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Minister and Elder Relations

I was recently asked how I viewed the relationship between the elders and ministers. I thought about it a bit and offered this answer.

Psalm 23 paints a picture of God as the great Shepherd. This picture is repeated throughout the N.T. when referring to Jesus and also the elders of the local congregation. I once heard the role of a minister described as that of a sheepdog. I feel this is a fitting description of the relationship between the elders and the minister.

The sheepdog has a special role as a tool that is under the submission of the shepherd. The sheepdog does not have an agenda of its own. The sheepdog watches the shepherd carefully and is ready at all times to be used in any way to help protect the sheep of the flock. There are times that the sheepdog will herd the sheep. There are times when the sheepdog will step in to help the shepherd carry out his mission. There are times when the sheepdog may need to growl to get the sheep’s attention. The sheepdog knows that he must depend on the right action of the shepherd in order to do his job correctly.

The shepherd’s role is to realize the investment he has in his sheepdog. He cannot abuse or neglect the sheepdog because that will not benefit anyone. The shepherd must make sure that the sheepdog stays healthy because a sick dog cannot function in its highly specialized role.

I feel this is how the minister and elders should relate to each other. We both have shared but unique roles in caring for the sheep.

So what do you think? How should elders and minister relate to each other?

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Categories: church, elders
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