Jesus is the head of our church and The Church. The Bible routinely calls Him the shepherd and us the sheep (John 10:11). It even does this before His identity is revealed or the church is founded (Ezekiel 34). One day, Jesus will return and gather the flock of His people and we will be united with Him as our Chief Shepherd (John 10:16). This is our great hope and what we anxiously await, but until that day, God has graciously given Christians gathered in local churches under-shepherds to encourage the flock and guard it (Acts 20:28). These men are called elders. Scripture also calls them overseers and pastors (these three titles are used interchangeably).
Simply stated the roles of elders are to know, feed, lead, and protect the flock God has entrusted to their care (1 Peter 5:3). The Bible also teaches that this office within the local church should not be held by just one man (Acts 20:17, Titus 1:5), therefore our church constitution instructs us to appoint three to six men to serve in this capacity (as Senior Pastor, I serve along with two to five other men).
These categories may sound impressive and hopefully it encourages you to know that God has given our church elders as a gift, but you may still wonder what elders actually do, practically? The answer is that we study God’s Word together, pray for the church, and make decisions for the good of our church body. We meet twice each month. The first meeting is called a shepherding meeting and almost all of our time is spent studying Scripture, praying for members of our church family by name, and discussing needs and issues God may be calling us to shepherd people in. Our second meeting is primarily focused on governance and organizational leadership.
I have told you about eldership for two reasons. The first is that I want to honor Mark Koerlin and Phil Gunderson, who have served God and Our Saviour joyfully and well as elders (1 Timothy 5:17). Their constitutional terms expire at the end of this year. The second reason I have told you what an elder does is that I am pleased to announce the nominations of Greg Schaumburg and Wes Grandlienard to serve as elders in our church. The elder council has been working with Greg and Wes since the early part of this year in a process of discernment to determine whether they were qualified and being called to serve in this way. This process included studying God’s Word, reading on church leadership, interviews, personal time with selected elders, and their attendance at and participation in two elder meetings. In all of these areas, Greg and Wes have shown themselves to fulfill the requirements necessary for eldership found in 1 Timothy 3:1-7, Titus 1:6-9, and 1 Peter 5:1-3.
The final step in the calling of an elder is for the membership to approve their nomination. This is a process we do not take lightly and want our entire church family to consider. We also recognize that you may not feel that you know either Greg or Wes well enough to make the decision to affirm their nomination. In order to provide you with an opportunity to get to know them better, the current elders have agreed to set aside a half-hour of our meeting on Monday, November 12th at 7:00pm for members of our congregation to ask any questions they may have of Greg and/or Wes. We welcome anyone to take advantage of this opportunity, however, we would ask for one courtesy. If you plan to utilize this time, please speak with a current elder (myself, Paul Fisher, Phil Gunderson, Mark Koerlin, Dave Mau, Paul Myers) about your desire to do so, so we may plan accordingly. The confirmation vote will take place at the December 3, 2012 Members’ Meeting.
God has given elders as a gift to the church and we believe Greg and Wes are being called to serve in this way. Please begin to pray for them and please continue to pray for the rest of your elders. It is our joy to serve you.
For the sake of His name,