Every group has leaders.
Robert Thune, in his book Gospel Eldership, says that every human society gives leadership to somebody. On the playground, when kids play football, someone has to pick the teams. When volunteers clean up a neighborhood park, someone has to organize the initiative. Even when you watch a family movie, someone has to decide what to watch (or, at least decide how your going to decide!).
So, how does leadership in the church work?
Well, we believe that the Lord has designed for the local church to be led by a plurality of qualified men, called by the Holy Spirit, and recognized by the covenant community. The Bible calls the men who serve in this role “elders.” (Acts 14:23, Titus 1:5)
What is an elder?
An elder, biblically-speaking, is also known as a shepherd, a pastor, an overseer, or a bishop. (Acts 20:17, 27-28; 1 Ptr. 5:1-2) These terms are all used interchangeably in Scripture, and all describe a single role.
And that role, to be carried-out by each and all of the elders, is best summarized by four responsibilities in the local church: Feed, Lead, Care, and Protect.
More about these roles can be found in the MCC By-Laws, as we endeavor to be obedient to God’s direction in Scripture.
Where do we get elders?
Simply put, elders are not dropped out of the sky, nor are they purchased from a special factory. They are not superhuman, and they are neither above nor separate from the body of Christ. Elders are raised up by God, and recognized by the people among whom they serve. Elders come from those men who are already “eldering” within the church. At Mountain Christian Church, we currently have five pastors, or elders, who have been recognized by God as called to serve in this capacity.
What’s my part?
You are going to hear quite a bit about elders over the coming year. As a member of MCC, we will need your help and your investment: we have three elders who will be coming to the end of their term of service this year. As such, we are in the process of identifying God’s call in the lives of three others whom He is raising up to serve. Currently, Luke Feldner has already been identified as an Elder Candidate, and is pursuing this call. I hope you will pray for us in this process, and personally encourage him and Melissa as they seek God’s will.
Well, there is much more to church leadership, and this has barely scratched the surface of just one important issue. But hopefully you will be encouraged to ask questions, and seek out more information, as you take part in the Lord’s process for us.
If you want to know more about eldership, and how our other leadership structures work at MCC, you can ask for a copy of the By-Laws, or click here to listen to Pastor Frank's sermon on eldership, "The Noble Task of the Elder."