You Too, Can Succeed As An Elder!
Over the years I've observed elders I've worked with and noticed
various "unwritten" rules that make their positions secure and
successful. This, of course, has nothing to do being a "loving
shepherd" or "protector of the flock" - the sad creatures who
seek those goals obviously aren't going to last!
Since I resigned and they continue in power, I must acknowledge
my failure - and their corresponding superior wisdom.
So here's some observations on their success:
1) Remember that a body of elders is , most often, a "good old
boys" network (residents of Louisiana will understand). When
considering a new appointment to the body, the C.O. will often
ask if the brother "can work with the body". Neither he nor you
want some kind of idiot whistleblower on the body. The last thing
you need is some hyperzealous type the congregation will identify
as "young blood" (in contrast with old you-know-whats like you).
2) If there is a troublesome elder in your midst, don't worry
it's easy to deal with! GIVE him all the responsibility he
zealously craves! LET HIM be School Servant, Field Overseer,
give talks away every week. LOAD HIM UP! If he asks for help,
offer excuses until he learns his lesson. If he's too smart
for this approach, you might try encouraging the breakup of
marriage. If done carefully, not even the C.O. will catch on
(or secretly be glad he's gone).
3) Most C.O.'s will not accept an outright bribe (outside of
India or various 3rd world areas). Handing people cash is
so vulgar -- how about a nice game of golf? Rounds of drinks
at the pub? Expensive dinners at nice restaurants? Use your
imagination here - works with other elders, too. One hand greases
the other, you know.
4) Remember that double standards exist for your benefit - but only
if you properly maintain them. If you are "merciful" with a
fellow elder's fornicating son, the favor may be returned.
On the other hand, Sister Single or her miserable offspring
can dealt with so as to "keep the congregation clean".
5) Never forget that the REAL PURPOSE OF ELDER'S MEETINGS IS
TO RATIFY DECISIONS ALREADY ARRIVED AT IN SECRET. They are
a just a formality to preserve a naive notion of collegiality
amoung some brothers. You know differently - the real important
stuff gets decided beforehand by the guys who are really in
6) The Bible is a collection of proof texts to used for your
convenience as a "springboard" to authorize whatever you
deem necessary. Indeed, no Scripture shall ever be viewed
as CONTRADICTING OR EVEN MODIFYING a clear dictate from
the Society. Heck, don't even bother with scripture - quote
whatever policy the Service Dept tells you and leave it at
7) In regard to financial matters, there are so many ways to
scam the congregation, you could write a book. If you get
a huge contribution for building, put it in a special fund
and "forget" it. Then in a year or so, tell the friends
how poor the congregation is - use the accounts report
in a heavy winter heating month. Also, if somebody underbids
your choice on materials, accuse him of using poor quality
stuff that won't last.
8) As someone once said "there's lies, damned lies and statistics".
How true! Suppose you have 100 publishers and an average meeting
attendance of 90 - so, your attendance average is 90%. Then,
50 publishers fall out of the truth but all the remaining
publishers faithfully attend - you've just increased meeting
attendance by 10%! Hooray!
I could go on and on
but some of you might want to add your own observations
leading to greater success -- as an elder!
Actually our CO always received 'envelopes'(cards w/cash) after his final talk.....they were handed to him discreetly while all were in a line to say goodbye and wish him well. I know this for a fact.I knew the sisters who collected for these,,,,enjoyed your post,regards,Tina
Not all elders (c.o.’s included) are as you describe them.
-Seen it all, done it all, can't remember most of it-
Well now, I emphasize that these are rules for successful
And.... I believe you have elsewhere ascribed the sad
conduct of many to the "system" - which I think I've given
a reasonable description of!
The truth hurts.....and that hurt bigtime.
Just a brief comment on point 5.
One of my pet peeves was that a written agenda for all elder's meetings would be furnished several days before the event. Each elder could study the proposed topics, do research, pray, etc.
Inevitably, in spite of my broken-record insistance on a pre-meeting agenda, the PO would say toward the close of a meeting: "Bro. So-and-So has something he would like to bring before the body." Then Bro. So-and-So would detail a well-orchestrated plan for something, usually the weightiest and most far-reaching topic of the entire meeting. His chronies would add their support and influence. All the t's were crossed and i's dotted for this proposal.
My response would always be: "Well, its obvious some thought has been given to this, but the rest of us are caught a little flat-footed here. Perhaps, we could all give this prayerful consideration and consider it at the next meeting."
If looks could kill, I would have been dead 1000 times.