“We must venture upon men’s displeasure rather than neglect our duty.”

—Adam Martindale

Pastor Adam Martindale (1623-1686), lived in a tumultuous time when serving the Lord and following your conscience could cause a minister to lose his livelihood (position and salary). Church leaders of 17th century England often faced political and social challenges of a type that we have yet to encounter, for now. These leaders willingly endured difficulty because of the calling of God on their lives and the value they placed on the souls under their charge. Pastor Martindale’s sentiment, “We must venture upon men’s displeasure rather than neglect our duty,” summarizes nicely the calling that is upon every elder’s life. The apostle Paul instructed Timothy to appoint elders:

This is why I left you in Crete, so that you might put what remained into order, and appoint elders in every town as I directed you— if anyone is above reproach, the husband of one wife, and his children are believers and not open to the charge of debauchery or insubordination. For an overseer, as God’s steward, must be above reproach. He must not be arrogant or quick-tempered or a drunkard or violent or greedy for gain, but hospitable, a lover of good, self-controlled, upright, holy, and disciplined. He must hold firm to the trustworthy word as taught, so that he may be able to give instruction in sound doctrine and also to rebuke those who contradict it. (Titus 1:5-9 ESV)

An article on the 9Marks website provides us with a concise, biblical definition and description of the elder:

What is an elder?

1.      The Basics: An elder is a man who (i) meets the qualifications in 1 Timothy 3:1-7 and Titus 1:6-9, (ii) is recognized by his congregation as an elder, (iii) and leads the congregation by teaching the Word (1 Tim. 3:2), praying for the sheep (Jas. 5:14), and overseeing the affairs of the church (1 Pet. 5:2).

2.      Oversight: An elder must watch over the flock. He must instruct all the sheep, strengthen the weak ones, guard the vulnerable ones, rebuke the obstinate ones, and bear with the difficult ones (2 Tim. 2:24-25; Acts 20:28; 1 Thess. 5:14). An elder watches over the members of his church as one who will give an account to God (Heb. 13:17)

3.      Plurality: In the New Testament, local churches consistently have a plurality of elders (Acts 14:23, 20:17; Phil. 1:1; 1 Tim. 5:17; Jas. 5:14). Christ, the Chief Shepherd, means to care for his flock through a number of godly men who together teach, guard, guide, protect, and love the sheep. This means that every local church, following the leadership of their pastor, should look out for men who are already doing the work of an elder and appoint them to the office.[1]

This Sunday, The Road Church family, is going to have the great pleasure to install two men, Jim Farrar and Darin Schroeder, into the office of elder. These are individuals who have demonstrated a consistent Christian walk over a period of time and through a series of challenges. They have taught Sunday School, preached sermons, attended small groups, shared the gospel in a variety of contexts, and ministered to the homeless and others as the opportunity presented itself. I do not have to sing their praises for you know them. The installation service will reflect the Biblical tradition found in Acts 14, Acts 20, and the Pastoral Epistles. I hope you can attend and be a part of this special service. See you Sunday!

Love in Christ,

Pastor Dale

[1] https://www.9marks.org/answer/what-church-elder/