If it were not tragic, it would be funny. That is this: often, the only thing elders ever hear from the congregation is complaining.
If things are going well, we just assume the elders know we appreciate it. But let things start going downhill–even just a little bit–and we have no problem talking to our shepherds.
Part of being in a position of leadership is understanding that you will hear complaints at times. It comes with the territory. But it really is tragic that too many elders only hear complaints, though they are striving to help people grow closer to the Lord and reach heaven.
Elders are not perfect men, but those who are in this position of leadership are worthy of our consideration and kindness. Additionally, they need to be built up through our words on a regular basis.
To that end, here are 5 things that elders need to hear from each member on a regular basis.
- I Pray for You. Carrying the weight of watching over the souls of a congregation is a very heavy task, indeed. Elders need to know that members are regularly bringing their names and concerns before the throne of God.
- I Trust You. Our society always leans toward distrust of anyone in any position of leadership. Yes, that bleeds over into the church. Elders need to hear that the members trust their wise judgment. Even if the elders make mistakes, their intent is not to be harmful or disruptive. They need to know that you know that!
- I Pray for Your Wife. One of the hardest roles in the church is that of being the wife of an elder. When something is heavy upon the heart of her husband but, due to confidence, he cannot share that with her, it weighs on her heart and mind, as well. She needs your prayers, too, and elders need to know that the members do not treat their wives as some group of “others,” but as ladies who need our prayers.
- I Think Our Future is Bright. Elders are constantly hearing from people about how things “used to be.” “Back when we were…” is a very common beginning to many conversations with elders. While that certainly has its place, elders need to know that you think the congregation has a bright and God-glorifying future. While they do not seek nor want the credit, it helps put wind in their sails to know that their vision of what–with God’s help–could be is being shared.
- Thank You. Those two words mean the world to anyone, but especially to those in positions of leadership. Long hours, heart-wrenching prayers, and sleepless nights are the parts of the work that most people do not see. All we see is the fruit of all those things. For those things we should be grateful, and that gratitude needs to be regularly expressed.
Elders hold an office that simply is unequaled in its importance. These pastors love souls, and want the church to grow in number, spirit, and unity. They understand the depth and breadth of their position, and they also know the pressures that come with it.
Just a few words, regularly and honestly spoken by the members, will help these men lighten their load and bring more joy to their lives.
AUTHOR: Adam Faughn