Churches of Christ are technically “elder-led” (1 Peter 5:1-3). They use various Scriptures to point out that it is the elders that shepherd the flock and guide them in their walk with God, during worship and also keep an eye on the souls of those that they lead. Elders are selected by the congregation who feels that certain men meet the various characteristics laid out in the Scriptures (Acts 6; 1 Timothy 3). But, sometimes elders are not chosen based on their godliness (Acts 20:29-30). Some are appointed and accept the position as just a representative of the church. Some unsound elders believe they must make every decision about everything. Some questionable elders do not listen to a godly congregation, nor do they listen to godly deacons nor a minister and they do not seek advice from anyone. Sadly some want the preeminence (3 John 1:9; 1 Peter 5:3). But, why would any elder and/or eldership seek to lead in this fashion?
When we look out among the Church of Christ, we find problems. But, you will find problems no matter where you go. Still, there are many problems that arise simply because less spiritually mature Christians know they are in charge. What do I mean by this? There are leaders who love to raise a stink about trivial things (Titus 3:9). There are leaders who dominate others and cause pain and suffering to good brethren (Romans 16:17-18). There are leaders who refuse to help anyone from the church treasury or support any works even when they are into a massive abundance of wealth (1 John 3:17). In some cases, leaders act like little children when they don’t get their way (Luke 7:31-35). Why?
Now on the other hand, there are leaders who tend to only listen to the will of the people (Colossians 2:1-4; 1 John 4:6; 2 Timothy 4:4). Why? Why are some leaders toss about with every wind of doctrine (Ephesians 4:14)? More importantly, why do some eldership lead by not “wanting to rock the boat” or to get people upset and so, they will settle for watered down Gospel preaching (John 12:37-50). Does this really challenge the body of Christ to grow? No. And, while I have a great respect for leaders in the church, some are simply afraid of their own shadows. How can leaders in the church be apathetic? Is it because they have forgotten whom they serve (2 Peter 2:20)? As a result, there are congregations that are going nowhere. They are not improving themselves as the body of Christ. They are not growing spiritually nor numerically. Why? Why are many local congregations declining in size and are getting older. Could it be that we have apathetic Christians and leaders who encouraged them to be this way by their example and leadership?
Now, this may be a lot of negativity. But, all positive writings do not help us face things that we must improve upon because the church is very frustrated. We are no longer acting like the body of Christ. Some are acting no better than a business. Others are imitating denominations. Why? And, why are we not doing more? Does not the Bible tell us to be better than the world (James. 2:14-26)? Does it not tell us to reach out and teach (Matthew 28:19-20) and to restore (Galatians 6:1-4)? We all need to be working together for good. We all need to stop frustrating each other. We need to encourage people to not leave the church or to go elsewhere just because of a tradition we refuse to give up or an un-Christ-like attitude we refuse to change. Christians are so beautiful when we are not acting like the world. So, let’s work on these things. Stop being so judgmental. Stop the plate-spinning ministry and let us pray for more unity (John 17).