Devoted to the Propagation and Defense of New Testament Christianity
December 17, 1964

Trouble In An Eldership

Wm. E. Wallace

One of the most disheartening experiences in any congregation is the dissension among elders due to incompatibility. Nothing dishonors a congregation more than an eldership which is beset with the sins of ill-natured rivalry and political variance.

Elders owe to God, to the congregation, and to themselves attitudes and actions which glorify the cause of Christ, even though these may cost personal prestige or damage individual pride.

It is a shame oftentimes elders act in favor of their own benefit rather than for the best interests of the flock. Christ laid down his life for his sheep in a supreme sacrifice, yet elders have sometimes shown an inclination to sacrifice the health of the local flock for their own personal welfare.

There are many reasons why difficulties may arise among elders. Subtlety and political motives involved in personal rivalry may crop out to mar the legitimate function of an eldership. Ignorance, and the immature complexes which go along with it, may create contempt or resentment among bishops. Errors in conviction, with insistence to teach it, is a major cause of tension. Unethical behavior, lethargy, and a number of other things serve to destroy the usefulness of an eldership.

Perhaps all trouble in an eldership can be traced to weak qualifications, or a lack of them, on the part of some. Maturity as individuals and a high level of achievement in the qualifications assures unity and harmony in an eldership. As elders grow together in personal qualifications they naturally constitute a working, co-operative team magnanimous and unselfish shepherds.

Weakness in qualifications and a lack of improvement constitutes soil in which Satan plants seeds of evil pride, selfishness, and ill-will. Let elders hold in common a love for truth, a concern for the welfare of the church, and an appreciative understanding of each other! With these, the years will bring an increase in their efficiency and a continuing edifying of the local body.

When elders are kind to one another, concerned about the welfare of each other; when they want to help rather than thwart fellow elders, they will work in a pleasant association for the good of God's local flock. Among the good examples elders can set is that of working together in spite of different opinions, diversified personalities and individual weaknesses.

The consideration of these matters of leadership behavior in advance of appointment will assist those who possess noble aspirations to serve as an elder in God's flock.

1006 S. Belmont Indianapolis, Indiana