In what ways can believers help an elder to fulfill his responsibility?

In what ways can believers help an elder to fulfill his responsibility?

A primary responsibility is for believers to pray for their shepherds (James 5:16). They will one day give account to the Lord for the state of the flock (Hebrews 13:17). We can help them to watch over us with joy by submitting to the Word of God which they teach (vv 7, 17). Believers will also help overseers to care for them if they discuss with them their own struggles, concerns, and spiritual desires.

Such an ideal condition exists when the believers trust their overseers to know and care for them. Overseers earn that trust; it is not granted to a brother because the assembly recognizes him as an overseer. A brother expresses a genuine care for the believers, and therefore earns their confidence, long before the assembly recognizes him as an overseer (1 Thessalonians 5:12). An overseer cannot demand respect, but his life, character, care, manner, sensitivity, and sincerity will command respect. That respect is a stewardship to be carefully guarded. Without it, he will scarcely be able to "take care of the church of God" (1 Timothy 3:5).

D. Oliver