If you have a long enough conversation with a little kid, at some time or another, you are going to hear about what they want to be when they grow up. This seems to be an everyday thing among all little kids—they all have dreams and visions of what they see themselves doing when they get older. (Their ideas can certainly be pretty wild, but it makes for an entertaining conversation.) With kids, the possibilities are endless—they astronauts, firefighters, doctors, police officers, dolphin trainers, you name it! Among all the different fantasies that little kids will have about their future, do we ever hear kids having the dream of being an elder or an elder’s wife?
The role of an elder within the church is one of great importance and responsibility, but also a great honor. As Paul writes his first letter to Timothy, he gives his young mentor an outstanding statement: “If any man aspires to the office of overseer [elder], it is a fine work he desires to do” (1 Timothy 3:1). In Paul’s mind, being an elder was a position that all men of the church should have the desire and the longingness to do! Why is this the case? Elders have a great responsibility in leading the church closer to the Lord and protecting the flock. At the same time, elders have an incredible opportunity to be examples of godly leadership and of Christ to the church they serve. The qualities Paul includes in the requirements for elders (3:2-7) certainly attest to the kind of men that the church should have as their leaders: good, godly men that will help the church become stronger. These are the kinds of qualities we should want to have in our own lives, as well as qualities we should bring up our kids to have as a goal for their lives!
The next time you are having a conversation with a kid about what they want to be when they grow up, ask them if they have ever thought about being an elder or an elders’ wife. Talk to them about the great things that come through being an elder and how special the position is for the church! If you are having a conversation with a little girl or young lady, tell them about the qualities in finding a godly man (looking at the list Paul gives in 1 Timothy 3). Just think how wonderful would it be to hear a little kid say, “When I grow up, I want to be an elder of the church!” Let’s start now to give ourselves and our kids that dream!