22 Jun Qualifications of an Elder
If anyone aspires to the office of an elder he desires a noble task. 1 Timothy 3 vs. 3
As the leader of the church I am wholly committed to establishing a functioning New Testament Eldership. I am presently seeking God and prayerfully considering the way forward for our church.
For the safety of road users every year our cars are put through an MOT to ensure their roadworthiness. Did you know that there are 35 items listed on an MOT inspection checklist? In a similar way for the safety of the church family there is an item inspection checklist for the office of an Elder and they are laid out by the Apostle Paul in 1 Timothy 3 vs. 1-7 and Titus 1 vs. 7-9.
I have listed the Qualifications of Elders below so this not only reminds you of the qualifications of Eldership, but will also inform you to pray that God would raise up from amongst our congregation people with these qualifications willing to aspire to the office of an Elder.
- Above Reproach. (I Tim. 3:2; Titus 1:6) Above reproach literally means, ‘not able to be taken hold of.” This qualification relates to having a good reputation. In a way, this is a summary statement of the rest of the qualifications. When a Christian applies the principles of God’s Word, and desires to deepen his relationship with Christ, the result will be a lifestyle that could be described as being above reproach. A shepherd leader must have an excellent reputation, in order to have the credibility of the flock of God.
- Husband of One Wife. (I Tim. 3:2; Titus 1:6) The Greek words, which we translate as “the husband of one wife,” speak to the subject of fidelity in marriage, not marital status. Directly rendered, the Greek phrase says “a one woman man.” If married, the elder must be absolutely committed to his wife.
- Sober minded (I Tim. 3:2) Self-controlled. (Titus 1:8) “Temperate” refers to a person’s orientation toward life. It speaks of a man who lives a balanced life, not prone to extremism. The elder must have a rich devotional life, which allows Jesus to become Lord in his life.
- Respectable. (I Tim. 3:2) An elder must be well-behaved, well-organized, a man whose life is in order. If the elder is not respectable, he would never have the credibility needed to feed, lead, protect, and love the flock.
- Hospitable. (I Tim. 3:2; Titus 1:8) When a person is hospitable, he will keep his life, home, and heart open to others.
- Able to Teach. (I Tim. 3:2) and Refute Those Who Contradict.(Titus 1:9) These closely aligned characteristics refer to a person’s ability and desire to learn, in order that they may teach others the truths of God’s Word. Two of the major assignments of eldership are feeding and protecting the flock. To accomplish these tasks, the elders must have a great respect for God’s Word, an understanding of its truths, and a commitment to the study of the Scriptures. This enables the elders to instruct God’s people in biblical truths and encourage them to apply these principles to daily life.
- Not a drunkard (I Tim. 3:3; Titus 1:7) This characteristic sets down the absolute prohibition of drunkenness in an elder’s life.
- Not Violent (I Tim. 3:3; Titus 1:7) An elder must not be quick-tempered. The tendency to strike out in bursts of anger would destroy the elder’s ability to maintain credibility with the flock.
- Gentle (I Tim. 3:3)
- Not quarrelsome (I Tim. 3:3)
- Free from the Love of Money. (I Tim. 3:3; Titus 1:7)
- Manages his household well. (I Tim. 3:4) “Managing” refers to the way a man provides leadership for his family. The elder must be committed to the task of being a good steward of his household
- Having Children under Control (I Tim. 3:4) Having Children Who Are Not Accused of Dissipation or Rebellion. (Titus 1:6) This demonstrates that the elder, and his wife, have encouraged order and loving discipline in their home. However, these principles do not suggest that the elder must raise “perfect” children.
- Not a New Convert. (I Tim. 3:6) The elder cannot be a new convert. Spiritual maturity is of greatest importance, due to the spiritual responsibilities elders face.
- Of Good Reputation Outside the Church. (I Tim. 3:7) The term “outside the church” refers to unbelievers.
- Not Self-willed. (Titus 1:7) A self-willed person stubbornly follows his opinions, arrogantly refusing to listen to others. An elder must be willing to change his opinions, and be receptive to the convictions, feelings and interests of others. An elder must also stand for biblical principles, no matter what the cost. So, in appointing elders, we must search for men who have the ability to compromise in the areas of personal opinion, while remaining strongly committed to matters of biblical principle.
- Not Quick-tempered. (Titus 1:7) This is a very important qualification for a spiritual leader. Spiritual leaders must be slow to anger.
- Just. (Titus 1:8) This qualification deals with two concepts, positional righteousness and experiential righteousness. The elder must know Christ, and live a life that reflects an intimate relationship with the Lord. It is not enough to believe right, the elder must also act right.
- Devout. (Titus 1:8) When selecting elders, a prime consideration must deal with the potential candidate’s attitude, character and activities. The elder is a man who loves the Lord and reveals that love by the way he lives. What Paul is saying here is that the elder must exemplify a deep surrender to Christ in everyday life.