“Everything rises and falls on leadership”.

-John Maxwell

This question on who leads inside the church is of critical importance. John Maxwell says it best, everything rises and falls on leadership. That essentially means that the health of any organization is determined by no greater factor that who is leading that organization. In the churches case, the senior leader and the chief shepherd is Jesus. No greater leader has ever existed or ever will exist other than Jesus. Underneath the chief shepherd (Jesus) there are pastors and “under shepherds” (elders, deacons) who lead the local church.


Scripture sets forth the guidelines for those who serve as the senior leaders of the church in Timothy 3:1-7 and Titus 1:5-9. The qualification for biblical eldership are as follows.


  • A man – masculine leader
  • Above reproach – without any character defect
  • Able to teach – effective Bible communicator
  • Not a new convert – mature Christian


  • Husband of one wife – one women man, sexually pure
  • Has obedient children-successful father
  • Manages family well – provides for, leads, organizes, loves


  • Temperate – mentally and emotionally stable
  • Self-controlled – disciplined life of sound decision making
  • Not given to drunkenness – without addictions
  • Not a lover of money – upright, not greedy


  • Respectable – worth following and imitating
  • Hospitable – welcomes strangers, especially non-Christians
  • Not violent – even tempered
  • Not contentious – peaceable, not quarrelsome/divisive
  • Gentle – kind, gracious, loving
  • Good reputation – respected by non-Christians
  • Mutually submissive to other elders


In addition there are additional duties men must be able to meet in order to be a pastor/elder in our church.

  • Prayer and Scripture study (Acts 6:4)
  • Ruling/leading the church (1 Timothy 5:17)
  • Managing the church (1 Timothy 3:4-5)
  • Caring for people in the church (Hebrews 13:17)
  • Living exemplary lives (Hebrews 13:7)
  • Rightly using the authority God has given them (Acts 20:28)
  • Teaching the Bible correctly (Ephesians 4:11; 1 Timothy 3:2)
  • Preaching (1 Timothy 5:17)
  • Praying for the sick (James 5:13-15)
  • Teaching sound doctrine & refuting false teachings (Titus 1:9)
  • Working hard (1 Thessalonians 5:12)
  • Rightly using money and power (1 Peter 5:1-3)
  • Protecting the church from false teachers (Acts 20:17-31)
  • Disciplining unrepentant Christians (Matthew 18:15-17)


In most churches elders/pastors are nominated, either by their peers or the lead pastor to serve for a selected period of time. We do not see this type of selection process taking place for senior leaders within the church in scriptures. We are looking for…

A called man – Eldership does not begin with a man being tapped on the shoulder by another man, but a man being tapped on the heart by the Lord. Paul tells Timothy that “if anyone aspires to the office of overseer, he desires a noble task”. For that reason, we are looking for a man who is called primarily by God and not by man. If a man feels called then he should nominate himself as an elder/pastor within his church.

A tested man – Part of the qualification of a deacon is that they first must be tested in their faith and character. This is also true of Elders. Trust is distributed slowly over time. As more trust is earned the more trust is given. If trust is ever abused or lost, then it is taken away quickly. This goes along with what Paul states in 1 Timothy 5, that we should not be hasty in laying hands on men and commissioning them for ministry or be a recent convert. For that matter, they should first (although this is not true in every circumstance) serve as a deacon and be found trustworthy, and then nominate themselves for eldership.

A man above reproach – After the man has nominated himself and  has been through a season of testing he is then placed in front of the entire church. The church body is then told that the man before them is an elder candidate. If anyone has any reason in the congregation that man should not be made an elder, they are to approach the existing elders with their claim. This is keeping in accordance with what Paul teaches, that the man must be above reproach.

Confirmed by existing elders After a man gets to this point, the elders of the church vote to determine whether or not he is accepted as a fellow elder. A majority vote is needed for this. We believe that it is the Lord who calls men to these positions and it is the qualified men who confirm if they feel he is called to serve in that church.

If you have any additional questions regarding who leads inside the church please let us know and we will be happy to answer your questions.

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