Why this topic? Phone calls and emails and personal conversations are laced with "what to do back home". Churches are struggling. So are the communities. Why is there not a strong match?
I believe the hope of the individual congregation rides on the faith and courage of the elders. Resist that if you will, but the elders do oversee the flock. The preacher can go nowhere and lead very little if the elders do not endorse, promote, envision, and support. The preacher can ruin what the elders try to accomplish, but he cannot take the church any direction the elders will not lead. The elders get the last word and they should. Thus, the importance of Spirit-fed, Spirit-led men as they are to get their orders from the Commander.
Faithfulness to a brotherhood college or paper will kill a church. Playing it safe was never the style of the Chief Shepherd. Losing his life in conflict was. Elders who live to see that the church lives in peace have developed a philosophy contrary to scriptures. Such peace and tranquility are found sprinkled above America's ground. They could be known as Cemetery Churches.
Trouble-makers you accuse? Hardly. The simple and sweet nature of Jesus will rub the tradition-hearted members to a frantic frenzy. II Peter 4:12.....life in the church is not an easy, Sunday-school, flannel-graph movement.
The church needs good elders. Of course it needs good preachers, good families, as well as good vision, etc. But it must be regarded the elders of any flock set the tone and the personality of their congregations......whether they want to or not. The whole church looks to them for leadership. The question is, Is it getting it?
Therefore, the church is calling for brave men who will dare buck the tide of us. We need men who can see beyond the safety-net of the weekly contribution and the attendance figures. We need men of faith who believe God can create something from nothing and can give life to the dead....Romans 4:17.
While we are fully aware elders are mere men, they are specially-assigned-forces mere men. They must protect the flock from the Trojan wolves of safety-first and everybody-get-along-second. Jesus was the Chief Shepherd for he dared defy the logic of those who knew all about the Word but were clueless about the needy, hungry hearts.
What makes a good elder? The possession of the brave heart burdened to see that all people receive opportunity to hear the good news. This doesn't happen by having Elders' Meetings. It happens because good leaders are intentional to resist the multiple voices of the flock in order to hear the courageous guidance of the Chief.