Hello, my friends, today I’m going to speak more about church elders.
After having spoken about the role of an elder, in my last video, I’m going to explain more thoroughly, today, the attributes found in an elder.
In the book of Acts 14:23, it is written: “They had elders appointed in each church, and after praying and fasting they recommended them to the Lord, in whom they believed.“
Just as in the synagogues at that time, Christian communities appointed elders in each local church.
Note that it says ‚”Elders” in the plural form.
Each local church is led by a team of elders who manage the various issues and difficulties that come up in church life.
The team is exclusively made up of men.
In the New Testament, we never see a woman in the position of an elder.
Make no mistake : God is a God of order and authority. The Church is a very serious matter to Him, and it cannot be built in any way we like.
Always remember the order established by God is as follows: God is the head of Christ, Christ is the head of man, and man is the head of woman: 1 Corinthians 11:13.
So, what can women do in the Church?
In some churches, sadly, women are dismissed and not allowed to serve the Lord in any manner.
In others, they are given positions as elders, pastors, senior staff members, etc.
The right balance is somewhere between the two. It is clear to me, that they can do anything and everything within the church except one fundamental thing : taking a position of authority over man.
That is why they cannot be in the position of one of the 5 authoritative ministries.
And yet, they are called to serve in the church, support their husbands, raise their children, fully fulfill their role as mother, wife etc.
75% of a married man’s ministry is his wife.
Women are called to be deaconesses, to share the gospel, encourage brothers and sisters in the church, exhort, prophesy, carry out certain responsibilities in church, whether it be managing church accounts, practical organisation, fundraising, prayer meetings, home groups, etc.
Let’s constantly remind ourselves of the woman described in Proverbs 31: 10-31.
If we’re tempted to change the biblical order of things, today, it’s because of the current trend and worldly human ideas.
So, God has chosen men to be elders in the Church. That doesn’t necessarily mean they’re old in age, but they do have certain attributes.
There should be several elders in a local church, except in smaller churches of around 15 to 30 people where this is not always easy to achieve.
In this case, we should link up with another local church or work together with other elders, but we certainly shouldn’t remain alone.
Of course, we need to make sure that the team we link up with is walking in the same spirit of the gospel as we are, but, that’s another matter.
I will try to make another video soon on the subject: “Working Together in the Same Spirit of the Gospel.”
First thing to remember: not to make decisions all alone concerning the church.
We should make decisions as part of a team and we need to be accountable, first to the Lord, then to other elders and finally to the rest of the Christian family.
2nd important point : it’s not just the fact of working with several churches, or with several pastoral groups that protects us, as far too often, each one governs their flock as they see fit; and, in particular, without ever consulting any other pastors, for fear of disapproval.
Pay careful attention to this : It is the spiritual dimension of working in a pastoral team which is vital so that decisions are made as a team and not just by one person!
Why is it necessary to have several elders?
1 – For their own security.
It’s very important that there is not just one person managing the church, as it is likely he would plan only what is in his own interests.
Each elder should have the opportunity to express themselves, give their opinion, and come to a common agreement for each decision.
2 – For the protection of the church.
One man does not see everything, and can go off track rapidly, putting the church at risk spiritually, financially, legally, etc.
Let’s take a look at the book of Acts 15, and see how they dealt with a difficult situation in the New Testament church.
The problem is described in Acts 15: 1.
“And certain men came down from Judea and taught the brethren, “Unless you are circumcised according to the custom of Moses, you cannot be saved.“
The same temptation still exists today!
A desire to return to Judaism, to the Law, to the principles of the Old Testament.
The temptation is strong and perverts the pure gospel.
So, in Acts 15: 2, Paul and Barnabas have a lively debate with them, and the brothers decide that Paul and Barnabas, together with some of their own, should go up to Jerusalem to the apostles and elders there, to deal with this matter.
First thing to note is : the apostles, the authoritative ministries, and elders take the matter in hand, and go and share it in the church of Jerusalem where the 5-fold ministries are in operation, and where there are other elders.
Then, in the rest of the chapter, each one gives their opinion, discussions take place up to verses 13-21.
In verse 21, the apostle James comes along, full of wisdom and truth.
He explains the situation very clearly and gives the solution given to him by the Holy Spirit.
So much so, that in verse 22, they agree and decide to write a letter summing up the situation, and giving specific advice. They decide to send the letter with brothers considered as representatives of the different churches.
They were the apostles, Paul and Barnabas, the prophets, Jude and Silas (Acts 15:32) who delivered and read the letter to the churches of Asia, Cilicia and Antioch.
The conclusion is in Acts 15:31, “After reading it, the brothers were glad to hear the encouragement it gave them.“
The problem was settled clearly and promptly, in line with the Word of God.
What a fine example and how effective when the 5-fold ministries work together in churches.
Problems are dealt with and turn into an encouragement for the people of God!
A far cry from the disasters that go on in churches today when there is one ruling pastor who is wanting to make all the decisions alone, and impose their way, whatever the cost, even if it means breaking up churches.
I get sent terrifying testimonies daily from Europe, Africa, the USA and all over the world of churches run by such men, who are proud and dictator-like in their leadership, and who destroy the work of God! It’s terrible!
But one day, they will have to give an account to God for their leadership, which has not been as a shepherd, but as mercenaries.
That is why appointing elders should be done very seriously, prayerfully, in order to seek the will of the Holy Spirit.
Let’s not be distracted by what is striking in appearance, but first test and prove men before approving them!
It is so much simpler and more evident when a man is first established as a deacon in the local church, and put to test in that role.
Here are some fundamental attributes that true elders should demonstrate!
I’ll describe them, according to the recommendations in #1Timothy 3: 1-7; #Titus 1: 5-9 and #1Peter 5: 1-4.
Out of these scriptures, emerges a certain number of conditions to be fulfilled by those who “aspire” to become elders.
Spiritual, and personal attributes, along with family and social issues clearly prevail as attributes specific to this ministry.
A) Spiritual attributes:
An elder must be holy, that is to say he must ‚seek sanctification in his own life.
Hebrews 12:14; cf. # 1Thessalonians 4: 1-8, devoted to sound doctrine, that is to say stable in his faith and theology.
He must not laud it over the flock, nor be a new convert.
B) Personal attributes:
An elder must be sober, not given over to wine, moderate, modest, not bound to the love of money or to dishonest gain, self-controlled, not violent, or angry, but peaceful and forgiving.
C) Family aspects:
An elder must be married to only one woman, which obviously excludes polygamy whether official or secret.
This expression was found in inscriptions meaning : husband faithful to one wife.
This doesn’t exclude but very likely includes : not divorced and remarried.
He should manage his home well, be hospitable, and raise up submissive children.
Concerning submissive children, I would like to address this issue in another video, since it is becoming an urgent problem even within Christian families.
D) Social aspects:
An elder should have a good reputation amongst non-Christians, not be a subject of scandal, or caught up in the traps of the enemy. This is why the first condition laid down for an elder is to be without reproach.
In other words, found blameless in civil and moral conduct, and up to the standards of acceptable behaviour.
He should be fair and impartial.
E) Other specific attributes:
An elder should be able to teach and exhort according to sound doctrine, apt to refute contradictors.
1 Timothy 5:17 says, “Let the elders who rule well be counted worthy of double honour, especially those who labour in the word and doctrine.”
The calling of an elder is to humbly serve God’s people.
Let’s look at an elder’s role towards God’s sheep.
1 Peter 5: 2-3: “Feed the flock of God who is in your care, not by compulsion, but voluntarily, according to God, not for sordid gain, but with dedication; not as dominant over those who have fallen to you in sharing but being models of the herd.”
1 – We should know each sheep, and lead them!
2 – Visit them.
3 – Protect them from false doctrine.
4 – Pray for them daily – for their trials, their situations, their health…
5 – Give one’s life to serve them. And more besides…
Acts 20: 28-30: “Take heed therefore to yourselves, and to all the flock, over which the Holy Spirit has made you bishops, to feed the Church of the Lord, which he acquired by his own blood.”
James 5: 14-15: “Is any of you sick? Let him call the elders of the Church, and let the elders pray for him, by anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord; the prayer of faith will save the sick, and the Lord will raise him up; and if he has committed sins, he will be forgiven.”
The Importance and Role of the Council of Elders.
A pastor cannot build without being submitted to a body of elders.
Too often he seeks to grow, or increase his own ministry, instead of growing the Church of the Lord!
The head is Jesus, it is His church! Not the pastor’s church!
Some elders have an anointing in one of the authoritative ministries, as described in Ephesians 4:11. They have a special anointing on their lives which is clearly seen and acknowledged by other elders and members of the flock.
These ministries are those of apostle, prophet, evangelist, pastor and teacher.
We will look at them in more detail in future videos.
But there are other elders who do not have a specific calling or anointing to preach or proclaim the Word to the same extent as those who are anointed with one of the fivefold ministries.
And yet they represent the apostolic authority within their local churches.
Under this apostolic authority and in union with the other elders, they take all the necessary decisions for the smooth running of the local church.
They counsel, pray, organise, plan, run missions, etc.
Be careful ! It’s possible to have a biblically structured church, and yet still face big issues.
It’s imperative that each one is faithful to the call he has received from the Lord, whether it is in one of the 5-fold ministries or as a simple elder.
Each must keep watch:
1 – Over the flock entrusted to them by God, to whom they will need to give an account.
2 – Over the foundation on which the church and its leaders stand: a foundation of sound doctrine, faith, life of the Spirit, sanctified life, spiritual growth and mutual respect for each other.
In the coming weeks, I would like to address the following subjects:
The role of a deacon, the role of the 5-fold ministries, raising up children in submission and respect towards their parents and towards the Lord, walking in the true Spirit of the Gospel!
There is great hope! Today’s church comes in all sorts of forms, but the Lord is constantly calling it back to become the true church, with faithful men whom God has prepared, whom God is setting in place. Praise the Lord!
Let’s not lose hope and faith! Let’s remember that the truth is always stronger than counterfeit.
A counterfeit version always ends up falling apart, but the truth stands. And the Lord is building His church on the truth.
Thank you for following me, and for posting a thumbs-up if you have enjoyed this video, and for subscribing, if you haven’t already done so, then you’ll recieve notifications when our next videos are released.
You are welcome to send in any questions, but remember to check our other videos first to make sure your question hasn’t already been dealt with.
See you soon, my friends! May the Lord strengthen you, establish you, reveal His plan to you, and the place He has prepared for each one of us in His Church.
May the Lord bless you. See you soon !