Development of Local Church (non-vocational) Elders

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10 Principles for Eldership

  1. An elder is a pastor is an elder.
  2. An elder is different than a "Super Deacon"
  3. An elder desires to be an elder.
  4. An elder is biblically qualified.
  5. An elder is recognized not chosen (manufactured).
  6. An elder knows what biblical eldership is. (in terms of duties, it's not sitting on a organization's "board")
  7. An elder identifies with the local church's distinctives.
  8. An elder should be developed slowly... but not too slow.
  9. An elder is recognized by the church.
  10. An elder is a co-equal under-shepherd.

Scriptural Qualifications for Eldership:

Above Reproach (1 Timothy 3.2; Titus 1.6)

Spiritual Maturity

  • Not a Recent Convert (1 Timothy 3.6)

Personal Holiness 

  • Holy (Titus 1:8) - set apart for God in life and actions
  • Upright (Titus 1:8) - righteous, just
  • Self-Controlled (1 Timothy 3:2; Titus 1.8)
  • Disciplined (Titus 1:8)
  • Lover of Good (Titus 1:8)
  • Not a Drunkard (1 Timothy 3:3; Titus 1.7)
  • Living as an Example (1 Peter 5.2-3)

Family and Finances:

  • The Husband of One Wife (1 Timothy 3:2; Titus 1:6)
  • Not a Lover of Money (1 Timothy 3:3; Titus 1.7; 1 Peter 5.2)
  • Manage his household well (1 Timothy 3:4) - (Submissive Children [1 Timothy 3:4]; Faithful Children [Titus 1:7])

Possession of a Positive Relational Character

  • Shepherding willingly, eagerly, and gently (1 Peter 5.2-3)
  • Respectable (1 Timothy 3:2)
  • Hospitable (1 Timothy 3:2, Titus 1:8)
  • Well thought of by Outsiders (1 Timothy 3:7)

Avoidance of a Negative Relational Character

  • Not violent but gentle (1 Timothy 3:3; Titus 1:7)
  • Not quarelsome (1 Timothy 3:3)
  • Not quick tempered (Titus 1:7)
  • Not arrogant (Titus 1:7)

Knowledge of and Ability to Handle God's Word

  • Holding Firm to the Word (Titus 1:9)
  • Able to Teach (1 Timothy 3:2)
  • Sober-minded (1 Timothy 3:2)

Cornerstone West LA Eldership Process

The process of recognizing those men in the chrch who are functioning as elders, and ought to be recognized as such.

1. Identify men who are serving well as Servant Ministers

  • Men who are faithful servant ministers
  • Men who are consistently serving others

2. Observe the pastoral nature of the man's ministry

  • Is his ministry primarily service or pastoral?
  • Is he currently shepherding anyone?

3. Evaluate the man's calling

  • Does he aspire to pastoral ministry?
  • Do those around him affirm this aspiration?

4. Evaluate the man's qualification

  • Is he above reproach in the biblical qualifications?

5. Invite the man to observe eldership

  • Invite him to pursue relationships with current elders to observe their life
  • Invite him to elder meetings to observe their inner workings

6. Evaluate the man's identification with Cornerstone's distinctives

  • Can he articulate the truth contained in the statement of faith?
  • Does he understand and affirm the philosophy of ministry?

7. Affirm the man's eldership

  • The man's wife affirms his calling and qualifications
  • The man's Christian community affirms his calling and qualifications
  • The current council of elders affirms the man's calling and qualifications
  • The current church membership affirms the man's calling and qualifications

 

1 Comment

I was helped by several things at this meeting. (1) I liked the concept of not making the excellent deacons, the "Super-deacons" elders just by virtue of their excellence in their diaconate. I feel that temptation and was totally unaware. (2) The problem with most leadership teams having strife is that they don't have qualified elders. Don't appoint a man who is not qualified in character. Most leadership issues start here. (3) Most men have the wrong idea about what it means to serve as a pastor-elder so you need to tell them and show them. Immerse them in the work so they can have the right concept.

I wanted to comment on the discussion of the function of statements of faith and eldership, but the discussion moved in a different direction. I think some churches have inadequate statements that are too broad or too specific. Some are broader than they should be on specific issues like baptism or church government. Some are narrower than they should be on issues like eschatology (millennium/rapture debate). There's room for discussion on which issues should be included and why and whether it's wise to have a second statement of faith for elders that goes beyond the one for the church as a whole (membership). Does anyone want to pick up on either of those issues?

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