III. THE NEED TO BE CAPABLE IN EVERYTHING
It is not enough for an elder to be capable on one point, in one area, or with one part only; elders have to be capable in everything. The elders must be able to think, to endeavor, to oversee, to foresee, and to achieve. They must be able to protect, to resist, and to build. There is the need for them to be all-inclusive in their ability. Many of the brothers sitting here have the experience of being an elder. Surely, many times they feel that they cannot meet the many needs of the church. There are many things we should see that we have not seen. There are many things we should think of that we have not thought of. There are many things we should guard against that we have foolishly not guarded against. There are many things we should have brought up, but we have neglected them. There are many things we should have done, but we have missed the opportunity. There are many things we should have said but did not say. There are some things we should deal with but do not know how to deal with. There are many things we should solve, take the lead in, or help with, but we do not have the way to do what we should do. We know we need to study the Bible, but we do not know how to do it. Surely we know that we should preach the gospel, but we do not know how to do it. From our experience, we have found that the elders have to be capable in everything. Yet, in many areas we have fallen short. For this reason, we have to see that the elders must be coordinated, because no one person is capable in everything.
A member cannot be capable in everything; only the body is capable in everything. The eyes can only see. The ears can only hear. The hands can only work, and the feet can only walk. There is no way for a member to be capable in everything. Any brother or sister can only have that little bit of gift that he or she has; he or she cannot be capable in everything. Even the apostle Paul had to admit that he could not do Peter’s work, or James’ work, or John’s. Although Paul was a multi-talented apostle, and although he was gifted in many ways, he was very weak in areas other than his specialties. He could not replace the specialty of Peter, nor that of John.
When the elders in the church see the need to be capable in everything, immediately they will realize the need of coordination. It is impossible for you alone to meet the many needs in the church. Perhaps you are skillful in planning, yet you may not be able to carry out your plans practically. Perhaps you are good in working, but you are very weak in planning. You may be especially good in shepherding, but you may be very weak in handling business affairs. You may be very good in handling business affairs, but you may come short in the supply of life. Hence, you can see that no elder can meet all the needs. To meet all the needs, the elders must be coordinated.
(The Elders' Management of the Church, Chapter 8, by Witness Lee)