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Responsibilities of Church Elders

September 11, 2006

This is a list of responsibilities for elders and not a definition of those responsibilities nor a description of how they are to be carried out. This list must not be considered as the only responsibilities that elders are accountable for. The obligation to “shepherd the flock of God” encompasses much more than any list can include. This starting point provides the basic direction, points of accountability and principles needed for an elder to fulfill his ministry.

Most of the NT passages dealing with the duties of Elders/Overseers/Bishops:

Acts: 6:1-6; 11:28-30; 14:23; 15:1-7; 15:20-23; 15:28; 16:4; 20:17-21; 20:28-31; 20:35; 21:17-25. Romans: 12:8. 1 Corinthians: 3:1-11; 4:1-2. 1 Thessalonians: 5:12-13, 1 Timothy: 1:18-19; 3:1-7; 4:7; 4:12-5:22; 6:10-14; 6:20. 2 Timothy: 2:15; 4:1-2, Titus: 1:5-9; 2:1; 2:7; 2:15-3:2; 3:10. Hebrews: 13:7; 13:17; 13:24. James 5:14, 1 Peter 5:1-5.

Responsibilities of Elders Stated Positively

Elders are to;

1) have the authority to delegate important tasks, Acts 6:1-6
2) direct the congregation in important tasks, Acts 6:1-6
3) initiate ministries within the church, Acts 6:1-6
4) devote themselves to prayer, Acts 6:1-6
5) devote themselves to the ministry of the Word, Acts 6:1-6
6) lay their hands on individuals to commission them to ministry, Acts 6:1-6; 1 Tim. 4:14, 5:21-22
7) be involved with and responsible for finances, Acts 11:28-30
8) serve for the people in the church, Acts 14:23
9) hear-out and judge doctrinal issues in the church, Acts 15:1-7
10) check on the status and progress of other ministers, Acts 15:1-7, 21:17-19
11) examine doctrinal issues, Acts 15:1-7
12) discuss/debate doctrinal issues between themselves, Acts 15:1-7
13) inform the church of their decisions concerning doctrinal issues, Acts 15:20-23 & 28
14) involve the congregation in making some decisions, Acts 6:1-6, 15:20-23 & 28
15) make decisions that are binding upon the church, Acts 15:20-23 & 28, 16:4
16) be with the people, Acts 20:17-21, 28-31 & 35
17) serve the Lord by serving the church with humility, Acts 20:17-21, 28-31 & 35
18) declare to the church anything that is profitable for them, Acts 20:17-21, 28-31 & 35
19) teach the people in public, Acts 20:17-21, 28-31 & 35; 1 Thess. 5:12; 1 Tim. 4:12-5:2
20) teach the people in private, Acts 20:17-21, 28-31 & 35; 1 Thess. 5:12; 1 Tim. 4:12-5:2
21) declare doctrines of the gospel, Acts 20:17-21, 28-31 & 35
22) stand guard over their own life and doctrine, Acts 20:17-21, 28-31 & 35
23) stand guard over the life and doctrine of the church, Acts 20:17-21, 28-31 & 35
24) shepherd the church, Acts 20:17-21, 28-31 & 35; 1 Peter 5:1-5
25) be alert and watchful, Acts 20:17-21, 28-31 & 35
26) remember the faithfulness of past elders and imitate them, Acts 20:17-21, 28-31 & 35
27) be an example to the church, Acts 20:17-21, 28-31 & 35; 1 Tim. 4:12-5:2; Titus 2:7; 1 Peter 5:1-5
28) work hard, Acts 20:17-21, 28-31 & 35; 1 Thess. 5:12; 1 Tim. 5: 17 & 21-22
29) help the weak, Acts 20:17-21, 28-31 & 35
30) remember the words of Jesus, Acts 20:17-21, 28-31 & 35
31) give rather than receive, Acts 20:17-21, 28-31 & 35
32) resolve important issues on their own authority, Acts 21:17-25
33) lead the congregation, Rom. 12:8; Heb. 13:7 & 17
34) be careful and precise in how they go about their duties, 1 Cor. 3:1-11
35) be seen as servants of God, 1 Cor. 4:1-2
36) administrate the mysteries of God, 1 Cor. 4:1-2
37) be trustworthy, 1 Cor. 4:1-2
38) be in charge of and rule over the congregation, 1 Thess. 5:12; 1 Tim. 5:17
39) fight for the faith, 1 Tim. 1:18-19, 6:10-14
40) maintain faith, 1 Tim. 1:18-19
41) have a clear conscience, 1 Tim. 1:18-19
42) men who desire to serve in the office of elder, 1 Tim. 3:1-7; Titus 1:5-9
43) be blameless, above reproach, 1 Tim. 3:1-7; Titus 1:5-9<
44) be the husband of one wife, 1 Tim. 3:1-7; Titus 1:5-9
45) rule their own house well and with dignity, 1 Tim. 3:1-7; Titus 1:5-9
46) be self-controlled, temperate, sober, 1 Tim. 3:1-7; Titus 1:5-9
47) be sensible, sane, of sound mind, 1 Tim. 3:1-7; Titus 1:5-9<
48) be well behaved, orderly descent, 1 Tim. 3:1-7
49) be given to hospitality, 1 Tim. 3:1-7; Titus 1:5-9
50) be forbearing, considerate, moderate, gentle, 1 Tim. 3:1-7
51) be peaceable, 1 Tim. 3:1-7
52) be able to teach, 1 Tim. 3:1-7
53) able to keep his children under control with dignity, 1 Tim. 3:1-7
54) take care of the church, 1 Tim. 3:1-7
55) have a good reputation with those outside the church, 1 Tim. 3:1-7
56) discipline themselves with, in and for godliness, 1 Tim. 4:7
57) be an example of proper speech to all believers, 1 Tim. 4:12-5:2
58) be an example of proper conduct to all believers, 1 Tim. 4:12-5:2
59) be an example of proper love to all believers, 1 Tim. 4:12-5:2
60) be an example of proper faith to all believers, 1 Tim. 4:12-5:2
61) be an example of proper purity to all believers, 1 Tim. 4:12-5:2
62) read Scripture in public, 1 Tim. 4:12-5:2
63) exhort believers, 1 Tim. 4:12-5:2
64) take pains to be precise in living godly, 1 Tim. 4:12-5:2
65) be absorbed in living godly and their duties, 1 Tim. 4:12-5:2
66) be noticeably maturing in the faith, 1 Tim. 4:12-5:2
67) examine their own teaching carefully, 1 Tim. 4:12-5:2
68) examine their own lives carefully, 1 Tim. 4:12-5:2
69) persevere in godly living, 1 Tim. 4:12-5:2
70) treat all people properly according to their station, 1 Tim. 4:12-5:2
71) be careful about laying on hands so they do not release an unqualified person on the church, 1 Tim. 5:21-22
72) keep themselves free from sin, 1 Tim. 5:21-22
73) flee from greed, 1 Tim. 6:10-14
74) pursue righteousness, 1 Tim. 6:10-14
75) pursue godliness, 1 Tim. 6:10-14
76) pursue faith, 1 Tim. 6:10-14
77) pursue love, 1 Tim. 6:10-14
78) pursue perseverance, 1 Tim. 6:10-14
79) pursue gentleness, 1 Tim. 6:10-14
80) keep the commandment without fault, 1 Tim. 6:10-14
81) guard the responsibilities entrusted to them, 1 Tim. 6:20
82) avoid worldly chatter, 1 Tim. 6:20
83) avoid empty chatter, 1 Tim. 6:20
84) avoid false and apparently knowledgeable arguments, 1 Tim. 6:20
85) diligently work to be approved by God, 2 Tim. 2:15
86) accurately handle the Word of Truth, 2 Tim. 2:15
87) preach the Word, 2 Tim. 4:1-2; Heb. 13:7
88) be ready at all times to fulfill your responsibilities, 2 Tim. 4:1-2
89) reprove with patience and instruction, 2 Tim. 4:1-2
90) rebuke with patience and instruction, 2 Tim. 4:1-2
91) exhort with patience and instruction, 2 Tim. 4:1-2
92) maintain order in the church, Titus 1:5-9
93) have children who are faithful, Titus 1:5-9
94) be God’s stewards, Titus 1:5-9
95) love goodness and what is good, Titus 1:5-9
96) be just, fair, righteous, Titus 1:5-9
97) be holy, devout, pious, Titus 1:5-9
98) hold firmly to the faithful word and teach it, Titus 1:5-9
99) exhort the church in sound doctrine, Titus 1:5-9
100) refute those who contradict sound doctrine, Titus 1:5-9
101) speak in accordance with sound doctrine, Titus 2:1
102) maintain purity in doctrine, Titus 2:7
103) be dignified, Titus 2:7
104) exercise authority when speaking, exhorting and reproving, Titus 2:15-3:2
105) remind the congregation to be subject to their rulers, Titus 2:15-3:2
106) remind the congregation to be subject to those in authority over them, Titus 2:15-3:2
107) remind the congregation to be obedient, Titus 2:15-3:2
108) remind the congregation to be ready to do good deeds, Titus 2:15-3:2
109) remind the congregation to not speak evil of or malign anyone, Titus 2:15-3:2
110) remind the congregation to be peaceable, Titus 2:15-3:2
111) remind the congregation to be gentle, Titus 2:15-3:2
112) remind the congregation to be considerate of all people, Titus 2:15-3:2
113) cast out factious people in the church, Titus 3:10
114) keep watch over the souls of believers, Heb. 13:17
115) give an account of their ministry to God, Heb. 13:17
116) pray for those in the church, James 5:14
117) minister to those who are sick, James 5:14
118) shepherd the flock of God, 1 Peter 5:1-5
119) exercise oversight of the church, 1 Peter 5:1-5
120) serve the church voluntarily, 1 Peter 5:1-5
121) be elders according to the will of God, 1 Peter 5:1-5
122) serve with eagerness, 1 Peter 5:1-5
123) be humble, 1 Peter 5:1-5

Responsibilities of Elders Stated Negatively

Elders must not;

1) neglect the Word of God, Acts 6:1-6
2) be an innovator in the basics of the faith, 1 Cor. 3:1-11
3) be shaken [in their faith], 1 Tim. 1:18-19
4) be a drunkard or given to drink, 1 Tim. 3:1-7, Titus 1:5-9
5) be greedy, covetous, a lover of money, or fond of sordid gain, 1 Tim. 3:1-7; Titus 1:5-9; 1 Peter 5:1-5
6) be quick-tempered, inclined to anger, pugnacious, nor violent, 1 Tim. 3:1-7; Titus 1:5-9
7) be a new convert, a novice, 1 Tim. 3:1-7
8) fall into reproach, 1 Tim. 3:1-7
9) fall into the snares of the devil, 1 Tim. 3:1-71
10) be involved in worthless worldly rumors and fables, 1 Tim. 4:7
11) neglect their spiritual gifts, 1 Tim. 4:12-5:2
12) must not discriminate at all, 1 Tim. 5:21-22
13) be ashamed, 2 Tim. 2:15
14) be accused of dissipation, Titus 1:5-9
15) be accused of rebellion, Titus 1:5-9
16) be arrogant or self-willed, 1 Titus 1:5-9
17) let anyone disregard them, Titus 2:15-3:2
18) serve under compulsion, 1 Peter 5:1-5
19) serve for financial reasons, 1 Peter 5:1-5
20) think they are lords of the congregation, 1 Peter 5:1-5

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7 Comments leave one →
  1. March 31, 2007 10:50 pm

    Having just selected elders for the next year, I appreciate this insight. So often we reduce qualifications and responsibilities down to a brief list found in Timothy and Titus. This will be helpful in guiding our leaders in reflecting on and understanding their high calling.

  2. Louis Craver permalink
    June 20, 2008 2:46 am

    Question: How do Christians men become Elders in the Church?

  3. David R permalink
    June 30, 2008 5:24 pm

    Hi – thanks for this – obviously a lot of hard work putting the list together- much appreciated.

  4. October 3, 2009 5:14 am

    This information is very usefull for the Church planters.

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