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Sunday, January 25, 2015

Recommend-a-blog (4)

Bible teacher Jack Spender tackles a tough but relevant subject in a post called “When Should an Aged Elder Step Back?

It’s a good question, and one to which the answer is not necessarily about the number of years you’ve lived, but more about effectiveness and planning for the future of the local church.

The author is Brethren, but his reflections and suggestions are relevant to any Christians that still observe the New Testament principle of recognizing or ordaining elders, with or without a paid pastor. There is a time to serve and a time to get out, and far too many do not recognize when the latter has arrived.

That’s not a commentary on the quality of an elder’s work during his time of service, but simply a fact of life. We get older. We can’t do what we used to do. I remember sitting in the passenger seat when my own father was in his eighties, watching him drive and realizing that his reflexes were not what they had once been.

And I remember thinking “One day that’ll be me”. Because it will.

It’s a wise man who leaves before he is asked to leave, and a wiser man who leaves before anyone thinks about asking.

As we have discussed here before, leaving is easier said than done when nobody steps up to replace you. Under such circumstances, and with need for the work to be done, it’s understandable why some elders hang on.

Still, Mr. Spender makes some prudent suggestions about how to let go and reflects on both the consequences of resigning and, more importantly, the consequences of NOT resigning, which can be a much bigger problem. I mean, how do you ask someone to leave who is no longer effective but has served faithfully for years?

As one elder has frequently said, “My job is to work myself out of a job”. If that’s your attitude, leaving a work you value does not have to destroy your ego, threaten your manhood or fail to leave the legacy you desire. It’s part of the work itself, and a part that needs to be done well.

This is worthwhile reading for anyone with responsibility in the Church, and its principles apply to any ongoing labor of love for Christ.

Jack Spender’s posts are recycled at assemblyHUB, an evangelical ministry. As with all such collaborative efforts, the site is a mixed bag depending on the day and writer. It should go without saying (but doesn’t, so I’ll say it) that as with every site I mention here, enthusiasm about a particular post or writer is not a blanket endorsement of everything they believe or an endorsement of the views of everyone with whom they associate. It is also my personal opinion and may or may not reflect that of others who post at ComingUntrue.

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