On Sunday, August 25, the Northside family will recognize three men as our newest shepherds. Jim Andrews, Brent Clothier, and Kreg Greenwood will become the 26th, 27th, and 28th men to serve as elders in our 80-year history. To prepare for such a step, we always have a sermon series on the duties and character of biblical elders. Toby did an excellent job of leading us through that study in June. The congregation then had the opportunity to suggest names of men we would follow as our shepherds. From that list of names, the current elders selected three men who will fit well with the current leadership and have the varied gifts needed by the congregation.
While we do a good job of discussing ELDERS’ responsibilities, we don’t always talk enough about OUR responsibilities toward those elders. As sheep, we need to think about what we should be doing as we are led by our shepherds. Hebrews 13:17 mentions some very specific points we can work on. “Obey your leaders and submit to them, for they are keeping watch over your souls, as those who will have to give an account. Let them do this with joy and not with groaning, for that would be of no advantage to you.”
The Holy Spirit instructs us to obey and submit. Godly leaders are not there to serve themselves – but the Lord who put them in place. They have to make many tough calls, and none of those decisions will ever please 800+ members. When you don’t agree, your assignment is to obey and submit. (If you think about it, the only time you need to obey and submit is when you don’t agree. Otherwise, you just concur and are pleased.)
We are also to honor and support our shepherds as they lead – so that they can lead with joy! Grumbling, complaining, and groaning makes a shepherd’s task a burden. So, think of ways you can support our leaders to bring them joy. Tell them when you agree. Offer suggestions in a positive manner. Pray for them and their wives and children. There is no benefit to anyone to make the ministry of the leaders a burden – so don’t be the cause of burdens.
Today we are blessed with a new group of leaders – nine men who have made the commitment to the be servant leaders Northside needs. Together as a congregation let us make the commitment to honor them, obey them, and submit to them – in joyful fellowship together.