6 Qualifications For a Church Elder
Today is a much different topic than what I normally blog about but it was a topic recently discussed at a service that Iw as a part of and I would love to bring the insight that I gained while attending the service to the Grace Nation Community
1st Timothy 3:1-7
The saying is trustworthy: If anyone aspires to the office of overseer, he desires a noble task. 2 Therefore an overseer[a] must be above reproach, the husband of one wife,[b] sober-minded, self-controlled, respectable, hospitable, able to teach,3 not a drunkard, not violent but gentle, not quarrelsome, not a lover of money.4 He must manage his own household well, with all dignity keeping his children submissive, 5 for if someone does not know how to manage his own household, how will he care for God’s church? 6 He must not be a recent convert, or he may become puffed up with conceit and fall into the condemnation of the devil.7 Moreover, he must be well thought of by outsiders, so that he may not fall into disgrace, into a snare of the devil.
In this specific passage, we see the word “overseer” used not elder. It is important to note that the two words “Elder” and “Overseer” are both synonyms and can be used interchangeably.
What is a Pastor?
Actually, in the new testament, we do not see a role of “pastor” portrayed anywhere, the only time we see people teaching are those who are appointed to be elders (deacons also taught). So the pastor is just one of the elders that are appointed within a church. It is wrong for the pastor to be above the other elders because they all elders are equal in terms of leadership.
6 Qualifications and Characteristics of a Biblical Elder
- We see this outlined in the first verse, it is good for a man to seek the office of Elder, as it is a noble thing, and if someone aspires to be an elder he should not be looked down upon.
2. Above Reproach
- This is seen in v.2-3 and we see that for someone to become an elder it is not based on ability, but off of the character. A church should aspire someone who has good character and not one who may be seen as someone who has the ability, but not the character to back it up.
3. Able to Teach
We see this at the end of verse two.
- Since there is no office of “Pastor” every elder must have the ability to teach, there can be a primary elder who teaches, however, all elders must have the ability to accurately teach the word of God.
- Elders are “Pastors”
- Titus 1:9
9 He must hold firm to the trustworthy word as taught, so that he may be able to give instruction in sound[g] doctrine and also to rebuke those who contradict it.
4. Family Life
- Must be a husband to 1 wife (However there is nothing saying that you have to be married so I leave it open to singles as well.)
- An elder must first be an “elder” in his house. He must bring up his kids and conduct his marriage in a way that is good and pleasing to God.
5. Public and Private Maturity
- Strictly says that no new believers can become elders, they must be mature in the faith. This means also that people who have been believers for a long time but are still lacking maturity may also not be elders.
- He must have a good reputation not just with believers but also with non-believers. It is common for the church to go the (Elder in testing or applicant) neighborhood and ask the neighbors what they see the man as, to ensure he has a good reputation with people in the community.
6. Must be Male
- We see in Genesis 3 that Adam is called to give an account for Eve’s sin. This is such a good example of how men are held accountable for the household. They are called by God to be the spiritual head of the house. There is absolutely nothing in the Bible that refutes this.
- When you read this text above, it is evident by the constant use of “He.”
- As Men are called to Oversee their household, God also calls Men to oversee His church.
God shepherds His church, through the Elders.