How can broken trust between elders and believers be restored?

How can broken trust between elders and believers be restored?

Such a condition is drastic and surely must be a rarity. No doubt, lesser degrees of this condition exist.

If the elders lose confidence in the other believers in the assembly, they cannot effectively lead them. Since they are responsible to the Lord to lead (1 Thessalonians 5:12) and are presently accountable for the condition of the flock (Hebrews 13:17), they are responsible to find a remedy. If they "know the state" of their flock (Proverbs 27:23), they will avoid such a condition. If they tenderly and genuinely take care of the flock and depend only on the authority of the Word of God, such a condition could hardly exist. Those who "lead" but find no one is following "have not so learned Christ" (Ephesians 4:20). But to balance this, the flock needs to be reminded of God’s command (!) to submit to the overseers. To submit is to obey the Lord, so submission to the overseers means submission to the Lord (and vice versa). Whatever the condition, believers are to pray for the overseers and the overseers for the flock (Jam 5:16). This is our primary resource.

If the believers lose confidence in their leadership, their responsibility to submit to and pray for their leaders has not changed. Nonetheless, the burden of responsibility in remedying this condition rests on the leaders. When the Lord shepherded His disciples, He did not have to ask them in order to know their condition, thoughts, and needs. He knew them completely. Even so, He did ask on occasion (examples: Mark 9:33; Luke 24:38). Fallible overseers need to communicate with the flock. Apart from information that is confidential or strictly personal, overseers can freely communicate all matters regarding their work. Even confidential information can be kept confidential, but overseers can tell the flock that confidential information influenced their decision. Overseers are not a board of directors who hand down decisions to be implemented by the managers and other employees. A willingness to consult with the flock on any matters that will affect them is sound policy (Proverbs 11:14; 24:6). Also, some non-biblical, non-spiritual decisions can be entrusted to others (Rom 14:19a). If pride is a negative factor in interpersonal relationships (Proverbs 13:10), servant leadership (Mark 10:33, 34) will tend to unity and peace.

D. Oliver