How do elders relate to the authority of the congregation?

9Marks
Elders are installed and removed by the will of the congregation. Even though they should have considerable authority over the congregation, they are finally accountable to the congregation and their continuance in office depends on the consent of the congregation. Congregation should trust and follow their elders in matters of Christian discipleship. The New Testament commands church members to obey and submit to those in authority over them (Heb. 13:17, 1 Thess. 5:12).

How do elders relate to deacons?

9Marks

Since deacons function like elders in many churches, the relationship between them can get confused. But we can see how they should relate to one another by again considering their distinct biblical responsibilities:

Is it important to use the titles “elder” and “deacon”?

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While the titles “elder” and “deacon” are not essential to the church’s ministry, there are several good reasons why churches should use these biblical titles:

What are the qualifications for a deacon?

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In 1 Timothy 3:8-12 Paul lays out the qualifications for a deacon:

What are the biblical responsibilities of a deacon?

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According to the New Testament, deacons are to provide material and logistical support to the church.

How do you handle principled disagreement between elders?

9Marks
Clear, then firm. The clearer a matter is in Scripture, the firmer you hold your ground when disagreement arises. If the argument is over the deity of Christ, the Trinity, the inerrancy of Scripture, justification by faith alone, or any other crucial doctrine, hold your ground no matter what anyone says. Less clear, then cautious. On the other hand, recognize that you may have convictions about certain things that are less clear in Scripture and less central to the Christian faith. Tread more lightly in these areas.

How do you handle personal disputes among elders?

9Marks
Pray. Satan loves to divide. If he can divide a church’s leaders he gets a foothold from which to divide the church. So beg God to bring unity and peace. Pursue the brother in order to build your relationship. Irritation often arises out of ignorance. Work to get to know the brother and remember that you don’t have all the facts.

What steps should an elder take if he’s uncertain as to whether or not his child’s behavior is disqualifying?

9Marks
Pray. Ask God for a humble heart. Study and meditate on the relevant passages (1 Tim. 3:4-5; Tit. 1:6). Seek instruction from your fellow elders. Confess your sin and be transparent with your fellow elders. Don’t hold things back— remember that God already knows your sin and will forgive you because Jesus Christ is the propitiation for your sins (1 John 2:1-2). Receive critical evaluation and consider it together with your wife.

At what point does a child’s misbehavior disqualify his father from being an elder or pastor?

9Marks
Once a child is independent of his parents, he’s outside his parents’ authority as it relates to Paul’s remarks in Titus. When a kid is on his own, he’s on his own. No amount of good parenting can guarantee that someone will profess Christ and live accordingly once the child has grown and left the home.

Does the New Testament say that elders’ children must be believers?

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What are warning flags to watch out for when considering a man as a potential elder?

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In general, a church should not affirm any man as an elder who does not meet the biblical qualifications laid out in 1 Timothy 3:1-7 and Titus 1:6-9. Here are several warning flags which a church should heed:

Apart from the explicit biblical qualifications, are there other important matters to keep in mind when considering a potential elder?

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A man may appear to meet the biblical qualifications yet still be an unwise selection as an elder for a number of reasons:

What should I look for when considering who to nominate as an elder?

9Marks

The most important thing to look for in a potential elder is whether or not he meets the biblical qualifications.

What are common misconceptions about who should be an elder?

9Marks
A biblical elder is not simply an older male. Life experience alone is no guarantee that a man meets the biblical qualifications for an elder (1 Tim. 3:1-7, Tit. 1:6-9).

What is a church elder?

9Marks
The Basics: An elder is a man who (i) meets the qualifications in 1 Timothy 3:1-7 and Titus 1:6-9, (ii) is recognized by his congregation as an elder, (iii) and leads the congregation by teaching the Word (1 Tim. 3:2), praying for the sheep (Jas. 5:14), and overseeing the affairs of the church (1 Pet. 5:2).