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In an earlier post I recommended Glenn’s new book Headed to the Office. I cannot know if the fact that Glenn wrote this book is a factor in my judgment about the quality and timeliness of this book. I’m just not objective enough to know. But I do know that I hope our son will read it, study it, apply it and teach it. I know that I continue to visit congregations where I think this book could be a positive and needed catalyst for leadership development. Recently my husband gave a copy of this book to Reed Vega. Reed, the 13-year-old son of Matt and Jennifer Vega of Montgomery, AL, was kind enough to carefully read and review the book. I want to share his comments with you, because they are insightful. Most of all, I want to encourage those of you who are mothers to be sure your kids are into good books. What a great idea for family Bible time for parents to occasionally have kids read great materials for several consecutive nights before prayer time and then spend a couple of evenings reviewing the readings. Great and doctrinally sound books for Christian families can be found at tuckerbooks.com, at focuspress.org, at apologeticspress.org, at publishingdesigns.com and at colleybooks.org. (among many others). Here’s Reed’s take on the book Headed to the Office.
BOOK REVIEW: HEADED TO THE OFFICE
by Reed Vega
I really enjoyed reading the book, Headed to the Office written by Glenn Colley. It takes an original approach to looking at the qualifications of an elder. I really encouraged me as a young man to develop these traits so I will be ready to lead God’s people in the future. Each chapter discusses one of the biblical traits of being a good elder in modern terms so that young people can easily understand them. In chapter one, He Wants to Be a Great Man, the book starts by asking the question, “How do you view yourself forty years from now?” This question prompted me to think about how I want to spend the rest of my life. It reminded me how much I want to live a life in service to God. It helped me to realize that there is no higher calling than to shepherd God’s flock. Chapter two talks about how elders keep a clear conscience in all they do in order to be blameless. This is something that has always bothered me about elders. My grandfather served as an elder for over thirty years. I have admired him and other elders for their service but they almost seemed too perfect to me. How could I ever be as good as them? However this book has shown me a new way to look at elders. It explains what being “blameless” really means. Even though they are good men and should be admired, they still have flaws. They have to work hard at living in such a way that they do not have to worry about someone accusing them of doing something wrong. I realized that my struggles with living a honest Christian life are helping to prepare me to be just like them someday. Chapters four, five, and six cover some of the most important topics in the book. If elders are to lead our church then they must be wise, of good behavior and they must have time for people other than themselves. I especially liked the book’s discussion of wisdom which was defined as: “The ability to see how a particular course of action will ultimately turn out.” This definition is a very good one. It makes clear that a wise elder can see what will help himself and the congregation grow spiritually and what will not. Chapter seven deals with how an elder must have a working knowledge of God’s Word. The book gives great ideas on how to gain bible knowledge. It suggests reading small books like Philippians that you can read at least one or two times through in a single sitting. It emphasizes keeping notes and using commentaries and dictionaries to answer any questions that come to mind. Chapter eight talks about how important it is for an elder avoid alcohol. One of the key verses given is Proverbs 20:1which says, “Wine is a mocker, Strong drink is a brawler, and whoever is led astray by it is not wise.” The verse really illustrates how the requirement to not be given to wine goes hand in hand with the wisdom trait. When you drink alcohol and become drunk you become exactly the opposite of wisdom, you become a fool. Chapters nine and ten deals with the practical importance of an elder being able to control his temper and being honest in all his business dealings. The book says, “That you’ve got to remember that an uncontrolled temper hurts children and ruins marriage. I’ve never thought that any member of my family should be allowed to kick things or slam doors when angry, and that includes me.” The book says plainly that an elder cannot have a bad temper if he is to deal with problems rationally. The book also points out that dishonest business practices are not only evil but take away from giving to God. Chapter 11 talks about patience. The book points out the importance of the trait in many ways. One verse that is given is Titus 3:1-2 which says we are ”to be peaceable, gentle, showing humility to all men.” This is a problem that I struggle with sometimes. I get a little annoyed whenever someone is talking to me that gets on my nerves. I lose patience with them and try to get away from them as quickly as possible. One point that was made in the book was that if an elder does not have patience he cannot deal with matters that take a lot of time to fix. He will simply jump to a wrong conclusion, and cause even more grief for the whole congregation. Chapter 12 talks about how an elder must be the spiritual head of his family. I think it is true that an elder who cannot lead his own family probably will not be able to lead God’s church effectively. In addition, people in the congregation will not respect him or his decisions if he has failed as a husband and a father. Finally, Chapter 13 deals with the elder’s reputation. The book points out that we have to respect the elders but they also have a responsibility to earn that respect. They must protect their good reputation by avoiding bad language, not wearing clothes that convey bad behavior, etc. The book quotes Matthew 6:6 to emphasize that a person’s reputation should reflect his private devotion to God. I agree that a good reputation is important because if an elder has a bad reputation at work and then becomes an elder in the church he could give the church a bad reputation in the community. This was the first book I have ever read on the qualification of elders. I thought it was a good, thorough explanation of the traits of being an elder. It not only defined each trait well but it showed me the importance of developing those characteristics while I am young. I hope that one day I am ready to serve as an elder but this book will certainly help me be a better Christian no matter what my eventual role in the church.