What do Suncrest elders do?

This follows up on the previous post about “what elders do”.  After we landed on some big picture stuff (Guard and Guide; Doctrine, Direction, Discipline), we wanted to make sure we talked about where the elders could embody “excellence” as elders.  2008 is a year where we are emphasizing excellence at all levels of our ministry.

I think any time you are in a position of authority/responsibility (I think those two words should be essentially the same thing), there could be the temptation to be “the excellence police” — to sit on our perch and point out where excellence isn’t happening.  But great leaders always hold themselves to the highest of standards first.

So, here are some areas where we thought it was right for us elders to make sure we are excellent!

1.  Attention to Process (not just perspective)…Suncrest is a place that is open to almost any conversation.  If you have a different perspective on something, we welcome talking about it, learning what there is to be learned, maybe even disagreeing about it in a respectful way.  This could be about anything — a biblical issue, the way we program our worship service, our vision for planting churches, etc.  So, I think we are healthy in that way.

In my opinion, the big difference between healthy churches and unhealthy ones are HOW those different perspectives or disagreements are PROCESSED.  For example, if someone has a complaint about a staff member, I won’t even listen to it unless they have already addressed it personally with the staff member.  It’s the right and respectful way to process that.  And our elders are committed to handling issues that come up in the same way — with attention to both the issue at hand…and attention to the right way to handle the issue at hand.

2.  Help Staff (and key volunteers) lead…Our elders constantly guard themselves against micromanaging me or our staff.  And they do a great job at that.  Additionally, we talk about how we can help someone win.  Might be praying for someone.  Might be encouraging them.  Might mean supporting them or resourcing them.

3.  Responsiveness…The amount of time that passes and level of engagement with a request or issue are powerful tools that set a tone for how we elder.  If the church or the staff ever get the sense they are “blown off” by the elders or the elders were inattentive to their issue, it undermines credibility…fast.  We will be proactive.

4. Care for Suncrest as a whole while not missing care for people one by one.  Elders are shepherds.  And in a church our size that can mean two entirely different things.  First, our elders shepherd Suncrest as a whole.  We guard and guide the church and specifically make sure processes are in place (like community groups) to shepherd every person who will take reasonable steps to connect with our church.

At the same time, our elders should shepherd people one-by-one.  It’s not as if we divide up the church so each person has “their elder” to care for them, but elders live with their antenna up to people and their needs.  And anytime they come across someone they can encourage, care for, pray with, etc. we should have a bent toward acting on those opportunities.

5.  Embody/Model the mission and values of Suncrest…Our elders lead by example first.  At  Suncrest, that means our elders lives need to reflect what we say is important.  No one will be perfect in this, but we should all be strong and growing. 

Key Questions:  (Mission) Am I putting myself in positions where God can use me to change lives?  If living out the 4C’s (cultivate, connect, contribute, care) is our picture of spiritual maturity, are they reflected in my life?  What other key values are there or what newly emphasized values (such as reproducing leadership) do I need to embody if I expect Suncrest to shift this direction as a whole? 


~ by Greg Lee on May 7, 2008.

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