Qualifications of Church Leadership

Elders, Deacons, and Deaconesses

 

The component parts of a spiritual assembly are clearly defined. Saints, bishops, and deacons are distinct functions (Philippians 1:1). They can be in the same person, but they spring from a different source:

    - To be a saint comes from conversion.

    - To be a bishop comes from desire and character.

    - To be a deacon comes from spiritual gifts (see Romans 12:7).

Elders

Eldership is not in itself a spiritual gift. 1 Timothy 3:1 says, “If a man desire the office of a bishop, or elder, he desireth a good work.” Another has translated this “If a man stretcheth himself to overseership.” This implies deep and prolonged spiritual exercise before God, and a faithful ministry before men.

There are five duties that should characterize a true elder:

    1. He should be a pastor or shepherd to feed the flock.

    2. He should be a sentinel to protect the flock.

    3. He should be a pillar to support the flock.

    4. He should be an administrator to guide the flock.

    5. He should be an example to encourage the flock.

In 1 Timothy 3:5, the Spirit reveals to us that the elder has to take care of the Church of God, but he must take care of his own home first. He has to act on behalf of the Great Shepherd as an under-shepherd. His duties to the flock are laid out in Isaiah 40:11:

    1. He has to feed the flock as a shepherd.

    2. He has to gather the lambs in His arms.

    3. He has to carry them in his bosom.

    4. He has to gently lead those that are with young.

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