I wrote in another thread: Not to quibble but the elders did not become more responsible for these lambs nor did these lambs become more accountable to their elders. Given stages of life and all that can entail, how accountability and oversight plays out will surely change over time. When children are very young, the elders responsibility toward them is less obvious. It’s primarily discharged by ministering to the parents, thereby equipping them to train up their little ones in the ways of the Lord. Also, in praying for the lambs under their care. The elders are not more or less responsible for shepherding their sheep; it just looks different over time. Circumstances commensurate with a member’s age and the various occasions of life (doubts, marriage, old age and everything in between) will make way for different ways in which the elders will demonstrate their responsibility, but I would not want to say they become more responsible. That post was met with: I’d like to pick this up here. My response: The chapters you reference bolster my point. The pastoral oversight for little ones is no less than enormous. How it is to be discharged over time changes, but the awesome responsibility is the same. It’s one of under shepherd. In fact, with respect to children, to neglect pastoral duties is to become complicit should a covenant child be led astray. With respect to young adults, biblical instruction on a life’s mate might take center stage as foundational years give way to adulthood. The point being, pastoral responsibility for the sheep is unalterably awesome throughout a member’s life. (Whether we want to say that the responsibility is altered can get into semantics but let’s not lose sight of the awesome responsibility elders have to children. That’s the meat and potatoes.) Children are entitled to pastoral oversight, instruction and even church government - all with a view toward the child’s conversion. What can be more sobering than that? In a word and as a general rule, the child’s formative years will set the solid foundation for his or her spiritual journey. The elders responsibility is enormous in this regard, just as the BCO plainly teaches. Often missed is that parents have a responsibility not just to God but to the Church for faithful discharge of their vows to raise their children in the Lord. Sure, we get that but what’s oftentimes overlooked is that “It is a principal duty of the Church to promote true religion in the home.” That’s a labor intensive charge whether taken seriously or not. As I noted in my first post, the responsibility of sessions is no less awesome when members are children. It’s the way in which that awesome responsibility is fulfilled that changes over time. Semantics aside... “The Session shall encourage the parents of the Church to guide their children in the catechising and disciplining of them in the Christian religion.” It’s apparent that the prime responsibility of parents has eclipsed in the minds of some the unalterable responsibility of elders to strive to influence parents in this regard. But such influence the elders are to exercise is not a far distant one but rather must have an intimate quality as well. NOTE: “The Church should maintain constant and sympathetic relations with the children. It also should encourage them, on coming to years of discretion, to make confession of the Lord Jesus Christ and to enter upon all privileges of full church membership. If they are wayward they should be cherished by the church and every means used to reclaim them.” I know very few elders who take that charge seriously. How many elders even go on regular visitation, or invest in the church’s covenant children? How many regularly show hospitality or build appropriate relationships with children through parental oversight? (I’m not so much talking about pastors here but ruling elders.) Sometimes we see covenant children fall away in college years. When that happens and assuming the elders even contact the wayward member(!), is there already an elder-member relationship in place to build upon? The answer to that question will speak to whether the church has fallen asleep on the question of whether the elders responsibility somehow increases over time, or whether they indeed do have an awesome responsibility to children that is sadly neglected.