The Biblical Responsibilities of An Elder

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The Biblical Responsibilities of An Elder

The rich experiences of old wise men played critical roles in societies and religious communities in the early days, providing guidance. The idea of elders, thus, predates the Church.

An elder is one who is full of wisdom, and wields great influence (positive) within the body of Christ (or a local church). The elders bring their rich wisdom in resolving issues, guiding church decisions, and providing checks and balances.


Though their roles, through history, have changed or evolved, elders still play pivotal roles in the church of Christ today.

What is the role of an elder?

Elders’ roles are diverse. Their responsibilities and services develop continuously as challenges emerge. Here are some of the roles listed:

  1. Provide Leadership (Nums.11:16)
  2. Acts as Judge and Jury (Deut. 22:15-18)
  3. Perform Representative roles (Lev.4:15)
  4. Acts as King makers (Judges 11:11 2Sam.5:3)
  5. Acts as Decision makers and counselors (Jud. 21:16, Ruth 4:11, 1Pet. 5:5)
  6. Provide Oversight (1 Tim 5:17, Titus 1:7, Exo.3:16, 4:6)
  7. Teach and Preach the Word (1 Tim 3:2, 2 Tim 4:2, Titus 1:9)
  8. Exhort and Admonish saints in sound doctrine (1 Tim 4:13, 2 Tim 3:13-17)
  9. Protect the Church from false doctrines (Acts 20:17)
  10. Encourage and Intercede for the sick and weak (James 5:14)

Where does the name Elder Originate from?

It originates from the word “zaqen” in Hebrew which means old or aged or ancient and greater. Another word from elder is senior (Strong’s Concordance).

What does it mean to be an elder?

It means to be well advanced in aged so as to provide experiential counsel and leadership to the younger ones in a bid to curtail their mistakes in the journey of faith and life.


There is no particular age mentioned in scriptures to be an elder. Yet, the first instance mentioned in scripture was in Exodus 3:16 when they were referred to as the ‘elders of Israel’, i.e. elderly ones.

What is the Difference between a pastor and elder?

The major difference is the functions. While the pastor ministers to a congregation, he is also accountable to the elders, while the elders perform oversight functions and counsel.

These roles, as described above, are results of changes we’ve witnessed in church advancement over the years. However, the scripture does not exactly differentiate pastors from elders.

This is because, as John Piper puts it, “elders are encouraged in the “pastoral” duties of overseeing and shepherding. In 1 Peter 5:1-2, elders are exhorted to “shepherd” the flock of God that is in their charge, which is the role of a pastor.”

Also, while the pastor could be young or old, the elders must be old.

Who are the Elders In the Old Testament?

These were the mature teachers and tribal leaders (Exodus 3:16).

  1. The 70 elders (Exodus 24:1)
  2. Elders of Israel (Leviticus 9:11).
  3. Elders of Midian (Numbers 22:4).
  4. Elders of Moab (Numbers 22:7).
  5. Elders of the city (Deuteronomy 22:18).

What are the requirements to be an elder?

  1. Must be advanced in age
  2. Possess unquestionable integrity
  3. Irreproachable or no cause for shame
  4. Husband of one wife
  5. Well behaved and godly children
  6. Not open to accusation of being loose on morals or conduct or unruly and disorderly. (Tit. 1:6)

Wrapping Up

No church exists successfully without a formidable team of old wise people, who are filled with the Holy Spirit and are knowledgeable in God’s word. We must give attention to this office, and give a prominent place in church leadership and organization.

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Job Description – Church Minister

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Job Description – Church Minister

The scripture contains many uses of the word minister in different capacities. Exodus 24:13 and Joshua 1:1 explains a minister as attendance to a person of high rank. A minister also means one of the attaches of a royal court (1Kings 10:5; 2 Chronicles 22:8).

Within the context of this topic, the term, diakonos (from which the word deacon comes), perfectly explains who a minister is. It is the term used in relation to the ministry of the gospel. Christ, being the perfect minister of the gospel, is our model minister.

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A look at Christ’s life, gives us what it is to be a minister of the gospel. To be a minister of the gospel is a call to serve. At the root of ministry is service. Jesus declared His ministry in Luke 4, and it is characterized by services. As a minister, you have no other role.

The Minister’s Role

The minister is the glue of the congregation ensuring that everyone feels welcome and engaged in the practice of their faith. Christian ministers lead services for people in church, who gather for regular worship service, or to celebrate special occasions like baptism, confirmation and weddings.

Ministers are strategic in God’s progressive work on earth. Thus, their roles are many and critical to God’s redemption work.

  1. Please God and do His will (John 4:34, 6:29).
  2. Serve God’s people (John 13:1-20)
  3. Preaching of God’s word (Acts 6:2, Luke 4:16-19).
  4. Intercession for everyone (Timothy 2:1-3).
  5. Serves and attend to needs (Acts 6:7, Exo.29)

The difference between a minister and a pastor

According to Strong’s Concordance, the pastor is a minister but a minister may not always be a pastor. However, a minister could be an evangelist or prophet etc. (Eph. 4:11).  Pastor is derived from the Greek word Poimen which means to Shepherd.

Qualities/Skills Applicable to Church Ministers

  1. Proclaiming and Teaching God’s Word
  2. Leading and equipping leaders
  3. Role modeling the church’s mission
  4. Assuring Care (Supports Leadership directing care for our church body)
  5. Proclaiming and Teaching God’s Word
  6. Devoted to prayer

What is ministry in the church?

As stated earlier, a minister is literally a servant or one who serves. This refers to the act of attending to the needs of believers or the saints, for example:

  1. Their Spiritual needs of God’s word and prayers
  2. Their Physical needs of welfare packages and materials
  3. Their emotional needs of care, love and family-hood. (Acts 6:1-7)

What is the mission of the Church?

The mission of the church is to make disciples of the world, (Matt.28:19-20), mostly known as the Great Commission. At the heart of the Great Commission is not just preaching. It is disciple making

“Mission is service to unbelievers and ministry is service to believers.” – Rick Warren (Purpose Driven Life)

How Do You Know Your Ministry?

There are two types of ministry i.e. the general and the specific (Purpose Driven Life). The general ministry is the ministry of reconciliation (that by word and deed we might bring others into harmony with Him) 2 Cor. 5:18.

But your specific ministry finds its expression in the general. So, your ministry is your contribution to the overall ministry, which is embedded in the fivefold Ministry, which are Apostles, Prophets, Evangelists, Pastors, Teachers (Eph.4:11-12).

Church Minister

Rick Warren also noted,

Discover your spiritual gift and then you’ll know what you’re supposed to have.” It actually works the exact opposite way. Just start serving, experimenting with different ministries, and then you’ll discover your gifts. Until you’re actually involved in serving, you’re not going to know what you’re good at.”

How do Church Members get involved?

Simply by service or serving (Mark.10:43, Rom. 12:5). The church, as the body, functions effectively when everyone of its members plays their role. Members are quite strategic in what God is doing through the church. As Rick Warren shared, “We serve God by serving others.”

What are the 7 ministries of the Holy Spirit?

Though several opinions are held on this issue, I believe Isaiah 11:2 clearly reveals these ministries to us. According to this passage, the following are the seven ministries of the Holy Spirit.

  1. The spirit of the Lord
  2. The spirit of wisdom
  3. The spirit of understanding
  4. The spirit of counsel
  5. The spirit of might
  6. The spirit of knowledge
  7. The fear of the Lord


In summary, a minister is an ordained spiritual leader, who holds prayer services, preaches to people in church, leads worship services on Sundays and on holy days, teaches religion classes, and meets with those seeking personal or spiritual direction.

Now, may I ask you a question? Do you know what your responsibilities are as a church member? Hopefully, you’ll appreciate that in whatever capacity a person has been called to serve, selfless and God-glorifying service is at the heart of it.

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Leadership Worth Following

Leadership Worth Following

March 3,  2019

Ricardo Newbold

Written by Ricardo A. Newbold

What are the qualities of good leadership? How do you become a spiritual leader at home?  What makes an effective leader? These are all good questions, right?  Understand that a leader simply means someone who directs, and oversees the affairs of his members or people. Leadership is merely influence; hence, John C. Maxwell coined the phrase “Law of the Lid.”

Law of the Lid

Definition: leadership ability is the lid that determines a person’s level of effectiveness. The lower an individual’s ability to lead, the lower the lid on his potential. Your leadership ability—for better or for worse—always determines your effectiveness and the potential impact of your organization.

What Are Biblical Examples of Leadership?

There are many examples of biblical characters who became leaders. Ancient history also records that many of them came from humble beginnings. They were not highly regarded or recognized in their own country. Yet, Jeremiah 1:5 proclaims – “Before I formed you in the womb, I knew you; Before you were born, I sanctified you; I ordained you a prophet to the nations.” 

So, it doesn’t really matter who you are; you are destined to rule. However, there are good and bad leaders. There are successful leaders and some leaders who failed. We will dig a little deeper into these types of leadership. The goal, simply, is to learn how to become a leader worth following.


Leadership Lessons from Joseph

Joseph had been shown in a dream that he would become a leader. Such a dream  – one would expect that the road ahead should be smooth but it wasn’t. Joseph was hated by his brothers and was later sold into slavery. Nonetheless, he eventually emerged as a leader and we observe several traits along his journey:

1. Diligence. Joseph was diligent in all that he did since being sold into slavery. This made him successful in the house of Potiphar. Genesis 39:2 “The Lord was with Joseph, and he was a successful man; he was in the house of his master the Egyptian.” This is why Potiphar made Joseph a leader even in slavery.

2. Fear of the Lord. Joseph considered his creator with the highest regard. When the wife of Potiphar came to tempt him, he declined not minding the consequences. Rather, Joseph chose to fear the Lord. Genesis 39:9 “There is no one greater in this house than I, nor has he kept back anything from me but you, because you are his wife. How then can I do this great wickedness, and sin against God?”

3. Perseverance. Joseph was thrown into prison despite being innocent. He did not go against God but chose to remain faithful. Yet, even in the prison, he was made the leader and God was with him. Joseph surely could have complained to God. He could have engineered a scheme for his freedom but he persevered.

4. Forgiveness. Joseph’s brothers had sold him into slavery, an act we possibly could deem as unforgiving. Yet, he still forgave his brothers.

Leadership Lessons from Moses

Moses was born during a time when the Pharaoh of Egypt had ordered every male Hebrew to be drowned. Moses is traditionally credited with leading the Israelites out of bondage in Egypt and across the Red Sea to the “promised land” of Canaan

God declared that the Israelites were his own people and that they must listen to God and obey His laws.  Hence, Moses is best known as the lawgiver who met God face-to-face on Mount Sinai to receive the Ten Commandments after leading his people out of  Egypt. 

The Ten Commandments

The Ten Commandments were given to Moses on two stone tablets. They set out the basic principles that would govern the Israelites lives.

When it was time that God’s children would be freed from slavery, God ordered Moses to visit the Pharaoh and command that His people be released. However, Moses had great difficulty speaking and lacked boldness in the presence of the Pharaoh, who was a strong man. 

However, Moses simply obeyed God and through him, the people were led out of slavery. Obedience is key. Consequently, God used Moses to perform great wonders. Therefore, we can learn from the life of Moses that a leader must be bold, attentive and obedient, 

Leadership Lessons from King David

David was just a lowly shepherd boy who spent much time in the fields attending to flock. Little did he realize that he was about to become a great leader. We observe from the onset of his story that he was always diligent in his assigned tasks. When the beast of the field came to snatch a sheep from the herd, David went after it and killed it. 

David already possessed leadership characteristics even while he was a shepherd. We note the following leadership traits from David.

1. Courageous in the Face of Challenges. David believed in God, therefore, he was fearless. He faced the beast and when Goliath came to terrorize his people, he too went after him. Goliath was a giant that no one in the country would face. Yet, this small boy went after him as he did with the beasts. David was fearless because he believed that God would also win this battle for him. 1 Samuel 17.

David vs Goliath

2. Cherished His Relationship With God. One thing you’ll notice about David is that his relationship with God is central to his life. He loves God with all of his heart and this relationship with God is his priority above all other things.

David always trusted God and was passionate about prayer. He was a man that sang praises to God at every moment. This, he took seriously!  For this reason, God called him a man after His heart.

The Lord is my light and my salvation—whom shall I fear? The Lord is the stronghold of my life—of whom shall I be afraid?  – David (Psalm 27:1)

Leadership Lessons from Jesus Christ

The greatest leader to ever live is Jesus Christ. There are so many acts of sacrifice that Jesus performed to make our lives better. He possessed every leadership quality and surely is the leader worth following!  Not only did he possess a servant’s heart, Jesus gives leaders the ultimate pattern to follow. 

He was willing to do the work, He was willing to bring others along, and when they couldn’t quite come through He was willing to do what they could not. 


1) Jesus knew the value of a team.  

Jesus understood that He couldn’t do anything without a team of people around Him. Therefore, He recruited twelve disciples who partnered with Him spreading the Good News.

As leaders, we must realize the value of having a team of people around us to accomplish our mission.

  • 2) Jesus empowered people.

Jesus understood that as leaders we cannot do it all, and therefore, He empowered people around Him to go out and fulfill His mission.  Deeply rooted in the lesson above, it’s stated that ‘Together, Everyone Achieves More.’

‘Behold, I give you the authority to trample on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy, and nothing shall by any means hurt you.’ Luke 10:19 (NKJV)

How Do I Become A Better Leader?

If you have a family, whether you recognize it or not, you are a leader. And if you’ve read this far, then you are interested in learning how to become a better leader. Start by understanding your leadership style.

Be the leader of your family by establishing family values, being passionate, creating the culture of your home, being present, controlling your schedule, planning with purpose, listening and communicating effectively, displaying a positive attitude, serving as a role model and living by example.

Consider some of the above tips for how to become a better leader and think about ways that you can implement these strategies in your daily life.

Being an effective leader doesn’t mean making the fewest mistakes.  Rather, it means being open about them and being quick to ask forgiveness and get back on the right path.


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