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Biblical Qualifications For Church Leaders

The church I attend recently installed a new elder. So that brought to mind the biblical qualifications for elders, deacons, and overseers in general. Selecting church leaders must not be taken lightly! They help the pastor in meeting the material, emotional, and spiritual needs of the congregation so he can devote himself to preparing sermons and teaching biblical truth.

In Acts 20:28 the Apostle Paul speaks to the elders in the church at Ephesus prior to his final departure. He says, “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.”

In Acts 6:1-4 we read that some of the widows were being neglected (the subject for a later article). The disciples said, It is not right that we should give up preaching the word of God to serve tables. Therefore, brothers, pick out from among you seven men of good repute, full of the Spirit and wisdom, whom we will appoint to this duty. But we will devote ourselves to prayer and to the ministry of the Word.”

What should a church look for in an overseer, which includes both elders and deacons?  Some have their own criteria, but Titus 1:5-9 spells it out very specifically. “…appoint elders in every town…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. 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, but hospitable, a lover of good, self-controlled, upright, holy, and disciplined. 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.”

 In 1 Timothy 3:1-7 we read some of the same qualifications, but added are, “he must manage his own household well, with all dignity keeping his children submissive…he must not be a recent convert…he must be well thought of by outsiders…”

1 Peter 5: 8-13 lists the criteria for deacons. “Deacons, likewise, must be dignified, not double-tongued, not addicted to much wine, not greedy for dishonest gain. They must hold the mystery of the faith with a clear conscience. And let them also be tested first; then let them serve as deacons if they prove themselves blameless. Their wives likewise, must be dignified, not slanderers, but sober-minded, faithful in all things. Let deacons each be the husband of one wife, managing their children and their own households well…”

Here is a final word for overseers given in 1 Peter 5:1-4 – “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, not domineering over those in your charge, but being examples to the flock.”

There is a reward for being a good overseer. 1 Peter 5:4And when the Chief Shepherd shall appear, ye shall receive a crown of glory that fadeth not away.

Wow! These are all very stringent requirements. How does your local congregation go about selecting elders, deacons, and overseers in general? Hopefully, they take it very seriously.

About John Clark

John Livingston Clark is 74 years of age and lives in central Washington State. He has written two published books, and two published poems. His initial book is called, " God's Healing Hope: Breaking the Strongholds of Wrong Thinking." His second book, released in December of 2016, is a motivational book written to seniors titled, " Seniors: Are You Retiring or Recharging?" Both books are available on amazon. You can also view his writings on www.faithwriters.com. His “Poem For Senior Citizens” is in the 5th spot on FW.

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One comment

  1. Great article!
    Thanks John
    God Bless~

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