Each year our session (board of elders) chooses one book to study for our annual elders' retreat. On these yearly outings, we pray for our church, and discuss the spiritual task before us. This year we selected The Elder and His Work by David Dickson.
Although this brief work
is written by a Scottish Presbyterian Elder from the 1800's, the
subject matter of these 130 pages is timeless. Updated by Philip Graham
Ryken and George Kennedy McFarland, the scope of this book covers all of
the basic fields of ministry responsibility related to the office of
Dickson covers such topics as the character of the
elder, his primary duties, ministering to the sick, church discipline,
family worship, and more. Each of the updated chapters come with study
questions provided by the modern editors. Here, I believe is the advance
of this latest edition. These questions will provide your elders and
mine great fodder for thought as we discuss and analyze the spiritual
health of our own congregations today.
Yes, this book has some
dated concepts. Particularly dated is the parish (proximate geography)
visitation concept used in old Scotland. But I am sure that this work
has challenged our elders to consider again our great, Scriptural
calling and charge to lead our congregation with humility and wisdom.
Matthew Everhard is the Senior Pastor of Faith Evangelical Presbyterian Church in Brooksville, Florida.