Like the clergy, family members can also be affected positively or negatively by the elder’s ministry. An awareness of these possibilities can enable the session to support each other in their journey.
A simple way to begin might be to ask them to identify the various ways in which the family is affected by their being an elder. Make a list of both the positive and negative possibilities listed. Then begin to brainstorm together how God might use their active time of service in a way that could positively affect the members of their family.
A next step might be for the session to have a banquet that included their family members. At that banquet, there could be some acknowledgment of the extra pressures that family members may experience during this time of active service. Then someone could share with the families some of the ideas about how God might use this time of service to affect them positively. Following that presentation, the whole group could be asked how they respond to those possibilities.
A liturgy of dedication might be developed in which all members of each family is asked to enter into a covenant with God and each other to both support the elders and to seek how God can use each of them during this time of service. Drawing upon the gift of technology, they might also exchange emails and form a community of families in which they can share with each other during this time of service.