On October 3, we put before you four men as candidates for elders. Today, we commission John Johnson, Jeff Oliver, Jim Pedigo, and Nathan White to serve in that role.
The last time we confirmed new elders, Dr. Rodney Cloud presented some thoughts and I’d like to share some of his comments with you today. He said:
“We understand that shepherds are to guide the sheep and to help take care of them. Scripture gives us this example. Elders are described as shepherds as well as overseers because they have oversight and care of the flock. These words define the function of elders and what they do.”
Dr. Cloud also reminisced about being especially moved by a few passages from Paul’s prayer in Philippians 1. It was a prayer for the whole of the congregation, but it emphasized the elders and deacons. Paul said:
“And this is my prayer: that your love may abound more and more in knowledge and depth of insight, so that you may be able to discern what is best and may be pure and blameless for the day of Christ, filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ – to the glory and praise of God.”
Also, consider these scriptures that are appropriate for this occasion:
Ephesians 4:11-16 (NIV)
It was he who gave some to be apostles, some to be prophets, some to be evangelists, and some to be shepherds and teachers, to prepare God’s people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ. Then we will no longer be infants, tossed back and forth by the waves, and blown here and there by every wind of teaching and by the cunning and craftiness of men in their deceitful scheming. Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will in all things grow up into him who is the Head, that is, Christ. From him the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows and builds itself up in love, as each part does its work.
1 Peter 5:1-4 (NIV)
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: Be shepherds of God’s flock that is under your care, serving as overseers-not because you must, but because you are willing, as God wants you to be; not greedy for money, but eager to serve; not lording it over those entrusted to you, but being examples to the flock. And when the Chief Shepherd appears, you will receive the crown of glory that will never fade away.
Hebrews 13:17-21 (NIV)
Obey your leaders and submit to their authority. They keep watch over you as men who must give an account. Obey them so that their work will be a joy, not a burden, for that would be of no advantage to you. Pray for us. We are sure that we have a clear conscience and desire to live honorably in every way … May the God of peace, who through the blood of the eternal covenant brought back from the dead our Lord Jesus, that great Shepherd of the sheep, equip you with everything good for doing his will, and may he work in us what is pleasing to him, through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory forever and ever. Amen.
Our eldership is committed to considering scripture with the highest regard and to always draw closer to God’s word in all that we do. We are thankful for these men and their willingness to serve. And we are also thankful for your support as we position our eldership to serve God’s kingdom now and in the future.