I am an elder.
I am also a wife, a mother, an artist, an art and English teacher, a business owner, and a senior citizen, but, most importantly, I am a person who attempts daily to walk in obedience to Jesus’ instruction and example. As each of you know, this is not an easy task!
My “comfort zone” seems to be constantly challenged by God. It’s not comfortable to answer the knocking at the church door to find a slightly inebriated man searching for a moment of peace, and asking questions about why I believe Jesus is “real.” As we sit together in the sanctuary for nearly an hour, he asks to hold my hand briefly and hugs me after I pray for him.
It's not comfortable to lead a group of women in Bible study and fellowship when many struggle with the importance of surrendering to Jesus and the need to worship God.
It's not comfortable to travel alone to regional and national church meetings (I hate flying!). It is not comfortable to participate in meetings where I sometimes wonder whether I have anything to contribute.
It’s not comfortable to juggle my life to include regular Bible study and prayer.
It's not comfortable to try to convince others that it really matters to be hospitable to those who are different than us, to build relationships and to share one’s faith story with those individuals. I often am short of ideas, energy, competence, and courage, but God uses me anyway because I seem to be available.
There are many other details I could add about my particular role as a serving elder at the First Presbyterian Church in Jerome, Idaho, but instead for now, it is on my heart to challenge every elder, including myself, to be open and to be available to the daily promptings and opportunities raised by the Holy Spirit. My prayer is,
“Please, God, make me be radical for Jesus Christ as you empower and use me every single day!”
Linda Gray serves as the ECO Council & Synod Secretary. In 1997, Linda joined the Presbyterian Church in Jerome, ID and since then has served as a deacon, an elder leading the Outreach & Evangelism team for 13 years (and counting), a synod commissioner, trained with 3DM, lead ALPHA and a women’s outreach program, and taught Bible classes. She is an art and English teacher who also owns a stained glass business specializing in the creation of church windows. Her husband, Wilson, is a professor at the University of Idaho, and they are the proud parents of two grown daughters, Elizabeth and Katy.