The Elders' Management of the Church, by Witness Lee


An elder must also have the power of discernment. He cannot deal with matters and make judgments and decisions foolishly. He has to learn to be an authority with discernment. We will speak about this point specifically in the next chapter. Here we will just mention this in passing.


An elder must also serve as the authority in coordination. Whenever he is isolated, he is no longer the authority. Concerning the coordination of the elders, we will also have a special section to cover this matter. The eldership is a corporate body. It can be compared to the government in a nation. No one there can be isolated.


An elder must be the authority, but he must never exercise authority. Whenever you exercise your authority as an elder, you are already disqualified from being an elder. Let me again relate the story of Moses. Moses was indeed the authority among God’s people, yet he never exercised authority. Every time that problems, difficulties, or business affairs arose, he had only one place to go, which was to bow before God. No one ever heard him say that he was God’s established authority, or that he was going to deal with matters or take care of affairs with authority. He never said anything like this. But yet all the while, he was being the authority there. He was acting as an authority in love, in patience, and with discernment. His being the authority in this way was his exercising of his authority.

In the same way, you and I must learn to be the authority in love, in spirit, in resurrection, in patience, in discernment, and in coordination. At the same time, we must not exercise our authority. Always bear in mind that we should never exercise our authority as an elder. Never say, "I am an elder, and I sit in the seat of an elder. I am doing such-and-such a thing in the position of an elder." This is wrong. May the title of an elder and the position of an elder be reduced to zero among us. Among us we should only have the person, the ministry, the responsibility, and the burden of an elder. For the elders, to be an authority is to exercise authority.

(The Elders' Management of the Church, Chapter 6, by Witness Lee)