While doing some background reading for Ps. 106, I reviewed the story of Israel at Baal Peor (Num. 25), the Moabite shrine that probably looked a lot like a modern day strip club. As the wrath of God broke out against Israel in the form of a great plague, Moses called the judges together and told every one of them to “kill his men who joined himself to Baal Peor” (25:5). Of course Phinehas, the grandson of Aaron the High Priest, gets out his spear and does a little shishkabob action with a particularly brazen Israelite and his Midianite whore. As a result of Phinehas’ zealous actions, God’s wrath is appeased, and the plague is turned away.
There really are a number of fascinating elements of this story. But the bit I thought interesting was the fact that the judges actually had rosters to look over. Each judge had a directory to go through to check on all the men under his care; the guys on their lists that had gone down to the Baal Peor Strip Club were to get whacked by order of Yahweh.
This is the parish model of accountability and ministry at work. In a parish model of ministry, the elders are called upon to take responsibility for particular people and their families. The elders are not merely collectively responsible for all these people, in some generic sense. When this happens, and the elders collectively are responsible for all the people collectively, the result is often that no one is responsible for anyone in particular. Rather, each elder ought to have a roster of particular names, ages, marital status, addresses, blog sites, and perhaps other pertinent information and be faithfully shepherding those particular households.