Biblical Church Leadership- a look at elders

Here is the outline I passed out last Sunday night. What I am trying to do here is work through what the New Testament tells us about elders/pastors/overseers in particular. It is only as we understand Scripture in its original context that we can next apply it to our current situation. So, lets strive to keep this in the 1st century, understand it then, and when we have understood the Scripture in its context then move to our time. Lord willing, we’ll talk through this outline on June 1 at 6pm. I’d love to hear your questions and thoughts. Also, if I have left something out dealing with pastors/elders/overseers in particular please let me know.


Biblical Church Leadership

I.  The titles pastor/elder/overseerer (The titles are interchangeable)

  • Acts 20:17-elders, 28- overseers who shepherd
  • Titus 1:5-elders, 7-overseer
  • Ephesians 4:11- shepherd-teachers

II. What did a pastor/elder/overseer do?

  1. They gathered with the apostles to consider the controversial issue of circumcision (Acts 15:2-6; Acts 16:4). [The church is in the know and in agreement (Acts 15:22)]
  2. They watched out for one another and for the church (Acts 20:28)
  3. They equipped the church to do the ministry (Ephesians 4:11)
  4. They led or ruled over the church (1 Thessalonians 5:12; 1 Timothy 5:17)
  5. They preached and taught (1 Timothy 3:2; 5:17)
  6. They cared for the church (1 Timothy 3:5) [Good Samaritan cared for the man (Luke 10:34&35)]
  7. They held to the bible, taught sound doctrine, and rebuked those who contradicted sound doctrine (2 Timothy 2:24-25;Titus 1:9)
  8. They prayed for the sick (James 5:14)
  9. They shepherded the flock, exercising oversight (1 Peter 5:2)

III. Where did pastors/elders/overseers come from?

  1. They were appointed by the apostles or apostolic representatives (Acts 14:23; Titus 1:5)
  2. They were made overseers by the Holy Spirit (Acts 20:28)
  3. They were gifted by Christ (Ephesians 4:11)
  4. They wanted to be an overseer (1 Timothy 3:1)

IV. How did the church interact with their pastors/elders/overseers?

  1. The church supported them financially (1 Corinthians 9:7)
  2. The faithful ones were to be shown double honor (1 Timothy 5:17)
  3. The church was to remember and imitate their leaders (Hebrews 13:7)
  4. The church was to willingly obey and submit to their leaders (Hebrews 13:17)
  5. The church was to be subject to them (1 Peter 5:5)

V. Qualifications

  1. 1 Timothy 3:1-7; Titus 1:5-9

Should you brag about your pastor?

While studying 1 Corinthians I put this together. I hope it helps you understand how to treat your pastor.

There once was a man with loose screws. God graciously gave him a screw driver in order to tighten those screws. But instead of using that screw driver as God intended the man went around bragging that his screw driver was better than all others. This man’s problems became more pronounced because he would not use the tool that God had given for the end that God had given it. He treated the screw driver like a trophy and did not use it as a tool. In the same sense, apostles, prophets, evangelists, shepherds, and teachers have been given to the church in order to equip the church. If we glory in men and worship men we are using what God has given for the wrong purpose. Teachers are tools to be used not trophies to brag about.

So let no one boast in men. For all things are yours, whether Paul or Apollos or Cephas or the world or life or death or the present or the future–all are yours, and you are Christ’s, and Christ is God’s. 1 Corinthians 3:21-23