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Office of Elder

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Office of Elder

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

“The saying is trustworthy: If anyone aspires to the office of overseer, he desires a noble task.” 1 Timothy 3:1

1. The New Testament clearly teaches that the church is to be led by a plurality of godly men. Their assignment falls into four categories.

2. First, these men are given both the responsibility and authority to skillfully and lovingly lead the flock.

3. Next, they are to feed the flock, offering accurate and insightful teaching of the Scripture.

4. Third, they are to care for the flock. This care is shown in the love, concern, prayers, ministry, and adept management of church resources.

5. Finally, they are to protect the flock from harmful influences and beliefs.

6. These leaders are known by three titles, each of which reveals a separate aspect of their function. All three titles are used in 1 Peter 5:1-2; “Therefore, I exhort the elders among you, as your fellow elder and witness of the sufferings of Christ, and a partaker also of the glory that is to be revealed, shepherd the flock of God among you, exercising oversight not under compulsion, but voluntarily, according to the will of God; and not for sordid gain, but with eagerness;”

7. They are first called “elders.” An elder (Greek “presbuteros”) is a godly leader, whose wisdom and maturity are respected by God’s people.

8. Next, these are men who give oversight. That is, they are “overseers” (Greek “episkapos”). An overseer is a person who is a good manager of resources and guardian of people.

9. Finally, these leaders are called “shepherds,” which is also translated as “pastors” (Greek “poimain”). This word refers to the role of caring for and leading the flock.

10. It is important to note that within the New Testament model of church organization, authority for leadership is not granted to just one individual pastor, nor is it given as democratic rule by the congregation. Instead, the Scripture states that authority for leadership is conducted by a plurality of leaders who are appointed by the church and accountable to God.

“Obey your leaders and submit to them, for they are keeping watch over your souls, as those who will have to give an account. Let them do this with joy and not with groaning, for that would be of no advantage to you.” Heb 13:17

11. The Scripture further teach that when the elders are supported by the church, both the church body and individual Christians will flourish. (Heb. 13:17; 1 Thess. 5:12-13; 1 Pet. 5:1-5; Acts 20:28)

“We ask you, brothers, to respect those who labor among you and are over you in the Lord and admonish you, and to esteem them very highly in love because of their work. Be at peace among yourselves.” 1 Thessalonians 5:12-13

12. These elders do not form a separated “clergy class” of Christians. Instead, the elders, some of whom fill church vocational roles, others non-vocational roles, are brothers with the people, always seeking God’s best for the members of the church. (Acts 14:23; Titus 1:5; 2 Cor. 8:19)

“And not only that, but he has been appointed by the churches to travel with us as we carry out this act of grace that is being ministered by us, for the glory of the Lord himself and to show our good will.” (2 Cor 8:19)

“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.”

(Acts 20:28)

Promises of God

Promises, though they be for a time seemingly delayed, cannot be finally frustrated.... the heart of God is not turned though His face be hid; and prayers are not flung back, though they be not instantly answered. - Timothy Cruso

GracePointe Baptist Church

2209 N Post Road

Oklahoma City, OK 73141

Phone: (405) 769-5050

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