Tuesday, April 19, 2022

 How to encourage your elders.

Geoffrey R. Kirkland

Christ Fellowship Bible Church


I serve alongside some great men. God has graciously put me in a church body with godly people who love Christ and a solid leadership team firmly committed to His Word.

In some recent reflections in my own mornings of Bible reading, I have tried to think of some practical ways that Christians can encourage all of their shepherd-elders. With some intentionality, creativity and proactiveness, you can bless those men that God has put over you to care for your souls.  Here are just a few ideas to help get you started.

OBEY them — Perhaps the clearest and most heartfelt way you can serve your shepherds is to simply obey them. By submitting yourself willingly and cheerfully under their authority, you honor the Lord who sovereignly put them over you to have charge over you in the Lord and to give account for your soul one day in glory. Submit to them. Obey them. Honor them. Make their leadership duties a joy and not a burden.

THANK them  — Another way you can practically thank each of your shepherd elders is to carefully and thoughtfully thank them. By this, I do not speak of flattery. Nor do I refer to some generic post on social media. The heart of your shepherds will overflow with joy when you thank them and explain to them how God is using them to help you learn more about God and His Word. It’s not puffing up the man. It is exalting God and giving glory to God for His mercy in using your elder, a human instrument at that, to establish and grow you in the faith. Be thoughtful, specific and fairly consistent in sharing these good reports with your elders. You’ll be encouraged. And they will be immensely blessed!

SERVE them — Prayerfully think of ways you can serve him and his family. Perhaps he and his wife could use a date night out and so you offer to watch the children. Maybe you can help shovel their driveway in the winter or help weed the garden. Or, you may choose to drop off some groceries or a home-cooked meal (or dessert) to your elders. Perhaps you take out one of two of his children to encourage them in the faith and express your gratitude for the whole family and how God is using them in your life. With some prayer and some thoughtfulness, you can find many ways to serve your elders in ways that will richly encourage them, humble them, and minister to their souls.

TELL them — Of course, you can verbally encourage your elders by simply telling them how thankful you are. It doesn’t have to be big or flashy. Nor does it have to be formal and public. But a simple word of encouragement with decisions they’ve made, the example they set by their lifestyle, the way he cares for you and the flock, or the way he serves can encourage his heart more than you know. Elders often hear the stories of negativity and things that people may not appreciate, but how encouraging it is when men of God hear specific words of encouragement.

PRAY for them — Never let prayer be underestimated. A simple text or note of encouragement saying that you are praying for your elders will add fuel to the fire of their love for and diligence in interceding for the flock. Every faithful shepherd prays for the flock of God. But in knowing that you are praying for him will enrich his prayer time, fill him with awe in God and humble his soul before the God of grace. Let him know what you’re praying for. Pray for his preparation to teach the Word. Pray for his wife and children. Pray for his home life. Pray for his humility and love for Christ to increase. Pray for God to bring opportunities to speak of Christ with the lost. Pray for visible fruit to encourage his heart and God-graced trials to keep him humble and dependent on divine grace. Let him know you’re praying for him. This will bless him more than you could imagine.

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