Friday, March 09, 2007

ELDERS AND THE ISAIAH FACTOR

A question could be asked as to what makes elders tick? A better question is what makes elders click? Why do some click in with God's system and others are humanistic bullies in full charge. Factors vary as do personalities, backgrounds, careers, etc. Yet, one important item is a wonderful blessing to any congregation who happens to have elders living by the Isaiah Factor of "Woe is me. I am ruined." Too many elders are not ruined. They are self-indulgent, defensive, and often arrogant with assumption that they have arrived and are untouchable regarding opinion and perspective. They feel they are exempt from "Lording it over" as the flock is too sickly to decide/think for themselves. What leadership has kept them so sickly?

My latest decade and a half at Memorial has been blessed due to the Isaiah Factor within our shepherds. Don't mistake; these guys are not push-overs. The difference is they deal with every sore congregational spot with passion, compassion, sympathy and empathy. I marvel at their consistency how they treat flock issues with full awareness of their own exposed sores and knots. How is it they are like this? It seems each leads a consistent life of personally believing they are ruined if it not for the literal and cleansing love of God.

Such an approach is refreshing, accurate, and then more refreshing. This gives the flock room to grow. It gives us room to try without fear of being shelled with their criticism. They aren't scared to let us be mistaken. They figure if God can rekindle their hearts, He can ours. I encourage every elder to take a good look at the Isaiah Factor. Being ruined is not a bad thing. It is most valuable to a ruined flock.

Having said that, the final point I wish to make is the same applies to preachers. We have not and will never arrive. We won't escape the ruined state; no matter how hard we try. Ruined in His sight is a good thing for at that point He can find Himself free to make of us whatever He would like. Isaiah was suddenly volunteering for God's mission. Until ruined, we---preachers and elders---are found to be resistant. Once ruination is admitted, we are full of gratitude to be used and full of mercy toward the colleague who botches the work 70 x 7.

1 comment:

Craig said...

I've already fled from one group of elders who have taken it in their hands to "protect" their flock by controlling every aspect of the body. There was never this spirit of humility or even openness. How could anyone, unless no other option was given, come before such a group and submit themselves in voluntary brokenness? I gladly laid down my life to a King who first laid his down for me. Now, please, help me see the same in you, my gray/no-haired lords. I desperately need your humility.