an elder.
Each elder should give generously, and this means more than a tithe.
The church’s financial burden is their burden. They work with the lead pastor to encourage financial support from members of the church.
5. TO COMMIT TO GROWING THEMSELVES.
Elders must realize that their role is to serve, not to wield power. They understand that the church will not grow deeper than they are growing. Therefore, always demonstrating a teachable spirit, they commit to continued personal growth.