On January 13, we presented Shelby Hosiner and Nathan Daves as elder candidates. This is a significant season for our church, and we want you to stay informed and participate in the process with us, so here are a few details to let you know how you can be part of it.
What are Elders?
In a previous message on elders from 1 Timothy 3, we gave this definition: “Elders are a plurality of qualified men who lead and care for the church.”
A few comments in explanation:
Elders are a group.
The New Testament consistently presents a pattern of plural leadership in the church. Our modern word for a church leader (pastor) is only used once in the New Testament (in Ephesians 4), and it is only translated “pastor” in some versions. The actual original Greek word is shepherd. Everywhere else church leaders are referred to as elders, overseers, or bishops, and they are always referred to in plurality.
Elders are men.
In keeping with the pattern of creation (Gen. 2; 1 Tim. 2.12-13) and the family (Eph. 5.22-25), elder is a role reserved for men. This is not an equality, value, or giftedness issue; there are a variety of service and leadership roles that women can and should flourish in. The issue is order. God has called men to lead in the home and in the church for the sake of order.
We know this is not the most popular idea in today’s culture, and to be fair, the Church as a whole, over the generations has played some part in oppressing women. We acknowledge all of that, but we cannot change the commands of God to suit our preferences. We must live within them, and when we realize what true headship and submission are, we realize that God has made a way for all who are called to submit (which is all of us at some point or another) to flourish when those in leadership over them fill their roles and responsibilities with integrity, grace, and humility. The problem has never been God’s standard. The problem is us.
Elders are qualified.
Elders are not selected because of their seniority, influence, business savvy, giving capacity, or connections. They are selected and approved primarily because of their character. 1 Timothy 3 and Titus 1 give extensive lists of qualifications for elders, almost all of which are character-based. Godly character is what qualifies men for eldership.
Elders are shepherds.
The church belongs to Jesus. He purchased it with his blood (Acts 20.28). Elders lead, feed, care for, and protect the church under the leadership of her Chief Shepherd, Jesus. This means equipping the saints for ministry and caring for them spiritually.
For a more in-depth look at elders, listen to our sermon What Are Elders?