Role of Elders

 
 

Every corporate or community body, including the human body, has a head under which all aspects of that body should operate. In the Body of Messiah, that leadership role is held by its elected elders.

The concept of eldership is rooted in the OT and was the biblical form of congregational government. In the same way that the elders of the synagogue exercised authority within the congregation, the local church uses a plurality of elders (more than one) to govern the local assembly or congregation.

It is so very important that the elder must himself desire this position and not be forced into it. An elder should be a daily student of the Word and one who prays faithfully. We look for elders who have a gifting in administration as they are called on to supervise financial matters. Preferentially, elders should have the gift of teaching as well.

As shepherds, elders are to oversee, to rule in the ongoing decisions of the congregation, to feed the flock and guard that only sound doctrine is being taught. Their character should be temperate in nature and self controlled. Elders must exercise and extend love to people in the church (the spiritual family) as well as have a loving outreach to those outside the church (in the world).

Elders should be peacemakers and leaders by example. The position of elder is a very high calling as it demands that even his personal life be made visible to the church.

An elder should realize how precious his flock is to the Lord. After all, the church displays the manifold wisdom of God to the spiritual powers of heaven. The church is the bride of Christ and reflects the glory of God. When an elder or shepherd realizes the spiritual significance of his sheep, he should do his utmost to build her, protect her and love her.

What important question did Messiah put to Peter once he became reinstated as leader of the church? Yeshua asked him, “Simon, Son of Jonah, do you love Me?”

And so the elder must truly love the Lord Yeshua with all his heart. And the evidence of that profession of love is seen when the elder is obedient to Yeshua’s next comment (and command). “Peter, if you love Me, feed my sheep.” What can we say then, is the most important command to the elder? Elders are commanded to love and godly labor is a labor of love.