Become an Elder Before You Are Elderly
I’d like to challenge the younger men in our assemblies to give serious thought to becoming an elder. The role isn’t for everyone, but I fear most men in my age group (I’m 36) have not even given it any serious contemplation. I think this is a mistake, as there is definitely a need for younger men to be on the oversight. Below are three reasons I believe younger men need to consider entering into leadership roles in their local assembly.
Relating to Younger Generations
First, younger men are needed as elders because they can better relate to a younger generation and the issues impacting them. Some of the issues facing young people today didn’t even exist a decade or two ago, and it may be difficult for some of the older men in leadership roles to identify with them. After all, some of them would be able to remember the first person on their street to get a black and white television, and may still be somewhat uncomfortable using a computer.
In comparison, today’s youth are growing up in a world of increased connectivity, where they can find out what is happening all over the world just by looking on their phone. The use of technology is just one example of the differences between the generation leading most assemblies and the younger generation.
Second, younger men are needed as elders because they are willing to do things differently. I’m not suggesting they would want to do anything that is clearly against the teaching of the Bible, but some changes could be beneficial. This could take many forms, such as introducing newer songs, a greater use of technology in the meetings, or even looking at the meeting times and format. These changes may seem radical to some, so any changes would have to be handled with a great degree of graciousness so as not to offend.
I am not advocating change solely for the sake of change, but I also believe that staying stagnant is not a viable solution. There seem to be fewer and fewer young people staying in assemblies, and I believe one of the reasons for this is that the young people don’t feel like the meetings are keeping up with the times. If an assembly insists on continuing to do things exactly the same way for 50 years, it may find there aren’t many people under 50 in the congregation.
Working with Wisdom
Third, younger men are also needed as elders because there is a great deal of wisdom that could be passed along to them by the older elders. If the younger men wait too long to take part in the leadership of the local assembly, they may miss valuable opportunities to learn at the feet of those who have already walked that road. Years of experience can go a long way towards avoiding potential pitfalls. I can personally vouch for this as I have been the beneficiary of some wise counsel from men who have been in a leadership role since before I was even born. This kind of guidance has greatly helped me as a young elder and may be available to you in your local assembly.
Younger men need to consider taking on a leadership role in their local assembly. Their ability to relate to the younger generation, their willingness to do things differently, and the opportunity to be taught by an older generation should not be wasted.