Archive | Elder Questions

Elder Questions: Core Convictions

I’m currently in a six month eldership process at my local church. This series is taken from questions asked during the process.

elderQuestions

Please list 6 core convictions concerning which you (as elder) will never give in, nor even bend on, as you lead the church and reference at least 3 scriptures support each one.

  1. Trinity (John 1:1, Matt. 28:19, John 8:58)
  2. Hypostatic Union (John 1:14, Matt. 28:19, John 8:58)
  3. Justification by Faith (John 3:16, Romans 10:9-10, Eph. 1:14)
  4. Total Depravity (Romans 3:23, John 2:24, Romans 5:12-21)
  5. Sola Scriptura (2 Tim. 3:16, John 17:17, Jesus speaking only Deuteronomy in his temptation)
  6. Imago Dei (Gen. 1:27, Gen. 9:6, James 3:9)

How would you respond?

Elder Questions: Pornography

I’m currently in a six month eldership process at my local church. This series is taken from questions asked during the process.

elderQuestions

You are praying with folks up front after a Sunday Service and get a young man that would like you to pray for him in regards to an addiction to pornography. What would you do and how would you on the spot counsel this man?

I would share with him very briefly, first, of my own struggles with sin. I would seek to encourage him, by God’s grace, of the areas God has given me victory with the idea that he would feel the hope of Jesus to redeem all our lives.

I would then compliment him that he had the courage to come up front and be honest about this sin. The role of the Holy Spirit is to convict people of sin. The fact he is up here asking for prayer means God cares for him to be free from this sin.

I would, however, make sure I ask him about his belief in Jesus. If he’s trying to get free from pornography without Jesus as his Savior, then I need to tell him that his first priority is to trust Jesus as his Savior.

If he is a believer I would then pray thanking God that every sin of my brother’s is paid for on the cross. I would beg God that He would show my brother how to cling to his Savior and allow the power of the Holy Spirit to show him how to flee from this sin and cling to holy truth. After continuing to pray allowing the Spirit to direct how to best pray for him, I would then strongly encourage him to memorize a few verses. The Lord powerfully used Hebrews 12:11 in my life, “For the moment all discipline seems painful rather than pleasant, but later it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it.”

Another verse very helpful for me to internalize and meditate on for times of temptation has been 1 Corinthians 10:13, “No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it.”

God used those two verses to drag me past many sins I thought would always be a struggle. I have probably recited those verses hundreds, if not thousands, of times. I would let him know the power of God’s Word to moment-by-moment make us more like our Savior.
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Elder Questions: Why Pray?

I’m currently in a six month eldership process at my local church. This series is taken from questions asked during the process.

elderQuestions

A group of people are talking and invite you to answer a question they have been trying to figure out. The question they are trying to answer is what role does prayer have in the Christian life if you preach the sovereignty of God? What would be your answer for them?

This is actually a great chance to teach on prayer. I would first be thankful that I’ve been invited to answer this question. The scarier thing would be if people privately question prayer in light of God’s sovereignty, don’t pray, and never tell anyone.

I would try to gently show the group the direction they are heading. If you follow the logic they are saying, “God, since I now know that you are totally in control I’m not going to pray anymore. Previously, I thought you weren’t completely in control so I thought you needed my help. Prayer was me throwing you a bone, helping you out.”

Hopefully, at this point they would be laughing and realize how silly that sounds by thinking God’s sovereignty rules out prayer. I would then probably spend most of my time focusing on how Jesus seemed to pray more than any of us today. Have any of us spent multiple all-nighters praying?
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Elder Questions: Living Together

I’m currently in a six month eldership process at my local church. This series is taken from questions asked during the process.

elderQuestions

You are counseling a couple, who claim to be Christian, that are sleeping together and believe they are “married in their hearts”. They would like to become members of your church. Describe how would you handle this couple, including how you would address the issue of being “married in their hearts?”

I’d start by listening to them about their relationship with Jesus. If they want to become members and they do not know Jesus then who cares right now if they’re living together? There’s bigger fish to fry…this needs to be a salvation conversation.

If it is clear to me that they are both believers in Jesus then I would tenderly, yet firmly bring up the issue of living together. I’d start by making clear this conversation is not connected to their salvation. I’d let the guy know that I consider him a brother in Christ just as much as I consider our pastor a brother in Christ. I’d let the girl know that I consider her a sister in Christ just as much as I consider the wives of the pastors.

I would then talk to them about how the goal for all of us as members of our church is to sharpen each other so our lives could more and more make much of Jesus. I’d let them know how my wife and I have been very desperate for Jesus…we’re both sinful people…but we want to live life in such a way that it is clear to our kids, neighbors, co-workers and family that we are about Jesus. I’d tell them that they have an amazing opportunity right now for their relationship to clearly be about Jesus.

When I feel like they are tracking with me and I sense the Spirit has hopefully prepared their hearts to hear His truth then I’d share Hebrews 13:4, “Let marriage be held in honor among all, and let the marriage bed be undefiled, for God will judge the sexually immoral and adulterous.” I’d share how at the time this was written the people couldn’t get away with saying, “We’re married in our hearts.” We are not people who can separate our hearts from the rest of us. At the time this was written it was very popular for people to be platonists. This meant that people, following the philosophy of Plato, would separate their physical lives from their heart (spiritual life). So their “hearts” would honor God spiritually, but their bodies would go visit prostitutes. Jesus knew this was wrong…this is why Jesus gave us the command in Luke 10:27 that we need to love Him with our entire bodies…not just one compartment.
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Elder Questions: Miscarriage

I’m currently in a six month eldership process at my local church. This series is taken from questions asked during the process.

elderQuestions

How would you respond to a couple at your church that just miscarried 9 weeks into pregnancy? What scriptures would you take them to?

I don’t know exactly what I would do or say until I’m in the moment and hopefully being led by the Holy Spirit. More than likely, however, I would say very little and there’s a good chance I might not read any scripture if the moment is really fresh. I would start by simply telling them that I’m so sorry this has happened. I would let them know that I love them and I’m so sorry. I’d ask them if there’s anything I can do to help them out during this time. Since a DNC can be expensive I’d probably try to come up with some money to give them in a simple card. If it seems right I’d ask them if I could pray a simple prayer for God’s hand to carry them through this time. That’s it. I think very rarely do people want to “be taken to certain scriptures.” If I did happen to go to scripture it would probably be one of the Psalms of lamentation.

If they do start asking biblical questions then I’d try to find out what they’re thinking before going in any pre-determined direction. They could be wondering if their child is in heaven. They could be wondering if God is punishing them for living together before they were married. They could be wondering if God is a good God. The sky is the limit in a situation like this but I would hopefully be able to direct them to the loving heart of God, their security in Christ (if they are in Him), all trying to be careful not to cut short the rightful time to mourn. In situations like this I try to say less and focus most on just being there and being available over the coming days, weeks and months where thoughts and feelings can go in many directions including anger and even struggling to stay close to your spouse as you grieve differently.

I would hope to be prepared to go with them down any biblical path they would like to discuss but I think a lot of pain can be caused if I go into that conversation with any pre-arranged group of verses I want to communicate. I want to serve them and hopefully I will be sensitive to the Spirit regarding how to best love them in such a sad time.

How would you respond to the same question? Please comment below to be of help to the Body of Christ.