Do preachers set the tone of the church....or do the elders? Opinions will vary of course.
I think the elders set the tone. My work, as well as attitude, very much reflect the disposition of our elders. Every week I do my part with this congregation which reflects totally what I see and hear from my friends, the elders. I personally receive too much positive credit for the good things which go on at Memorial. Such is nice; but undeserving. I believe it is still true that the elders have the authority over the flock. I have never felt the need for authority. However, it is crucial that I receive signals from them of close support.
If the elders are nervous control freaks, the preaching can be persuasive but the flock will take on the fear of the shepherds. The sheep will develop an unhealthy hesitancy if they sense it would be better to be safe than sorry. However, if the elders applaud the flock for its courageous imagination and admired zeal, great works will multiply. The growing tone of the church comes from the elders...my opinion.
Now, I'm certain an "Anonymous" will hurry to let us all know Jesus sets the tone. Yes, he most certainly has such a desire. We understand such. Yet, we have the ability to get in the way. Jesus can't set the tone if the elders or the preacher block him out.
Finally, how is the tone set? We either present the unifying life of Jesus or the divisive and robbing death of Satan. One gives and the other steals (John 10:10). Much is dependent on whether leadership is approached by excitement for or hesitancy from.
I applaud our shepherds. They don't know how to do many things. They are mere men. Yet, one thing they will not relinquish is operating from the Word. Many a debate and church argument are avoided because they simply try to adapt to what the Bible explicitly expresses without wandering around in the endless zones of what it doesn't say.
Maybe we preachers do more to set the tone for congregations than I think. My belief is the men in the pulpit are a reflection of their men over them. My hope is that any elder reading this will come to realize (or be reminded) the flock reflects the shepherds. Do your best to reflect the Shepherd. At that point, Jesus does set the tone.
Most sheep are mild in manner. They abide by what you choose to feed them. If it's hope...hallelujah! If it is fear and full of hangnails, maybe some serious adjustment could be made. The flock will follow leaders into amazing zones. May all combined develop an atmosphere or a spirit wonderfully full of faith.