'We shouldn't be elders'

Encouraged by God's own work in building the lives of Nakui believers.

Nakui Bible teachers, Kibo, Suse and Sobai, have been doing the work of elders without the title for two years now missionary Greg Greenlaw writes.

And so Greg addressed the three men sitting across the floor from him, “We’ve heard how your marriages are doing well and you have been faithful in this ministry. Your testimonies in the village are good and you are cooperating with each other. Do you feel you three are ready to be recognized in the church as elders?”

Greg says there was a pause as the three men waited to see who would answer first.

Then Kibo spoke. “Our marriages are good now, that is true, but our speech is not completely good,” he confessed. “I don’t know about Suse, but when we get mad, Sobai and I still swear. We know this brings shame to Christ, so we should not be elders until that changes.”

Greg responded to the men, “What you’re saying is true. The church looks at you three as examples to follow … but this church needs leaders, so you tell me, when and how will these habits be changed?”

Sobai was the next to speak. “We need help,” he confessed. “Let’s ask the church to watch us and keep us accountable for our speech. When we meet tonight, let’s ask for their help.”

The men agreed together and Greg says that evening he made the announcement to the church. When Greg had finished explaining the need and the help that the body could be, he says Sobai waved him down.

“He wanted to express it for himself so there would be no mistaking that this was a request from them, not a requirement from me,” Greg shares.

So Sobai spoke to the group of believers. “We need your help. We know our swearing is wrong, but we haven’t left it yet. … We need you to watch us and remind us when we fail. We need our Christian brothers and sisters to help us become good leaders of the church. This is not just Greg’s idea, we are asking you for your help.”

Greg says it was an extremely counter-cultural thing to hear a grown Nakui man admitting his weakness and asking for both men and women to keep him accountable for his sin.

“Unbelievable.” Greg says. “This was not the fruit of his culture or his flesh. This heavenly fruit was born of the Spirit and it was beautiful to the ears.”

Thank God for His work in the lives of Nakui leaders and believers. Pray that as He continues to build His church, He will fortify it with His Truth and continue to grow His Nakui children into mighty and godly leaders who live transformed lives by the power of His Spirit and who impact their culture for Christ.