Just as a flock of sheep can’t be healthy without shepherds, ranch hands, and veterinarians, a local church can’t be healthy without elders and deacons.
Before going to college, I knew nothing about livestock. I could tell you how a computer worked, but not how to brand a steer. I majored in animal science. I was exposed to life on a ranch. Our college had an annual livestock show and rodeo; my freshman year, I showed a one-year-old ewe (female sheep.) Our school’s sheep ranch had shepherds, ranch hands, and veterinarians. And those roles have existed since livestock were domesticated thousands of years ago. Sheep don’t raise themselves.
Jesus calls His followers sheep (John 10). Like the animals on my school’s ranch, we Christ-followers need shepherds, ranch hands, and veterinarians. Jesus is our Chief Shepherd (1 Peter 5:4), but He has also appointed under-shepherds or elders to tend the flock (1 Peter 5:1-3). Elders care for our well-being by feeding, guiding, and protecting us. The church also needs ranch hands and veterinarians. In these equally important roles, deacons specifically care fort hose who are sick, in need, or vulnerable to being taken advantage of. They perform physical tasks so that the elders can focus on feeding the sheep and leading them to green pastures.
Just as a flock of sheep can’t be healthy without shepherds, ranch hands, and veterinarians, a local church can’t be healthy without elders and deacons. As we enter this season of nominating new elders and deacons, please be praying that God will raise up new elders and deacons of His choosing. Be sensitive to the Spirit’s leading on whom you will nominate.