Remember back in school? Those hall monitors and cafeteria monitors. "Slow down!" "Quiet!" "Sit still!" "Single file!" "Having fun? Stop it!" Man, they struck fear into the processes of walking down the hall or sitting in the cafeteria.
Well, I must be honest: In my experience in churches, that's the role elders often fill. Unfortunately, I think to a large degree it's because that's what the congregation pretty much expects from them.
Here in Decatur we are beginning an elder selection process. I am hopeful that the stereotypical, culturally-shaped role of an elder is evolving into a more biblically-accurate one. Not church hall monitors. Not a board of directors -- modeled after corporate America. And certainly not operating out of fear. Men of God are not driven by fear -- but a spirit of boldness and courage. Fear strangles the very life out of a church.
I long for leaders who are more like trailblazers. "Come on! Follow us!" To paraphrase the words from Deuteronomy 1: 6-8: "We've circled this mountain long enough! It's time to break camp and advance into the hill country. God has given us the land! Let's go and take possession!" I long for leaders who are like shepherds. Men who know their sheep and lead them through the valleys into quiet pastures and still waters.
I want to be a sheep in that kind of flock!