Make Wise Use of Your Elders
1 All the elders were pleased to learn on the second day of the “Joyful Workers” District Assembly that they were going to be able to attend the Kingdom Ministry School course in November and December. How can all of us benefit from the school?
2 The school underscored the serious responsibility of the elders to shepherd every one of Jehovah’s sheep lovingly, to expend themselves unselfishly in behalf of the flock. Rather than standing apart from the congregation, the elders “belong to you.” (1 Cor. 3:21-23) That is, they are primarily in their assigned positions to render service to their brothers. When you become spiritually sick, do you “call the older men,” seeking the spiritual benefits that come from their experience and training? (Jas. 5:14) When problems or questions that you cannot solve come up in your life, do you wait for an elder to render help? If you have a question that the elder cannot answer, he will tell you so. But, perhaps he may be able to assist you to find the Scriptural answer. In the early Christian congregation the older men were “gifts” to their brothers. (Eph. 4:8) The same applies today. Let us benefit from the service they are able to render.
3 The importance of being an effective teacher was another subject stressed in the school. The elder’s teaching is always to be based upon God’s Word as was Jesus’ instruction. (Matt. 4:4) His motive should be to honor our Father in heaven. (John 8:49, 50) When teaching in the congregation, the elders are to teach “the word.” (2 Tim. 4:2) We are not given numerous rules in the Bible, so elders are encouraged not to make unnecessary rules for their brothers. How much the elders can benefit their brothers if their teaching is based on the principles of the Bible and they assist them to develop a good, clean conscience! So if you approach an elder for advice on a matter, he is in a position to help you to reason on the various principles that apply and show you portions of God’s Word that can help you to make the right decision.
4 The matter of taking the lead and giving training in evangelizing work was also given careful consideration. In the United States there has been a drop in field service activity recently. Elders were reminded that the evangelizing work is more important than ever and that only “whole-souled” service is pleasing to Jehovah. (Col. 3:23) Accordingly, they should give careful attention to this activity.
5 However, do not feel that you must wait for an elder to invite you to share with him in this evangelizing work. Especially would this apply to our many new ones recently starting to praise Jehovah. We encourage you to approach your book study conductor or any one of the elders and ask him if you can share with him in the field service. Elders are encouraged to make it a regular practice to invite others to share with them in the field service. The closer relationship this brings will likely prompt you to seek the elders’ help in other matters. If you do this, problems can often be handled before they grow to serious proportions.
6 In whatever time remains of this present old order, all who are truly elders will be working harder than ever to build up their brothers now, while they have opportunity. To all others, now is the time to take advantage of this provision of Jehovah. To such ones we say, “Make wise use of your elders.”