In accordance with our church Constitution, prospective Elder nominations by any member will be received during the month of April. Nominations will be presented to the Nominating Committee of the Board of Elders for careful and prayerful consideration. If you would like to nominate someone to add to this group, please pray about this possibility, and then send that person’s name along with your name to [email protected].
If anyone aspires to the office of overseer…
A man should desire earnestly this type of spiritual leadership, not with fleshly desire for power and/or prestige, but with a God-given desire to be a servant to both the Lord and the church. No man should ever be pressured in any way to assume such divine service.
This is the basic qualification for a man of spiritual leadership. The Greek word here means “unassailable,” “unable to be reproached.” This is a man whose life can be examined and still come out without any embarrassing blemishes in his present character and behavior. The particulars of verses 2 and 3 are examples of this depth of character in action.
“The husband of one wife”
“Not a polygamist.” This was a problem in the ancient world, especially among the Greeks and Romans. This cannot mean “only married once,” for then a widower could never serve in spiritual leadership, and Scripture is patently clear that a widow(er) may remarry with no spiritual penalty whatsoever (Rom. 7:1-3, 1 Cor. 7:39). This also does not mean that a man must be married. What Paul means here is that this must be a man of unquestioned morality, who is true and faithful to one wife in attitude, word, and action.
The Greek words here describe a man who is “circumspect” and “clear-headed.” This is a person who lives deeply his convictions with a moral and spiritual earnestness. He is not given to excesses in wine or spirit (loss of temper, outbursts of anger), but is well-balanced, calm and steady.
This is a man of inner moral excellence and virtue; a man of honor and respectability. His eyes, his words, and his actions convey purity and ethical uprightness.
The Greek word literally means a “friend to strangers.” This is a man (and family) whose home is available to minister to the needs of brothers and sisters in Christ in all things from lodging to social gatherings, and is open to reaching people with the good news of God’s love in Jesus.
“Able to teach”
The Elder should be gifted by God to instruct in the truths of the Word of God. This does not mean that all Elders do so to the same extent, for there are always some who are uniquely gifted in this area (1 Tim. 5:17). However, a man of spiritual leadership should know and be able at whatever public level God calls him to communicate spiritual truth.
“Not a drunkard”
The Bible carries numerous strong warnings about wine (as representative of alcoholic beverages) and its effects. Here, spiritual leaders are told to be extremely circumspect in this regard, if not in fact to practice total abstinence out of personal deference.
“not violent, but gentle, not quarrelsome”
This man must be a man characterized by a gentle and loving spirit. He is not to be a man who tends toward conflict and fighting, whether literal or verbal. He is not to be argumentative and quarrelsome in his dealing with people, but gentle, kind and approachable (cf. 2 Tim. 2:24-25).
“not a lover of money”
The accumulation of earthly treasure must not be his chief goal in life. He must be a man who has treasure in heaven as his foremost goal in life.
“He must manage his own household well, with all dignity keeping his children submissive, 5 for if someone does not know how to manage his own household, how will he care for God’s church?”
This man (assuming he is married) must be gifted with the ability to oversee God’s household. Thus, if he cannot marshal the spiritual resources of God to oversee his own home with dignity and spiritual leadership, how can he oversee the church of Jesus Christ? He must demonstrate firmness and yet love; justice and yet compassion. A man’s family will reveal much about his true ability to lead in spiritual matters.
“He must not be a recent convert, or he may become puffed up with conceit and fall into the condemnation of the devil.”
A man may meet all the above qualifications and yet still not be ready to serve in spiritual leadership because of a recent conversion experience. A new follower of Christ may have tremendous spiritual capabilities and zeal, but will lack the maturity and depth that it takes to meet the demanding requirements of spiritual leadership. Also, such quick elevation of position could more easily cause pride in his heart and result in the type of condemnation pronounced by God on the devil for spiritual conceit. Since how long one must be a believer to no longer be a “new convert” is not stated, the church must use its own discretion to make sure that a beginner is not chosen to be an Elder (1 Tim. 3:10a; 5:22a).
“Moreover, he must be well thought of by outsiders, so that he may not fall into disgrace, into a snare of the devil.”
Finally, this man must be above reproach also in the eyes of unbelievers. His reputation in the neighborhood and community must be as honorable as it is in church. Paul adds this since it is often these people who see such a man in his most unguarded and pressure-filled moments, and thus a good reputation with them ensures that it is his true character that the church has seen, and not a facade. His business associates and neighbors must see him as a man of character, ethical uprightness and moral purity. Otherwise, to appoint such a man as an Elder will be to say to the world that the church accepts and condones ungodly conduct, and would thereby bring reproach to Christ and give Satan a great opportunity to slander Christ and His Church.
“6 If anyone is above reproach, the husband of one wife, and his children are believers and not open to the charge of debauchery or insubordination. 7 For an overseer, as God’s steward, must be above reproach. He must not be arrogant or quick-tempered or a drunkard or violent or greedy for gain, 8 but hospitable, a lover of good, self-controlled, upright, holy, and disciplined. 9 He must hold firm to the trustworthy word as taught, so that he may be able to give instruction in sound doctrine and also to rebuke those who contradict it.”
“ So I exhort the elders among you, as a fellow elder and a witness of the sufferings of Christ, as well as a partaker in the glory that is going to be revealed: 2 shepherd the flock of God that is among you, exercising oversight, not under compulsion, but willingly, as God would have you; not for shameful gain, but eagerly; 3 not domineering over those in your charge, but being examples to the flock. 4 And when the chief Shepherd appears, you will receive the unfading crown of glory.”
“Pay careful attention to yourselves and to all the flock, in which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to care for the church of God, which he obtained with his own blood.”