Two months ago we began looking at why we should join the church if we trust our lives to the Lord Jesus Christ. Being a member involves both privileges and responsibilities, and so over the next few months I want to look at particular areas in relation to membership under these terms.
This month we’ll look at Spiritual Oversight in the church.
It is your privilege to have Elders set over you by the Lord. Just as parents exercise loving care, leadership and discipline in our families, so the Elders fulﬁl that role in the church. When they, as a formal body (the ‘Kirk Session’), received you into the fellowship, they became obligated to care for your spiritual needs by giving you spiritual leadership and training.
Depending on your situation, this might involve such things as guidance, encouragement, comfort and rebuke (Acts 20:28-31; 2 Timothy 4:2; 1 Peter 5:1-4) They may also be involved in leading Bible studies and prayer meetings and they will guide believers, as well as those who are not yet believers, with private counsel (1 Timothy 3:1-7). On some more delicate matters in particular, older women have a special responsibility to teach younger women in the congregation (Titus 2:4). In the Free North we seek to involve women as much as possible in our pastoral care teams for this very reason.
It is your responsibility to recognise that the Elders are set over you by the Lord, support them in their role and be submissive to their loving encouragement and discipline (1 Timothy 5:17; Hebrews 13:7,17).
While the role of the Elders means that you can expect a visit from an Elder or the Minister from time to time, it is important that you feel free to approach them at any time or even ask for a visit if you feel it would be helpful. So, if you are looking for guidance, prayer or help in any spiritual matter, or need someone to talk to about your Christian walk, please do not hesitate to get in touch with me as your Minister or the Elders of our congregation.
I do hope and pray that as we take a closer look at the issue of membership over these months we’ll grow together as we rejoice in our privileges and recognise our responsibilities as brothers and sisters in the Lord Jesus.
Next month we’ll look at Preaching.
Your friend and pastor
Rev Colin MacLeod