Sam speaks up on eldership

It was sometime in 2007 I think, when I was staying in Ma’Owz (the place where I stayed in Jayalaksmipuram along with Aubrey, Justin and KaKKi), we were having a discussion regarding church and Aubrey mentioned that it is his desire to see me, as an elder, one day. I just smiled at him that day, but I said to myself …Are you kidding me? I had a very different understanding of biblical eldership then. Though I had been brought up in a church which was elders led, I had no clue what the role of an elder was, nor who can be an elder. Things have changed now and God has through his word and through his people, helped me understand what the role of an elder is.

My understanding of what the role of an elder is?

The primary role of an elder is to shepherd the flock on God’s word, guard them against wrong teachings and lead by example, with humility (1 Peter 5: 1-3).

I would like to break it down further into the below:

  • To feed the flock with the word of God and help the flock to encounter God, through HIS word.
  • To know his flock and see the lack in their lives and nourish them with the word of God and help them obey God’s word.
  • To bring back people who are straying away and feed them with God’s word and direct them in the right path. To discipline the flock in both a formative or corrective fashion.
  • To guard them from wolves, who try to snatch the flock away with wrong teachings.

The elder is called to do all of this, by leading by example in word and deed. He is to be an example in his house, in the church and to all the people around him (above reproach). He is accountable for the flock under his care!

Why do I desire to be an elder?

I joined CCube sometime in June 2008. The decision of moving to CCube was a tough one to make. I had been attending a church in Mysore, which was connected to the church I was attending from my childhood in Chennai. I was being blessed through the messages/people in CCube and saw a difference in how people applied scripture in their lives. I was spiritually fed by the folks in CCube, but for name sake was attending the other church on Sundays. After a lot of prayer and thought, I decided to leave the church which I was attending and move to CCube. During this time I also understood what a church is, and how each of us (members) are called to serve in the church. So when I moved to CCube I made a decision that I would serve in CCube, in whatever capacity and whatever gifting’s God has given me.

The journey in CCube has been quite outstanding. God has helped me grow in the knowledge of him. I’ve been shaped and discipled by godly people. I’ve been taught the scriptures by faithful men and have also seen it being practiced in their lives. From the time I’ve joined CCube, God has helped to serve in different roles and various capacities in CCube. It initially started from taking care of setting up and tearing down, then moved on to leading worship, preaching, leading a home group, discipling people etc. While serving in these capacities, God helped me to identify my gifting.

I must confess, that there were many a times when I did not have the right understanding what it meant to serve people in CCube. I was doing things for looking good or for people to appreciate me. It was sinful and it was something that God helped me to deal with as I progressed in my walk with him.

Over the last year, through the membership classes and through the series on membership, God has helped me understand, that Elders are gifts to the church and elders led church is God’s design for a church. I was excited to see the path that CCube was taking in setting up plurality in eldership. However when the call for Eldership was given and nomination sought for, frankly speaking I was freaked out. Afraid to the core! It was an immense responsibility to take up and I wasn’t sure if I was ready for it, neither was I sure of whether I qualified for it or not.

After a lot of prayer and looking at God’s word, I decided to take the step of nominating myself. Reason being, When I looked back at the decision that I had taken in 2008, I was pretty sure on what I wanted to do. I had made a decision to serve this church in whatever capacity I can and with whatever gifting that God has given me. Over the years, God helped me realize those gifting’s. I saw a gifting to teach, a gifting to shepherd people, care for them and nourish them. God has been filling me with a love for his people. Over the past year, God has also helped me to disciple Manoj. So here was an opportunity for me to serve the church as an elder. When God has gifted me with these abilities, why would I say no? Why would I shy away from responsibility when this is God’s design? These questions helped me to clear my doubts, on whether I wanted to be an elder or not.

The next question I struggled with is “Do I qualify?” I wrestled with this for quite some time. The bible does give a big list to check if a person qualifies for eldership in 1 Timothy 3 and Titus 1. At the outset I would like to clarify that I don’t perfectly fit all these qualifications, but I’ve been seeing traces of God’s grace in these areas of my life. There are a few qualifications in which I’m gifted in and there are few areas where I’m just starting off and growing in. It is my prayer and hope, that by God’s grace I will grow in the other areas as well as I progress in my walk with God.

How will I serve as an elder?

It is my prayer & desire to shepherd the flock under me and exercise oversight over their spiritual life, with humility and patience and leading by example. I seek to teach the word of God and discipline everyone both in a formative and corrective fashion. It is my prayer and desire, that God fill me with a love for his people, so that I would strive and labor, for the gospel being displayed in and through people’s lives and God being glorified.

I have no idea, if my aspiration, and Aubrey’s desire for me to be an elder, might come true this Sunday, but one thing I am sure of, is that God has called me to serve in CCube in whatever capacity I have. I will do so till God keeps me here, irrespective of how the voting goes.

I would encourage each one of you, to look at scripture and check what the role/qualification of an elder is and see whether I fit into the biblical criteria of eldership and vote accordingly. If any of you would like to clarify any questions you might have, please feel free to do so, at any time.

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