Elder Membership Training


The Shepherd culture of Palestine is also in the background of the whole Scripture. When David became king, he claimed that the Lord is his Shepherd in Psalm 23. He was right.

In an old book written in the days of Ellen White, the author said that sheep knew the voice of the shepherd, so the shepherd, if he is over the hill and the sheep cannot see him, they are at ease if they can still hear his voice. If someone else wants to imitate his voice, the run away for they do not know the voice. Christ said that His sheep knows Him and as Shepherd, He knows them too. They listen to His voice.

The role of the goat in the flock is important. Sheep walks looking down on the grass and move forward watching the legs of the sheep in front of them. A goat is intelligent and his head is up and he is looking at the horizon from time to time. Thus, having a goat in the flock is helpful to protect against wolves, since goats attack the wolf with their horns but sheep get scattered and so lose their lives.

An Arab was asked if he counts his sheep every night, he said that if one should put a cloth over his head, he would be able to say if all are in by touching their nose area.

Then the farmers also have dogs with the flock and in Job 30:1 we know that Job was using dogs in the flock. The dogs run around the flock to see that they all stay together and do not stray out.

Now what about Peter? The Lord asked him to be a shepherd one day to let His sheep eat. He has to feed the flock. Does that mean Peter is now crowned with dignity and honor? No. the Shepherd of the church is also the sheep. Christ said also to Peter and the other disciples, “you will be as sheep among the wolves”.

Thus, each shepherd is a sheep as well. This attitude is very important for proper service in the church. Jesus was both Shepherd and Lamb. In Revelation 7:17 Christ said that the Lamb of God will lead the remnant saved in the eschaton to streams of living waters. Christ will not stop leading the saved in the heaven. In fact, when He was resurrected, He chose to be human, so that humanity is forever connected to Him.

In 1 Peter 5:1-4, Peter is asking the elders to lead the flock but be humble so that they can receive their crown from the Chief Shepherd at the eschaton.

The pastor is really the goat in the flock. He functions as Shepherd although he is also a sheep. His eyes is connected to his fellow pastors in the conference, in the Union in the World General Conference. He updates himself about many issues and topics in the church.

If a church does not have a pastor, the elder need to have on his desk his Bible, lesson book, 23 Fundamental Beliefs, a book on the music philosophy of Adventism and EGW statements or the book by Paul Hamel on Adventist Music, the 1981 book 101 Questions on the Sanctuary prepared by R. Olsen dealing with effective answers against Ford and his claims after the Clacier View conference, book on Women Ordination, on Gay ministry, Holy Spirit doctrine of Adventism book, Last Day Events book, Church Manual. From time to time the elder need to page through these books to update him about these issues so that he can effectively deal with such an issue and not be caught unhanded.

This is how the elder prepare himself for the winds of change to come.