Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Relevant Experience

     I'm no Greek scholar, but the word presbuteros, translated "elder" means one who is older in years, older in experience.  It has been my experience that in our country, experience and older means more bumbling and irrelevant.  Check out the latest television shows and watch the adults.  They are usually buffoons who are fortunate to be able to find their way home.  That may be an over generalization, but I think it's pretty close.
     The Native American culture has much respect for their elders.  Not only are they respected for their knowledge, it's expected that they pass on their knowledge to the next generation.  In the summer of 2014 my wife and I were driving back from Glacier National Park in Montana when we came to the town of Lame Deer, Montana.  I stopped for gas and noticed a large contingent of Native American youth.  There were two, maybe three of these who had a tattoo on their arm of a chief.  I can only assume it was a famous chief of their tribe or maybe even the current chief.  I offered our church's youth a picture of myself so they could do the same on their arms.  I didn't get any takers.
     Asian culture places a high value on age and consider respect for the elderly as the highest virtue.   The aged are well respected and cared for.
     When it comes to leadership in the church, we should want those who are older.  In fact, Timothy mentions that an elder should not be a novice (KJV) or a recent convert (NIV).  They are to have children and a wife.  Both indications of some age to them.  In fact, children seem to be good training for shepherds because the scripture says, "If anyone does not know how to manage his own family, how can he take care of God's church?".  (I Timothy 3:5).  Inferred in this passage is age and experience.
     I can't begin to tell you how old an elder should be, but he needs to be old enough to see the fruits of his labor.  The consistency of teaching in his family.  The dedication he has shown to his wife.  One who has walked with Jesus and fought with Satan.  One who has been around God's Word long enough to know it and to be able to teach others.
     To be a relevant leader in the church, one must have fought the battles.  He must have taken the stands.  Yes, its' all right if he has failed some.  In fact, I would prefer someone like that.  An elder should be one who has fought the battles and has come out on the other side, still standing for the Lord.

WANTED:  Experienced men.  Men who will lead the flock.  Men of God who are men of the Word, men of courage, men of faith.

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