THE ELDER AS SERVANT
Michigan District LCMS
Webinar for the Board of Elders
February 20, 2013
“Your attitude should be the same as that of
Christ Jesus: Who…made Himself nothing,
taking the very nature of a servant.”
- Philippians 2:5, 7
OPENING
PRAYER
I’M AN ELDER…
1. “A joy for me this past week was…”
2. When I was elected to be an elder, I was…
3. A word that describes how I feel about
being an elder is…
1. LIFE AS AN ELDER
ELDERS SERVING GOD
ELDERS SERVING GOD
Five typical functions of elders:
• Provide leadership
• Show wisdom in stressful situations
• Provide evaluation and encouragement for
the pastor(s)
• Visitation of members
• Initiate programs of spiritual growth
ELDERS SERVING GOD
Elder considerations:
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Provide leadership
Filled with the Holy Spirit
Strong spiritual influence
Always “in the Word”
Asked, not volunteer
Basic enthusiasm
Concern for quality of ministry
Clear ministry descriptions
Grasp of imputed worthiness
ELDERS SERVING GOD
For discussion:
• What is your greatest joy in serving as an
elder?
• What is your greatest frustration in serving as
an elder?
• What spiritual gifts have been distributed
among the elders in your congregation?
• What makes you “worthy” to serve as an
elder?
• What is the role of an elder to members of the
church?
ELDERS SERVING GOD
For discussion:
• What is the relationship of elders to other
officers?
• What are congregational issues that properly
belong only to elders?
• What is the role of elders in church conflicts?
• How can elders handle criticisms / objections
to church programs?
2. ELDER / PASTOR / STAFF
RELATIONSHIPS
ELDERS SERVING PASTOR
ELDERS SERVING PASTOR
Help the man
• Be a confidant
• Be a support for personal / family needs
 Develop a caring relationship
 Develop a trusting relationship
 Develop personnel policies (vacation,
days off, etc.)
 Develop salary guidelines
 Pray daily for pastor and family
ELDERS SERVING PASTOR
Help the leader
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Support the ministry
Communicate ministry to congregation
Communicate successes and obstacles
Welcome and encourage diversity but
commit to unity in purpose
 Test with Scripture
 Inform and invite participation
 Be faithful with information
 Publicly support pastor
ELDERS SERVING PASTOR
Help the preacher
• Test with Scripture
• Test for proper Law/Gospel balance
 Know and be faithful to Scripture
 Know and be faithful to Lutheran
doctrine (Confessions)
ELDERS SERVING PASTOR
Help the congregation
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Meet regularly to carry out responsibilities
Share evaluations of goals and expectations
Train regularly for better service
Be an ambassador
Serve alongside pastor as appropriate
ELDERS SERVING PASTOR
For discussion:
• How do elders provide care for members of
the staff?
• How can pastors especially use elders as a
support and confidential group?
• How do elders function as evaluators of staff
effectiveness?
• How can elders function with ineffective staff?
• What are the spiritual needs unique to
professional church workers?
3. ELDER SPIRITUAL CARE
ELDERS SERVING
CONGREGATION
ELDERS SERVING CONGREGATION
The elder as a man of prayer:
•
Matthew 6:5-14
o Not outward piety (v. 5)
o Not validated by specific words (v. 7)
o No lack of information (v. 8)
o Mark of a mature disciple (v. 9)
o Corporate needs in mind (v. 9)
o God-centered (v. 9)
o Submits to God’s will (v. 10)
o Spiritual focus (v. 11)
o Forgiving attitude (v. 12)
o Combat the satanic (v.13)
ELDERS SERVING CONGREGATION
Factors impacting prayer:
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Boldness (Hebrews 4:14-16)
Familial language (Galatians 4:6)
Authentic (Psalm 27:8)
Blocked by unrepented sin (Psalm 66:18)
Faith-driven (Matthew 21:22)
Rooted in Christ and the Word (John 15:7)
Ask in Jesus’ name (John 16:24)
Submissive to God’s will (1 John 5:14-15)
Brings glory to God (John 14:13)
Confident in God’s power (James 5:16)
ELDERS SERVING CONGREGATION
Elders serve
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As an
o
o
o
example
Faithful in worship
Frequently at the Lord’s Table
Diligent in Bible study
personal
group
o Servant-leader
ELDERS SERVING CONGREGATION
Elders serve
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Within the priesthood of all believers
With humility
As requested
In prayer
In person
In worship
 Don’t “lord it over them”
 Provide personal care
 Be aware of needs and situations
 Share resources
 Both active and inactive
ELDERS SERVING CONGREGATION
For discussion:
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How are elders assigned to members?
(geographically; alphabetically; lifestyle; other)
Do elders make home visits?
• If so, why and how often?
What other means are used for communication
with members by elders?
What are the purposes of various member
contacts?
Do elders make “pastoral care” visits?
•(hospitals, nursing homes, funerals, etc.)
ELDERS SERVING CONGREGATION
For discussion:
• Are elders used to “push” certain congregational
needs or programs?
• How are elders used when new people join the
church?
• When is one classified “inactive”?
• What is your program of ministering to inactives?
• What if the inactive wishes to remain inactive?
• What is done with members who move without
a forwarding address?
• How are snowbirds handled?
CONTINUING THE
DISCUSSION…
RESOURCES FOR ELDER BOARDS:
The Caring Elder by Victor Constein (CPH)
Pastors and Elders by Timothy Mech (CPH)
Expanded Elder training / equipping workshop by CMFs
THE ELDER AS SERVANT
God’s richest blessings as
you serve Him and His
people in your awesomely
important role!
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the elder as servant - Michigan District, LCMS