Most church problems would be solved if elders would do their job. I am convinced that the preachers are running the church and the elders are doing the work of deacons and the deacons are doing very little and maybe nothing. There are exceptions to what I have stated but very few.
The Bible refers to elders as shepherds in Acts 20:28. We may learn therefore from shepherds what the work of an elder is. A good shepherd will know the flock. A good elder will know the members of the church over which he presides. A good shepherd is watchful for the flock and good elders will be watchful over the church. They are always on the alert for false teachers and fake preachers. Good shepherds see to it that the sheep are fed. Good elders will see to it that the church is fed. Good shepherds see to it that the sheep are fed good, solid, sound food and good elders will see to it that the church is fed good, solid, sound doctrine.
Good shepherds lead their sheep and good elders lead the church by example and by seeing to it that the Bible is followed in all things. Good shepherds know where they are going and good elders know where they are going spiritually. Good shepherds take care of the sick sheep and good elders take care of the spiritually sick in the church. Good shepherds go after the straying sheep and good elders go after the stray members of the church. Good shepherds want to know more about their work and good elders want to know more about their work. Good shepherds may have to discipline some in the flock and good elders may have to discipline some members of the church.
Good shepherds take their work seriously and good elders take their work in the church seriously. Good shepherds want their flock to stay healthy and good elders want the church where they labor to stay spiritually healthy. Good shepherds know the rules for shepherding and good elders know the Bible which is the rule book when it comes to shepherding the flock of God. Good shepherds know that there are lambs in the flock and good elders realize there are babes in Christ. Good shepherds demand the facts about the flock, and good elders demand the facts about the church.
Good shepherds know other good shepherds, and good elders know other good elders. Good shepherds would not think of turning a wolf or bear loose within the flock and good elders would not think of having two-legged wolves and bears within the church. We could say more but space will not permit.
From the work of a shepherd we can see the work of an elder. When I consider the work of good shepherds and compare it with the work of elders, I can see some lagging behind. We have some elders that would not cross the street to learn how to become better elders. There are some that do not know half the flock where they serve as elders. Some elders do not care about the false teachers and preachers that are in the church. They never read good religious journals to keep up with what is going on. Some elders let the church run them instead of overseeing the church.
One of these days the elders will give an account unto God and they must give an account for the souls of members of the church where they have served as elders (Heb. 13:17). What will the answer be? It will be very serious then. I wonder if the elders of the church realize how serious their work and the responsibility they have before God is? The most serious work in all the world is serving as an elder in the church of Christ.
-Malcolm L. Hill January 12, 1934- June 26, 2012