Unfortunately, not every minister has a great relationship with his eldership.
Currently, I'm blessed to have a great relationship with all of my elders. It hasn't been that way at every church that I've worked with.
Recently, one of my elders dropped by my office. He knew I had been dealing with a difficult situation, and was worried I had been discouraged. He came by simply to encourage me. His visit meant the world to me.
We talked for a while. About what was going on. About what we were studying in our class. Even about heaven. As we talked, I was reminded of his wisdom, proud Bible knowledge, and that he viewed me as a sheep under his care.
Not all ministers have that blessing. Some elders view the ministers at their congregation as employees. Just employees.
But ministers aren't just employees. We are sheep. And we need to be shepherded.
Sometimes we need to be taught. Even though many of us spend every week studying God's Word in preparation for lessons we will be delivering, we still need to be taught the Word of God from those who have more experience and wisdom in the Word. One of the best things you will do when studying a passage for a lesson is to get some insight on the passage from one or more of your shepherds. One reason they shepherd the church of God is because they know His word, and are able to teach it.
Sometimes we need to be encouraged. We all deal with difficult situations in ministry. It's so encouraging to know that your shepherds support you. Their encouragement is invaluable.
Sometimes we need to be corrected. There will be times when we will say the wrong thing, do the wrong thing, and even teach the wrong thing. It's during those times that we need to be gently corrected. As a shepherd would gently guide sheep back into the fold, sometimes we need to be gently guided and prodded in the right direction. Though correction isn't always easy to receive, we can trust that shepherds of God's church have our best spiritual interests and the love of God at heart.
If you're reading this and you're a shepherd in God's church, don't forget the ministers who serve your congregation are sheep too. They need to be shepherded just as much as anyone else.
If you're reading this and you're a minister, work hard to build strong relationships with your shepherds. You need them. Take them to lunch. Pick their brain. Pray with them. Pray for them. Their support and encouragement will be invaluable to your ministry.