Reblog: Whenever someone joins a church, re-appoint the ‘elders’

Paul’s instruction to Timothy; “appoint elders in every town”… do we do that any more – or was it just an early church thing?
Think about those early churches; Paul went and preached in a town, the gospel spread and fellowships of believers began to gather together. Paul saw a theologically based need for those fellowships to have leaders – theological leaders – put in place. The churches had none… so Paul needed to appoint one.
That doesn’t really happen that much does it? Sure, some churches might loose their senior pastor; but even then, there’s some sort of eldership body in place.
But this does still happen. Whenever someone joins a church, they re-appoint the elders – in their heart. They are joining a fellowship of people who are already under the authority of their pastor/elders/staff.
And you can’t separate the two; you can’t join the fellowship without considering the appointed pastor/staff/elders as your pastor/staff/elders.
So do you do it? Do you help new people to your church (who are Christians) to appoint the leaders as their “elders”? Do you help them get what that means?
My guess is that if you don’t help that happen, there’s a good chance it won’t.

Categories for thinking about your church flock… (a.k.a. boxes to put people in)

Ok, I know that no-one – including myself – likes to be put in a box. When I take personality tests, I’m constantly trying to second guess what box they’re going to put me in and trying to offset that so I end up “un-boxable”. But, even with that in mind, it does help to have certain “non-ultimate” ways of knowing who’s around in your ministry. Here’s a few ideas:

“Crowd” – People who come irregularly, and for a variety of reasons (some good others not so good in your view) haven’t committed. They’re not really involved, they’re not in a group, they’re not keen to invite others along. They would probably call your church their church, but if everyone treated their church like that, you probably wouldn’t have a church.

“Community” – People who have committed to your church. They’ve made some type of intentioned decision to make the community of believers important and express that. They’d be giving financially, and they’d like to see their non-Christian friends come with them to meet Jesus at your church.

“Newish” – These are Christians (at least they’ve told you they’re Christians) who are new and so they’re not “Crowd” because they haven’t really had the chance to be lukewarm yet… and they’re not “Community” because they also haven’t really had the chance to faithfully express their intention to be part of the community. They could end up as one or the other… or neither and just leave.

“Non-Christian attenders” – Non-Christians who come along to church or other events your church puts on. They know that you know they’re a non-Christian, and they’re reasonably happy that you know that, and they don’t oppose the idea of you telling them they should stop being non-Christians.

“Non-Christian non-attenders” – this is everyone else in your parish/area/postcode/city. It’s the phonebook. They’re all part of your church too… just not in the way you’d like them to be… yet.