I am learning a lot about character this week. I have seen it in a group of men whom I love and share much. They are my shepherds.
Over these years I have witnessed their prayers, their tears, their service to the family of God at Concord Rd., and their obvious love for God and each other.
Many people love the thought of leadership. When everything is good and easy, leadership is desired; but when life and decisions get hard, leadership can be excruciatingly difficult. I have learned over these last thirteen years to appreciate the eldership beyond measure. My elders have allowed me to set in on their meetings, to voice my concerns and thoughts, and to share in their prayers for the congregation. I have seen them in all seasons, and my respect could not be greater for their sacrifices and their utter concern for the welfare of the congregation.
Elders can't tell everything they know. Sometimes they make decisions people don't understand or approve. I can tell you, they make these decisions often with great thought and prayer. Sometimes members need to step back from the easy criticism and simply trust. They aren't telling you everything, because they are protecting someone or helping someone. They are willing to bear the brunt of criticism (much of it unfair) in order to see the will of God done and a brother or sister protected. Give them a break.
Elders and all leaders have to give an account for the flock. Let me say here that Hebrews 13:7 and 13:17 says "leaders" not "elders." The word leader certainly includes "elders" but may not fully be limited to just them. That burden weighs on their hearts, every soul of the flock.
Pray for your elders and encourage them. It will bless their hearts.