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This September we are going to be featuring posts and conversations related to the role of Elder. To get us started, we would love to begin by finding and connecting those who have served in this office! 

Have you ever been an elder? Are you currently an elder? Say "hello" in the comments below!


I look forward to reading your information regarding Elders in the CRC. I am serving my second three-year term in the office of Elder and am presently the Clerk of Council, as well.  I look foorward to future contacts.  Darrell Druvenga of the Parkersburg, Iowa CRC.


That one-word comment also sums up the kind of teaching, training and mentoring that I received when I was first elected an elder some 40 years ago.

With the benefit of hindsight, I was probably chosen to be an elder because

1. I seemed like a nice Christian guy.

2. I went to church twice on Sundays (back when they had two morning services).

3. I displayed leadership skills.

4. I loved the Church (ie its structure, Church Order, systems, etc.)

I was never interviewed for the position of elder; never asked for doctrinal positions on matters before the church's assemblies; never grilled -- or even asked -- about my devotional life and my knowledge of Scripture. It was 'assumed'.

I was probably asked if I loved the Church -- and I would have responded enthusiastically.

I was never asked if I loved Jesus, if I was striving to live a holy life, if I felt comfortable talking to parishioners under my pastoral care about their faith and my faith.

My view of elders today? Many aren't qualified to provide spiritual direction to those under their pastoral care simply because they aren't steeped in the Word and their daily devotional life is lacking.

Elders today (and undoubtedly for the past generation or two) seem to be administrative leaders more than they are spiritual mentors over the congregation.

Thus endeth my 'Hello'.

That's absolutely not true, Carol.  I wasn't selected because I was a male. Gender wasn't an issue back then. All elders and all deacons were men; no debate and no discussion.

In fact, the opposite began to happen in the 1970s with the advent of 'women in office'; women were chosen because they were women AND because they were qualified.

It is my hope and prayer that elders are never selected because of their gender but because they're qualified as spiritual leaders who lead godly lives.

I'd like to interject here that elders, and really all of us as Christians, are called to "serve others in selfless love." I believe part of serving in love includes giving others the benefit of the doubt. I can relate and agree with what both you and Carol said. I don't think that you were selected, Keith, *because* you  were a male, and I don't think Carol does, either, although I cannot speak for her. I think the point is that if you were *not* a male, during that time period,  you would never have been selected, regardless of your qualifications or lack thereof. In that way, it is true that gender is a factor in your being selected. 

It is true for me, and I believe others, that we are grateful for the advent of "women in office," and also have to deal with our sadness about the fact that it took as long as it did. It is something I pray about often. I am particularly sad that my daughter grew up in a church I love but during all her childhood years -- and until many years after -- never saw a woman elder or pastor in that church. I hope you and everyone can understand that sadness and, perhaps even show your love with tenderness and mercy.

I am confident we all share your hope and prayer that elders are selected because they are qualified as spiritual leaders who lead godly lives, and not for other reasons, whether it is gender, or popularity, or their appearance, or wealth, or whatever it might be.

Interestingly, at least for me, we have five married daughters. Four of them attend a PCA (Presbyterian Church in America) where men, and men only, serve as elders. For life. While they initially resented the fact that there were no women as elders, 'gender' has not become an issue. What is even more impressive that that those men who are chosen to be elders are incredibly godly men. The church takes the role of men as spiritual heads very seriously.

So, when they select new elders, 'gender' is never an issue. That's all they have ever known.

In the same way, when I first became an elder 40 years ago, gender was not an issue. Men were elders and deacons. Period. There was no thought, no desire to have women serve as elders.

During my early years in journalism, I used a typewriter with carbon paper. That's all I knew. I never longed for a laptop, desktop or anything digital.

I used to go to church twice on Sunday and I always wore a shirt and tie.

Times have changed. That applies equally to technology and church culture.

We shouldn't dismiss those earlier years in church when we 'only' had men as elders (in fact, there are undoubtedly hundreds of CRCs that still do) as something archaic ... where women were longing for the day when they could speak to a pastoral elder who was a woman.

The Church, and I speak of the CRC here, has often been too sensitive to the culture around us. Feminism led to the demand for women in office (though many denominations such as the PCA have resisted that).

Oh hi there, yes I eldered.  Could not have done it without a lot of prayer and time spent in the word.  It was a great time of spiritual growth for me.

I served three 3 year terms as Elder in two MN churches, twice went to Synod as an Elder, then became ordained Pastor now eleven years and went to Synod twice as Pastor in two separate Classes.  It was mostly good experiences, but of course some were difficult.  God Bless all past, present, and future Elders. 

Just elected as a Pastoral Care Elder at Shawnee Park CRC. I pastored 2 parishes and served with elders. In 1979, August started a 35 year career as a hospital chaplain. Now retired elected as elder. I will begin serving in October 2019. Open to some learnings. Thanks!

Thanks to so many of you for saying hi! It's great to hear from you. I wanted to follow-up on this post and let you know of a resource and two other conversations happening related to elders. First, the resource: 

Council Devotions: Church Health (Free devotionals created by Rev. Dr. Stan Mast that focus specifically on church health. There are 12 of them and each one would make a great opener for a council meeting.) 

Now the conversations: 

Elders and Conflict (What advice would give to an office bearer dealing with a particularly thorny issue?) 

What Do You Wish You Had Know When You Were First Installed? 

If you haven't already, you can subscribe to the Elders section (click on the envelope in the top left corner) or sign-up to receive the weekly Network email (sent out each Tuesday at 2 pm). 

Thank you again for saying hi! 

I think I signed in with my "hello " almost a year ago. I don't think that much has come of the conversation, discussion or dialogue over the past year.

After serving numerous terms as an elder,  usually as chair of council, I have discovered recently that I wasn't really qualified.

Sure, I checked all of the boxes, especially gifts of administration and organization, but I didnt have a sound biblical foundation. I couldnt easily quote scripture to parishioners when it came to providing wise counsel to families.

I readily proclaimed my love for the church and its institutions but, on hindsight, I  didnt have a living, breathing relationship with Jesus.

So, the number 1 criterion for serving as an elder: have an intimate relationship with Jesus Christ and be immersed in scripture. 


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