I have been an elder or leader in several different churches through the years. I have noticed some common areas where I have experienced failure in that leadership setting. We failed in three key areas which were apparent in how we organized our meetings.
First, we failed to seek God in fervent prayer to lead us through the issues we were about to discuss. Sure, we had an opening and closing prayer, but it was a “bless this meeting” type prayer rather than an “if you don’t lead us we’re all doomed” type prayer. The former is the prayer of those who are confident that they know the direction and the latter is the prayer of those who rightly understand their dependency upon God for anything good to come out of the meeting.
The second failure was that we did not regularly seek the counsel of God by studying the Scripture to speak to the issues before us. We were more about what a consultant said, or what other churches in the denomination were doing. Yes, we would have a devotional, but too seldom, if at all, did we ask the question, “what does Scripture say about this?” Or, “What Biblical principles speak to this question and how should we apply them?”
The third failure was the recognition that it is Jesus’ responsibility to build the church and that we could be confident that Jesus had arranged for all the gifts to be manifested in the various elders in the church. And, because Jesus had ordained those elders to lead his church, there needed to be trust established between the elders.
I’m not singling out any one of the churches, these three things are common themes, even though they should not be.
Even if we think we know the direction to go, if God does not go before us and if we do not acknowledge our complete dependence upon Him for anything good to happen, we may have the appearance of progress, but it will be the appearance only.