For many in the church, the topic of church elders can seem ambiguous. So, what are elders and why are they important? Here at College Park, we ask three key questions when it comes to eldership:
1. What is the Role of Church Elders?
So, what is an elder? He is “a leader who watches over, directs, cares, and is accountable for an assembly of believers.” The elders in the church help oversee all that pertains to the matters of the church so that the body of believers are not only protected from outside harm, but that the local body can in fact flourish as its members follow the Lord. The elder is tasked with many responsibilities such as cases of church discipline, administering employees of church, and discipling members of local parishes. This is a just a fraction of what elders are responsible for overseeing, so one can see the great importance that the elder serves in the building up of the church.
2. What are the Necessary Requirements That Scripture Provides in Choosing Elders?
Paul addresses the qualifications of elders quite clearly in 1 Timothy 3:1-7 and Titus 1:5-9. These passages speak to what should be known of an elder, and what qualifications must be met before anyone can be considered for eldership. To put it simply: an elder must be above reproach. What this means is that one should be able to look at the life of an elder and see a steady rhythm of holiness and love for the Lord.
Paul sets the guideline that an elder should be someone who models Christlike living for believers in the local church. All the qualifications Paul lists in both 1 Timothy 3 and Titus 1 return to the simple criteria that elders are in fact without approach. This is vital because if the overseers of Christ’s body are corrupt, the church cannot thrive. If the foundation of a house is weak and it can’t support the walls and rooms of the house, the house will eventually be destroyed. That is why spiritual maturity and Christlike living are essential qualities for an elder.
3. How We Faithfully Elect Elders at College Park
Once an elder candidate is identified at College Park, we have a process in place to elect those who are being considered. In order to be voted in as an elder, a candidate must:
- Meet the necessary requirements of 1 Timothy 3:1-7 and Titus 1:5-8
- Be at least twenty-one years old
- Be a voting member of the congregation in good standing for at least one year prior to election
- Be affirmed by at least 75 percent of the Elder Council. Alternatively, an elder candidate may be considered if thirty-five or more church members sign a nominating petition and present it to the elders no less than sixty days prior to the Congregational Meeting.
- Have approval of at least 75 percent of the church members present at the Congregational Meeting