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Thoughts from our team...

On Being an Elder

April 4, 2024

From John Edison

John Edison-church elder-shared this devotional at the March 2024 Board Meeting. We are sharing a slightly edited version of it here so all can be blessed by John’s wisdom.

Nancy and I taught at Blue Mountain Academy for 43 years and knew many of the citizens and businesspeople in the small town of Hamburg, PA. I Had the privilege of being a member of the local Planning Commission (pro bono) for twenty-five years, seventeen years as chairperson. I led a Bible study group in the local Methodist church for six years. My wife and I were very happy with our situation which lasted for forty-three years.

I have compiled a short list of my goals as an elder. Elders have done a great variety of things during our world’s history from preaching to visiting the sick. In some churches the elders’ duties range from doing nothing to being the pastor’s errand boy. 

This list is based on what I have learn from scripture as well as the example of fellow elders, including elders at MAC.

1. Have a personal relationship with God. The best examples for this are in the book: “The Spirit and Power “by Pavel Goia.

2. Love people as Jesus did. While on earth. He knew and loved everyone.

3. Like people and have fun with them. Build a relationship. This applies to church members as every other person we encounter. We all must find our own ways of having fun making friends.

4. Always recognize, if only in your mind, the importance of all tasks that need to be done by you, by other church members, friends, and strangers you meet. All necessary work is honorable.

5. All work for the Lord should be done in the context of our own personality. Be yourself. Morris Venden and Carlton Byrd have vastly different styles of preaching. Both have been famous in the SDA church and have been in great demand as preachers.

6. “Whatsoever thy hand findeth to do, do it with thy might; for there is no work, nor device, nor knowledge, nor wisdom, in the grave, whither thou goest. I returned, and saw under the sun, that the race is not to the swift, nor the battle to the strong, neither yet bread to the wise, nor yet riches to men of understanding, nor yet favour to men of skill; but time and chance happeneth to them all” Ecclesiastes 9:10-11 God is no respecter of persons. All are called to serve.


MAC is the best place to be an elder at this time in church history.

Here are some reasons why:

1. The philosophy of our pastor concerning the elder's duties. He wants them to do what they are most equipped to do.

2. MAC is a friendly church.

3. We have a great group of elders to work with, no old guys stuck in the past. (I was in a church business meeting in 1959 discussing whether the boys could take off their shirts for a pickup basketball game.” Skins against the Shirts” was and is an old tradition. The next year and several following years there were long discussions about whether it was alright for girls to wear pants in church.)

4. I enjoy the fun at our board meetings. There is free discussion of all serious matters. I even enjoy watching and listening to some friendly verbal combat.

5. There has been a maturing of the SDA church as a denomination. Our present church is now focused more on God’s love, power, and grace than on a past obsession with being right.


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