ELDERS WHO ARE A BLESSING
Not every man can be an elder in the Lord’s church. This is true because there are certain qualifications one “must” meet before he can be legitimately appointed to this “fine work” (1 Tim 3:1-7; Titus 1:6-10). God has also been very specific regarding the work overseers are called on to do (Titus 1:9-11; 1 Peter 5:1-4). Thus, one qualified, must be willing to do the work God has specified, else he cannot serve.
It is clear, then, that it takes a certain kind of man to be a bishop. How blessed are churches who recognize this and act accordingly.
Elders must be good examples. One man rightly observed that the work of an elder involves being “a pattern (i.e. a blueprint to the congregation).” Being “examples to the flock” (1 Pet 5:3) means exemplifying a life-style of godliness and spirituality. Being the right example gives an elder the credibility he needs to do his work well.
Being the right example leads to credibility with others as they observe the integrity and sincerity in the life of one who serves as a pastor. Elders need to make sure their personal choices and habits will enhance and not damage their credibility. While credibility doesn’t mean perfection, it does require consistency and putting spiritual things first. People know their elders are actually men of God when they can see that their shepherds are for real. Elders must have credibility (cf. 1 Tim 3:2-7). Without it, what they profess is meaningless.
Elders, whose service is authentic, have credibility. People must be able to observe that their elders serve, not from a desire for power, recognition, or self-advancement, but from a desire to please the Lord Jesus Christ. These kinds of men show a love for the truth as well as for people-the sheep the shepherd. Brethren can respect these men because their genuineness is clearly seen. Credibility gives power to the instruction shepherds must give the brethren.
Elders are to illustrate with their lives what they teach others to do. They must demonstrate to the spiritual flock-the church-how to live for God. Credibility is a powerful ally when shepherds must deal with spiritual problems in a church or lead a church through difficult tasks such as discipline of recalcitrant members. Brethren support and trust leaders they respect, convinced that their shepherds are putting God’s will first.
In “considering the issue of their life” brethren can truly “imitate [the] faith” (Heb 13:7) of elders like this. They are legitimate examples. They are a blessing to the church, “among which the Holy Spirit has made [them] overseers” (Acts 20:28).