Biblically Can a Preacher be an Elder?
Can a Preacher be an Elder? Elders are church leaders who are charged with overseeing the church and have been there for many years. They understand how churches best function and some were active preachers at one point. Different churches have their way of appointing elders but they are all guided by the Word of God. Elders have a higher responsibility and get to decide who preaches in the church and who doesn’t. Is it possible for a preacher to become an elder? The answer is: yes!
Let us look at a Scripture that Touches on Elders in the Church.
“To the elders among you, I appeal as a fellow elder and a witness of Christ’s sufferings who also will share in the glory to be revealed: Be shepherds of God’s flock that is under your care, watching over them—not because you must, but because you are willing, as God wants you to be; not pursuing dishonest gain, but eager to serve; not lording it over those entrusted to you, but being examples to the flock. And when the Chief Shepherd appears, you will receive the crown of glory that will never fade away.” – 1 Peter 5:1-4
Peter was an apostle who was preaching the gospel and was also an elder according to the above Scripture. This means that it is biblical for a preacher to become an elder. An elder oversees the church affairs and gives direction to the pastors and other church leaders. We have many retired pastors, bishops, reverends who are now church elders and are not involved in the preaching of Sunday sermons.
An elder should not be confused with those who have the five-fold ministry gifts listed in Ephesians 4:11. “So Christ himself gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the pastors, and teachers.” Those in these offices have different roles and responsibilities in the church as mentioned in Ephesians 4:12-13. “to equip his people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ.”
There are preachers who also double up as elders. “The elders who direct the affairs of the church well are worthy of double honor, especially those whose work is preaching and teaching” (1 Timothy 5:17). This means that a preacher can be an elder but this does not mean that all preachers are elders. Not all elders are preachers either. You will find that different churches handle the position of the elder differently and therefore a preacher should not assume that they will be considered an elder after serving for many years.
A preacher’s first responsibility is preaching the Word of God and ensuring the spiritual nourishment of the church. His focus should be on teaching God’s Word to church members and helping them grow spiritually. Being an elder should not be at the top of his mind because this is a position that usually comes from many years of preaching and leading the church.cat
If a preacher sets his eyes on becoming an elder and then ends up losing his position in the church, the disappointment can be great. This can lead to the preacher walking away from the church and God in disappointment. Becoming an elder is a desire that the preacher should leave in God’s hands because it is God who directs his steps in the church. God may have other plans for a preacher and not necessarily to become a church elder.
What Qualifies a Preacher to Become an Elder?
“Here is a trustworthy saying: Whoever aspires to be an overseer desires a noble task.” 1 Timothy 3:1
A preacher can have the desire to become an elder and that is biblical. This desire is God-given and the preacher will feel God’s leading to become an elder in a church. God gives us the desires we have, and especially those that advance His Kingdom on earth. If a preacher feels like God is calling him to become a church elder, then the first place to start is prayer.
2. Godly Character
“Now the overseer is to be above reproach, faithful to his wife, temperate, self-controlled, respectable, hospitable, able to teach, not given to drunkenness, not violent but gentle, not quarrelsome, not a lover of money. 1 Timothy 3:2-3
A preacher wanting to become an elder should be of godly character, and the above Scripture lists the desirable qualities. The character of the preacher should not be questionable and he should be one who lives by God’s Word every day. He is the person charged with giving direction to the church and those he leads should have faith in him and his ability to direct the affairs of the church.
3. Good Family Life
“He must manage his own family well and see that his children obey him, and he must do so in a manner worthy of full respect.” 1 Timothy 3:4
A preacher wanting to become an elder should have an orderly home. He should demonstrate that he is leaving his home and that his children are well behaved and respectful. Others should look at his family and see that they are godly and that he provides good leadership in the home. This will prove to the church that he can lead the family of God just like he does his family back at home.
Preachers who have dysfunctional homes are not ready to become elders because their lives are not in order. They are unfit to model God’s desire for families and have many issues they need to sort out first.
4. Able To Teach
Many times it is needed for the wiser, experienced Elders / Shepherds that have spent years, a lot of time understanding and applying God’s Word. To Be able to teach the Younger. Being a Christian is a Process. We are born into God’s Kingdom as babes and then begin a lifetime. Of Learning, Growing, and Changing into more and more likeness of Jesus.
Being able to teach indicates they are wise and experienced in Knowledge of the bible – God’s Word.
” In Fact, Though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you the Elementary Truths of God’s Word all over again” (Hebrews 5:12)
5. Faithful to His Wife
Being Faithful is a very important Trait of a Righteous person. The Life of an Elder is one of such a Holy Walk that the younger would like to be copied. His Life can be copied or patterned after because of their life of dedication. In this instance True and faithful to the Vows and commitments made in covenant to their spouse. Something to admire and aspire to.
6. Given to Hospitality
Hospitality is the Quality of being Hospital, sharing inviting people and families into your homes. Sharing a meal and sharing God’s word by voice and indeed to welcome people. Jesus opens his arms to us, and the Wise Elder replicates this. We all know people that are so open, inviting, and welcoming that you just automatically feel at ease and comfortable with them. The Eldership is one of patient teaching and gentle mentoring.
7. Not Given to Wine
Wine even though it is just a liquid has the ability to take people into captivity. People can become so enslaved to it that they lose all their priorities. They Lose control. They have been known to lose all their possessions, to give them away for another drink. An Elder walks in the shadow of Jesus. We are Masters of the flesh, we do not allow it to master us. It is not the first drink that enslaves, but they live that has been given over to the pursuit of this weakness. Once this habit has become strong it is very difficult to take back control. Continuing with it not only can prevent you from Helping and Leading others to Jesus but if not mastered can destroy your life.
Ephesians 5: 18 – 20 18 Do not get drunk on wine, which leads to debauchery. Instead, be filled with the Spirit, 19 speaking to one another with psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit. Sing and make music from your heart to the Lord, 20 always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.
8. Not Given to Anger
Life is troubling and very trying at times. A wise person will take it patiently and think before they act, think before they speak.
When I was younger there was an older man I looked up to. I was young and newly married. I worked with every day. He was very quick to anger. If a machine did not start he would beat it with a shovel. I saw him throw a generator off of a cliff because it would not start. Since it was not his he then had to climb down that embankment and drag that generator back up and put it in the truck. He also got in an argument with his wife while they were riding in His Truck. he Proceeded to get so angry, that he literally hammered on the steering wheel so hard he broke it off at the spoke. He then spent several days finding and replacing his steering column.
That older man has burned in my mind what losing control looks like. I decided from that day, I was young but I was not going to let my anger take me down that path.
9. Self Controlled
The Christian walk, life is one of mastering the flesh. Allowing our Godly Nature like our father, guiding our lives. To the point, we are a light un a hill. Giving Direction, and Hope because of the light that in us.
10. Good reputation with Outsiders
This is a very important trait. This shows that a man is truly a disciple for his Lord, at Worship, and in the rest of his life also. He is faithful Through and through. No matter where he is at, who he is with he portrays Christ. I have known several Christians. I saw them at every service. Listened to them pray, sometimes attended classes they taught, only to find out in some revealing circumstance, they were that way only when they were with other Christians.
Proverbs 16:6-7 – “Through love and faithfulness sin is atoned for; through the fear of the LORD a man avoids evil. When a man’s ways are pleasing to the LORD, he makes even his enemies live at peace with him.”
11. Not a Novice / New Convert
Several times I have to know a young person became a Christian and became a flaming comet in their Christian life. An Explosion of service, a thirst for learning. So Promising, but Jesus describes it as the seed that the farmer planted. It Grew, Sprouted but because of its lack of roots and depth that when it becomes hot, the sun bears down. It withers because it has no root.
Proverbs 3:12 – “My son, do not forget my teaching, but keep my commands in your heart, for they will prolong your life many years and bring your prosperity.”
A preacher can become an elder under certain conditions. It is not a natural progression from preaching to elder-ship because of the years spent in a church. There are things that churches look for in those they want to select as elders, and a preacher needs to ensure they meet the requirements