1 Peter 5:1 To the elders among you, I appeal as a fellow elder, a witness of Christ’s sufferings and one who also will share in the glory to be revealed:
Eldership is at the heart of what it means to be Presbyterian. All of our Presbyterian churches are led by our ruling elders and teaching elders. They are called by God to seek the Holy Spirit in a particular congregation and to follow that path sincerely, faithfully, and effectively. It’s one of the great strengths of the Presbyterian system and, when it is employed properly, it makes Presbyterianism a great light amongst Christian denominations.
I love being both a Presbyterian Christian and a teaching elder in the church. I feel connected to the apostles like Peter because of the special, mysterious, and holy laying on of hands that is part of the ordination process. I feel connected to the elders around me, both active on Session and pro-active in the congregation. There is a great sense of team work, responsibility, and faith in Christ that we share amongst us.
I also like the fact that Peter refers to elders as being witnesses to Christ’s suffering, which reminds me that being ruling and teaching elders in the church is never an easy process. We think, we question, and we struggle with our faith. We solve problems, seek answers, and look for guidance from the Holy Spirit. We try to keep the church on the right path, just as the world tries to distract our goals and diminish our effectiveness. We are the gate keepers of the faith and are meant to be the visionaries of our churches. Elders are always looking at the bigger picture and what lies ahead. If we only concentrate on the here and now, we will never reach the blessings yet to come.
These are anxious times for our faith, but if our elders across the Presbyterian Church remain faithful to Christ, uphold His teachings, and live according to God’s Word, then we will not only share in Christ’s glory, but we will also be handing over a strong church for the elders yet to be ordained in years to come.
Prayer: Lord Jesus, we thank You for the precious gifts of eldership that You have bestowed upon the Presbyterian Church. We pray that the faithfulness, integrity, and spirituality of our ruling and teaching elders may continue to inspire our people and lead them through these uncertain times into future years of bounty and blessing, discipleship and service for Your Kingdom. In Your Holy Name, we fervently pray. Amen.
John Stuart is the pastor of Erin Presbyterian Church in Knoxville, Tennessee. If you would like to comment on today’s message, please send him an email to email@example.com.