We do not have a paid clergy in our organization. Instead, as was done when the Christian congregation got its start, qualified overseers are appointed “to shepherd the congregation of God.” (Acts 20:28) These elders are spiritually mature men who take the lead in the congregation and shepherd, “not under compulsion, but willingly before God; not for love of dishonest gain, but eagerly.” (1 Peter 5:1-3) What work do they perform in our behalf?
They care for us and watch over us. The elders guide and help to protect the congregation spiritually. Aware that God has entrusted them with this important role, the elders do not dominate his people, but rather, they contribute to our well-being and joy. (2 Corinthians 1:24) Just as a shepherd diligently cares for each one of his sheep, the elders try to get to know every member of the congregation individually.—Proverbs 27:23.
They teach us how to do God’s will. Every week, the elders preside over the congregation meetings in order to strengthen our faith. (Acts 15:32) These devoted men also take the lead in the evangelizing activity, working with us and training us in all features of the ministry.
They give us personal encouragement. In order to care for our individual spiritual needs, local elders may visit with us in our home or at the Kingdom Hall to offer help and comfort from the Scriptures.—James 5:14, 15.
In addition to their work in the congregation, most elders also have secular jobs and family responsibilities that require their time and attention. These hardworking brothers deserve our respect.—1 Thessalonians 5:12, 13.
What is the role of the congregation elders?
In what ways do the elders show personal interest in us?