What should I look for when considering who to nominate as an elder?
The most important thing to look for in a potential elder is whether or not he meets the biblical
- Is he above reproach (1 Timothy 3:2)? The question here is not, “Is he perfect?”, but rather, does he display a consistent pattern of holy living that commends the gospel? Is his life free from obvious, unaddressed sins that bring reproach on the name of Christ?
- If married, is he faithful to his wife (1 Timothy 3:2)? If single, does he honor Christ with his body (1 Corinthians 6:18-19)?
- Is he sober-minded, self-controlled, and respectable (1 Timothy 3:2)?
- Is he able to teach (1 Timothy 3:2)? This doesn’t necessarily mean that he has to be able to preach a Sunday morning sermon, but it does mean he needs to be able to teach the Bible to others. Specifically, do people who have questions about the Bible understand it better after talking to him? Is he able to instruct others in the faith, whether through preaching, teaching, leading a small group, or one-on-on conversation?
- Does he control his temper, appetites, and attitudes (1 Timothy 3:3)? Paul says that an elder must be “not…a drunkard, not violent but gentle, not quarrelsome, not a lover of money.” Does this man show restraint and self-control in his speech, actions, use of money, and use of alcohol?
- Is he hospitable (1 Timothy 3:3)? Does he open his home to others in order to serve them and care for them? Or is he greedy and protective over his resources and time?
- Does he manage his household well (1 Timothy 3:4-5)? Does he care for and lead his family in a way that honors God? Do his children respect and obey him?
- Is he a seasoned believer (1 Timothy 3:6)? Paul says that an elder “must not be a recent convert, or he may become puffed up with conceit and fall into the condemnation of the devil.” Is this man a recent convert or a seasoned believer? Keep in mind this may mean different things in different contexts.
- Is he well thought of by outsiders (1 Timothy 3:7)? Does he generally have a good reputation with those outside the church? Does he commend the gospel and build bridges to non-Christians?
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