In this second glimpse at what the New Testament says about elders in the church we first look at character. Leadership is all about character. We do not look for someone who has achieved important status in the world outside the church, nor do we look for high academic achievement or even superb gifts. We look for Christ-like character.
Titus 1v6-9 “An elder must be blameless, the husband of but one wife, a man whose children believe and are not open to the charge of being wild and disobedient. Since an overseer is entrusted with God’s work, he must be blameless—not overbearing, not quick-tempered, not given to drunkenness, not violent, not pursuing dishonest gain. Rather he must be hospitable, one who loves what is good, who is self-controlled, upright, holy and disciplined. He must hold firmly to the trustworthy message as it has been taught, so that he can encourage others by sound doctrine and refute those who oppose it.”
Of course, no-one is perfect, but the person selected for eldership should, by God’s grace, be humbly pursuing these qualities.
Then we look at the task of eldership.
1Pet 5v1 “To the elders among you, I appeal as a fellow elder, a witness of Christ’s sufferings and one who also will share in the glory to be revealed: Be shepherds of God’s flock that is under your care, serving as overseers—not because you must, but because you are willing, as God wants you to be; not greedy for money, but eager to serve; not lording it over those entrusted to you, but being examples to the flock. And when the Chief Shepherd appears, you will receive the crown of glory that will never fade away.”
You will notice that key to this are humility and service. The people we are looking for will already be serving with servant hearts shaped by Jesus.
Thirdly we look at anointing and releasing. One of the key roles of an elder is to build up the body of the church and enable others to serve the Lord. They are to nurture the gifts of God in believers. They are to listen to God, anoint for service, and release others into service.
1 Tim 4:14 Do not neglect your gift, which was given you through a prophetic message when the body of elders laid their hands on you.
So, in your praying ask the Lord to direct your mind towards those who are actively pursuing Christ-like character, humbly serving, and actively encouraging and helping others to serve. As we do so, we are confident God’s Holy Spirit will guide us, as we submit ourselves to His sovereign will.
Yours in His name,