This Sunday night, I plan to begin a new series of lessons on the job descriptions of various church roles, including the elders, deacons, ministers, and members. My theory is that, if expectations are clearly defined, one has a greater chance of realizing his/her full potential. And I have a sneaky suspicion there are many elders, deacons, ministers, and members who are going about their roles and responsibilities assuming they are doing it correctly when that might not be the case. I have only been involved in full-time church work for about 8 years, but I have noticed that, in the absence of teaching, people assume their duties based upon their predecessors. Elders function like those who came before them. They make decisions similar to their predecessors, and oversee the work of the congregation in a similar manner. They fall into a mold, whether good or bad, and this perpetuates to the next generation of elders. The same could be said for deacons and ministers.
Members are slightly different. There are certainly various roles and responsibilities for members, but my primary concern with this series concerning members is their expectations for everyone else, i.e. what they expect of the elders, deacons, and ministers. Members expect the elders to operate this way and do these things, especially if the previous eldership did so. Members expect the preacher to do this and be that along the same lines as the last guy. Such expectations are typically subjective, based on previous experiences or personal preference. For good or bad, this seems to be the status quo in many churches.
Here is my solution: if we truly want to be a biblical people, we should define our respective roles and responsibilities using Scripture as our guide. Precedent is not decidedly a bad guide, but it should always be second to Scripture, which is our only legitimate lamp and light (Psalm 119:105).
Here’s where you—the best blog readers in the World Wide Web—come in…..
- What expectations have you had of church leadership that you eventually realized were not biblical, healthy or fair?
- What expectations have others had of you that you considered unscriptural, unhealthy and unfair?
- What one obligation of church leadership (of elders, deacons, ministers, or all three) AND of church members have you seen neglected the most in your experience?
Let me hear from you—leave your comments below or send me a private email. Nothing you share with me in private will be repeated unless you give me explicit permission.
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