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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