Function and the Role of Elder at GCC
Grace Community Church Bylaws: Elders. Elders will be men who meet the qualifications found in 1 Timothy 3:1-7 and Titus 1:6-9 (The qualifications found in 1 Timothy 3 and Titus 1 are essential in chosing elders).
The Elders will watch over the spiritual welfare of the Church and its Members, participate in the public services and ordinances of the Church, care for the sick and needy, and encourage godly living by word and by example. The Elders will initiate, guide, and oversee the ministries of the Church, and will assist, encourage, and counsel the Pastor.
The description and role of an elder, found in Scripture, is indicated in what an elder is called: Elder, bishop, overseer, shepherd and pastor. Psalm 23: “The LORD is my shepherd, I shall not want.” David provides a picture of what a pastor/elder should be and how the flock is to view them. A pastor/elder, with complete and total dependence on God, is to watch over, lead, protect, and feed (teach), His flock doing this through prayer, His Word, and oversight.
Elders, in modeling the Good and Head Shepherd, Jesus Christ, are to follow Him humbly, sacrificially, achieving this by loving those God has placed under their care and in exercising oversight (overseers). The elders are to not do this for sordid gain or notoriety, but voluntarily and with eagerness. They are not to lord it over those in the church (1 Peter 5:3) but be servant leaders ready to wash feet.
There is spirtual equality among believers but also practical authority. We see this in the trinity, in marriage, in the Old Testament with the oldest son, Moses, Judges, elders, the high priest and more. In the New Testament we also find this with elders.
Hebrews 13:7: “Obey your leaders, and submit to them; for they keep watch over your souls, as those who will give an account, let them do this with joy and not with grief, for this would be unprofitable for you.”
Elders are to watch over the souls of the flock. The church is the body of Christ and should be firmly attached to the head (Jesus Christ) using its gifts out of love to glorify God with encouragement from the elders. Those in the flock are to submit and obey. As we are all sinners, elders need to be held accountable as well (1 Timothy 5:19-20) and as teachers are doubly accountable to watch over the souls of the flock. This is a very serious and weighty job with eternal consequences; thus prayer is vital. The elders are not to encumber the flock, but encourage them in the race God has set before them and in the use of their spiritual gifts in the church. Great joy will follow if we all follow and obey our Lord.
Love needs to be central to all we do. Our love for God and love for one another is of utmost important. As it says in 1 Corinthinas 13, we can speak in tongues of angels, move mountains, give all we have to the poor, understand all mysteries, and even give our body up to be burned but don’t have love it is all for nothing. We would just be noisy gongs and clanging cymbals. We as elders need to labor out of unconditional love and model the love of Christ. If we do this then hopefully we will be one unified body, striving to glorify God individually and collectively, and He will be pleased.