The Elders at my church are so so boring. Yep. I said it. They are flat-out yawn-your-face-off ordinary. ZZZzzzzZZZzzzzZzZzZz.
Well that was a short-lived tenure at NECC for me wasn’t it? One month and I spilled the beans on the Elders already. I probably could’ve at least tried to hang around a year or two. But us young whipper-snappers are always stirring the pot… we just can’t keep our BIG mouths shut. And the next thing you know, we are in a whole slew of trouble. But such is the epic quest for edginess and relevance.
So while I repack my desk (which fortunately still isn’t unpacked) and call the movers to come back, let me explain to you the main reason why I know our Elders are boring. You ready?
They are boring because they are supposed to be.
I once heard New Testament scholar D.A. Carson give a brief talk on what kind of people the Bible calls Elders to be. And ultimately, he said that Elders are called to be pretty “unremarkable”! And if your Elders reach this high-bar of unremarkability (not a word), then you’re probably in pretty good shape.
Paul gives a character profile of Elders in 1 Timothy 3:1-7, and this is what he writes:
This is a trustworthy saying: “If someone aspires to be an elder,* he desires an honorable position.” 2 So an elder must be a man whose life is above reproach. He must be faithful to his wife. He must exercise self-control, live wisely, and have a good reputation. He must enjoy having guests in his home, and he must be able to teach. 3 He must not be a heavy drinker* or be violent. He must be gentle, not quarrelsome, and not love money. 4 He must manage his own family well, having children who respect and obey him. 5 For if a man cannot manage his own household, how can he take care of God’s church? 6 An elder must not be a new believer, because he might become proud, and the devil would cause him to fall. 7 Also, people outside the church must speak well of him so that he will not be disgraced and fall into the devil’s trap.
According to the New Testament, Elders should first and foremost be irreproachable (v.2). Paul uses this “above reproach” idea in v.2 as the umbrella trait which all the other traits fall beneath. In a sense, Paul is saying, “Elders should be above reproach, and played out in real life this looks like: marital fidelity, self-control, wisdom and discernment, hospitality, peacefulness, emotional stability, etc.”
Now I don’t know about you, but when I read Paul’s Elder-profile here I don’t see a single trait that is an especially unique expectation for only Elders (besides the ability to teach). Seriously though, think about it – aren’t all Christians supposed to be above reproach like this?
I’m pretty sure that being faithful to your spouse and sober and patient are pretty universal expectations. When you get right down to it, living an above reproach lifestyle, the lifestyle Paul expects Elders to live, is really an across the board calling for ALL Christians. This is what the ordinary Christian should look like, and my Elders, welp… O-R-D-I-N-A-R-Y! B-O-R-I-NG!!! Yawwwwnnnn. Spread the word!
But fortunately for them, the NEW awesome is boring. At least in my book. As a matter of fact, I envy their boringness. I strive for it. The standard of boring they set is so extremely unremarkable that it motivates me to move out of my abnormalities and quit being such a screw-up every day.
I write all this because these leaders are some of the first NECC people I’ve met in my tenure here. I’ve shared tacos, coffee, cookies, salmon, phone calls, texts convos, back decks, ping-pong bouts, little-league games, Bible discussions, basketball tickets, and one tiiiiiittte jam sessions in the basement with our Elders and their families. And I’ve already come to realize how lucky I am to have guys that set the bar so high in their quest for boringness.
So roll on NECC Elders, you’ve made quite the impression on Lindsay and me, and be comforted NECC family, your leaders are great (and hopefully have a good sense of humor).
This post was way too nice. Aren’t Elders and preachers supposed to argue and be mad at each other all the time? Aren’t I supposed to dread Elders meetings and hanging with these dudes? Maybe I should tell them that the Greek word for elder actually means “old guy.” Nope… bad idea. I’m already pushing my luck.