ChangePoint is led by a team of men called Elders. Elders are authorized by the congregation as shepherds and guardians of the community. They are responsible for all aspects of the spiritual life and the corporate health of the church family. They “pastor” the church, caring for its spiritual and emotional life and focusing on the needs of individuals who want growing experiences of transformation and joy in the Lord. Elders oversee both doctrine and practice, exercising church discipline when necessary, overseeing restoration when appropriate, and assuring that sound theology is both taught and applied throughout every ministry.
Biblical Qualifications of an Elder
According to the Scriptures, (1 Timothy 3 and Titus 1) an elder must be:
- Above accusation
This qualification is the summation of all of the rest. It means that there is nothing in his life that would justify a legitimate accusation of misconduct or call his character into question.
- A one woman man
Whether single or married, he must be living a sexually pure life. For a married elder, it also means that he must be faithfully devoted to loving his wife.
- Not given to excess
An elder is disciplined in terms of his response to physical desires for food, pleasure, comfort, money, sleep, sex, or anything else which could cause him to stumble. He is capable at all times of clear thinking and sound judgment and does not allow things to distract him from more serious and important concerns.
- Respectable and orderly
The opposite of the Greek in this case is chaos (utter confusion). An elder's outward behavior must demonstrate decency, orderliness, and self-control.
An elder must be one who shows genuine kindness not only to the members of his church, but also to people he does not know well.
- One who is inclined to do what is good
Closely related to hospitality, an elder must be one who loves the concept of goodness, and is prone to doing good to others.
- Skilled in teaching
There is no biblical requirement that an elder have a formal education, but he must be an able teacher and defender of the truth.
- Not “a drinker”
This does not prohibit all use of alcohol. It is a warning that an elder cannot be preoccupied with alcohol or known to be “a drinker.”
- Not violent
An elder must be a man who solves problems and settles disputes peacefully, using persuasive words and calm demeanor, not his fists or other weapons.
An elder must be one who will patiently bear with those who are needy, difficult, and reluctant to change, or slow to learn.
- Not quick-tempered
An elder, must be recognize and control his own propensity to become angry.
- Not argumentative
He must be a man who will defend the truth strongly, but in a peaceable manner. He must not be one who allows himself to become embroiled in hostile disputes or petty arguments.
He is a man who is known for doing what is right and trying to reflect God's view in every decision he makes.
An elder must be firmly committed to God and His Word. He must not give in to social, political, or religious pressure to compromise.
- Not a lover of money
An elder cannot be motivated by financial gain or greed. He is a man who will trust the Lord, be content with what is provided, and be thankful.
- A good manager and leader at home
An elder must have proven himself a good father to his children (if he has children), and a good manager of his household in general.
- Not a new follower
Elders are mature believers, especially in relation to others in his particular church. If even a capable man is elevated to the position too rapidly, he will battle with pride.
- Respected by those outside the church
He must be just, honest, peaceable, and loving in every context.
- Has a desire to serve
Elders must not be pressured into service if it is not their personal desire to serve in this capacity. An elder's desire to serve must be God-given and his motives pure.
- Not anxious to control or to have his own way
An elder must not be ambitious to dominate or control others. He must be a team-player, realizing that while he is a shepherd, he is also one of the sheep.
- An example to the whole community.
An elder will not be perfect, but he must be a man who will lead the church, by instruction and example, according to God's Word.