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Are you helping or hindering your exhausted church elders?

September 2020

Having spoken with several elders from different churches in recent times, they are all saying the same thing. Serving the church during the Covid crisis has been exhausting. One church leader put it this way. He said it has been like starting a new job, with all the information overload that comes with that, except it’s been going on for over four months without a break.

Imagine it. Your elders have had to become proficient in webcasting, they’ve had to keep up-to-date on the latest government regulations, they’ve had to give pastoral care without necessarily being able to meet people face-to-face. They’ve had to think through all the complex doctrinal implications of the shutdown, then the lifting of restrictions, then the introduction of new restrictions.

But the most exhausting thing has been this. Some church leaders have been in the firing line between various church members who all have their own passionate opinions about the lockdown. Some say the restrictions are way over the top and they refuse to comply. Others say the restrictions don’t go far enough. One person says we must obey the governing authorities in everything, another says the government has gone well beyond its proper limits. Some people are extremely conscientious about observing social distancing. Others are completely blasé.

In the middle stand the exhausted elders, trying to preserve the peace and unity of the church, while also observing the commands of Christ. They’re being pushed and pulled in all sorts of directions, with some members grumbling in one ear and different members moaning in the other. The book of Hebrews says, ‘Obey those who rule over you, and be submissive, for they watch out for your souls, as those who must give account. Let them do so with joy and not with grief, for that would be unprofitable for you.’

Are you being obedient and submissive to your church rulers? That’s not to say you can’t ask questions or raise concerns, but are you doing so in a way that acknowledges your elders have the solemn duty of watching over your soul? They – not you – are the ones who will have to give an account to Christ for how they have led the church. Are you enabling them to lead the church with joy? Or are you causing them grief? Are you helping or hindering your exhausted elders?

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