Sunday School: What is a Healthy Church? Mark IX: Biblical Church Leadership (Part 5)


The Big Picture: The chief characteristic of the Christian pastor, the Christian elder, the Christian overseer is that his life constantly reflects the Christian virtues that are mandated of all Christians.


1) What a biblical elder is not

  • an older Christian
  • a successful businessman
  • a likable guy
  • a woman

2) What is a biblical elder?

That question can be answered first in terms of the office and second in terms of the man.

  • The office of elder is an office designed for the leadership of the church through the teaching of the Word.
  • The character of the man who qualifies to fulfill that office is described in 1Tim 3:1-7 and Titus 1:6-9.
  • “An elder is simply a man of exemplary, Christ-like character who is able to lead God’s people by teaching them God’s Word in a way that profits them spiritually.” (Mark Dever and Paul Alexander,  “The Deliberate Church”)

3) The character of the man who qualifies to fill the office of overseer 1 Tim. 3:1-7

  • above reproach (blameless)
  • 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
  • he must manage his own family well
  • he must not be a recent convert
  • he must have a good reputation with non-Christians

  1 Tim 3: 1 Here is a trustworthy saying: Whoever aspires to be an overseer desires a noble task.

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. 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. (If anyone does not know how to manage his own family, how can he take care of God’s church?)  He must not be a recent convert, or he may become conceited and fall under the same judgment as the devil. He must also have a good reputation with outsiders, so that he will not fall into disgrace and into the devil’s trap.