ELDERS CALLED TO RULE?
The idea that ruling is part of an Elder's ministry usually raises some nervousness and distrust. One reason for this is the misconduct or dictatorial behaviour of some unmonitored so-called pastors.
However, Kingdom Elders are called to rule among the Lord's Called-Out Ones because God's will must be done but done God's way. That involves calling for obedience to the Word of Christ.
And God's way is that it be done with genuine godly love and wisdom, accountability, transparency and above all, done with open free will.
Jesus was strong about the manner of those who lead. He Himself is the example. Elders, Servants and those leading are to lead as He did, not lording over as the world does.
In his first letter to Elders and the "flock of God" here is what Peter says on the subject:
“The elders who are among you I exhort, I who am a fellow elder and a witness of the sufferings of Christ, and also a partaker of the glory that will be revealed:
Shepherd the flock of God which is among you, serving as overseers, not by compulsion but willingly, not for dishonest gain but eagerly;
nor as being lords over those entrusted to you, but being examples to the flock;
and when the Chief Shepherd appears, you will receive the crown of glory that does not fade away.
Likewise you younger people, submit yourselves to your elders. Yes, all of you be submissive to one another, and be clothed with humility, for 'God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble.'
Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you in due time, casting all your care upon Him, for He cares for you.
Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour.
Resist him, steadfast in the faith, knowing that the same sufferings are experienced by your brotherhood in the world,” 1 Peter 5’1-9.
Remember what Jesus said to this "fellow Elder" Peter? The Lord said: “Feed My lambs” and “Tend My sheep” and “Feed My sheep" (John 21'16-18).
Inspired by the Holy Spirit, the writer to the Hebrew Believers says a few things for all Believers to think about:
“Remember those who rule over you,
who have spoken the word of God to you,
whose faith follow,
considering the outcome of their conduct.
Jesus Christ the same yesterday and today and forever,”
He further exhorts:
“Obey those who rule over you,
and be submissive,
for they watch out for your souls,
as those who must give account.
Let them do so with joy and not with grief,
for that would be unprofitable for you,”
To summarise, Elders and others who are leading are to:
- speak the word of Christ,
- be examples of faith,
- be open to questions about their conduct,
- hold to the simplicity that Jesus Christ is always the same,
- watch out for the souls of the Lord’s People,
- behave in a way that mirrors the Lord's way of ruling.
The lordship of Christ must be the ultimate rule over all in love and submission to one another with willing hearts.
Remember Matthew 12’20: “A bruised reed He will not break and smoking flax He will not quench”.