Alamo Heights Christian Church
Thursday, April 26, 2018

From the Board of Elders

From the Retired Chair of the Elders
           Jody Warren
 
 What Does It take to Be An ELDER?
 
The definition of an “elder” is found in several places in the Bible (Acts 20:28; 1 Peter 5:1-4; Ephesians 4:11-13). I consider first that Elders are shepherds. Both the Old and New Testaments repeatedly employ the metaphor of "shepherding" to describe the spiritual leadership of God's people. Not surprisingly, the New Testament views elders as shepherds as well. The elders' mission is to lead, teach, protect and love their church members the way shepherds care for the sheep in a flock, so that the church members will grow up into spiritual maturity. In some readings, paid preachers are called "pastors" and lay leaders "elders." I believe that there is more to this notion. I see a pastor is an elder, and an elder is a pastor. Elders should do those things in a local church that they assume a pastor would do, even if they spend fewer hours per week than the paid pastor. But, Elders are not more than what the Bible says. Jesus is the Chief Shepherd, and elders are merely his temporary helpers (1 Peter 5:4). At their best, elders model Jesus' character, teach Jesus' word, and lead the church by pointing it toward Jesus and his mission. Good elders never lose that awareness that they themselves are still sheep, utterly dependent on the grace of the Good Shepherd. Who is the best Elder you have known? I’d like to nominate the late Rev. Ava Lee Helms, who died in December 2016. Now this nomination of a woman as an Elder is tough for some, and male-only eldership is a hotly contested issue. Why would I “pick” Ava Lee? Known as “Sweetness,” Ava Lee had a love and deep concern for all around her. She was especially fond of her “flock,” the young and the elderly. She was a very good example of the love of Christ personified. In her own way, she was a strong, independent woman, who had a way of disarming conflicts among others, and looking for the good in all of God’s people. When asked why she WANTED to come to church, Ava Lee said: “Going to church is not only good for the soul, it can also stop you dying young.” Although she was “older” Ava Lee was always young in spirit. She lived the thoughts of Rev. George Appleton, who taught that optimism and a sense of community can combat the effects of stress and depression, resulting in longer life in Christ. Strong words for a strong woman. That’s my Sweetness!
 
Praise the Lord, and have a Blessed Day!
Joseph B. Warren -Elder Retired