This definition of pastor, teacher, shepherd, is far more biblical, but difficult to transform into. I had long been a servant of the church, but now I was being called to become a spiritual leader. The transformation to this new role did not come over night. Over the next three years I wrestled with God, Jeremy, the other elders, and even members of the church trying to discover what true spiritual leadership means. I have made mistakes, I have stepped on toes, and I have stressed friendships trying to understand what God’s vision for VVC is and my place in serving that vision as an elder. These difficult lessons were not in vain as I am constantly learning what spiritual leadership means.
I knew this would happen though. I didn’t sign up for business as usual. I realized that I had become comfortable and complacent in my walk, and I felt VVCC becoming comfortable and complacent with her place in the community. With a great burden on my heart, and the hearts of others in leadership, I knew it was time to transform personally, spiritually, as a leadership body, and as a church body if we were going to impact the High Desert for Christ.
Change starts in Leadership
To me being an elder is a lesson in complete sacrifice, humility, and obedience. It is only from this position that decisive moves in the name of Jesus can be made. I cannot act as his representative to the church if I am not relentlessly pursuing his will for my life. This pursuit has lead to immense personal transformation in my life, my walk with God, my marriage, my family, and my work. I cannot expect VVCC to transform families far from God if I’m not letting it transform me first.
It is through this personal transformation that I now truly understand the description we have laid out for our elders:
"Elders in the Christian church are pastoral overseers or shepherds who are called to care for, protect, teach, lead, and pray for the flock to which God has entrusted them. The apostle Peter wrote to elders that they are to oversee with a willing heart of service as an example of Christlikeness (1 Peter 5:2)...The elders of VVCC are men who embody the biblical characteristics in the New Testament, who are accountable to God the Father, Jesus the head of the church, and to the leadership family, and are committed to the protection, unity, and teaching of the congregation as servant leaders."
What is Needed Moving Forward?
Brothers and sisters together we can impact this fallen world. Together we can transform families who are far from God. Together, focused on God's will for VVCC, we too can be transformed in this work and by this work. Ultimately being an elder is not about me at all, but all of us together becoming what God has called us too, his transformative light in a dark and desperate world.