I'm one of the elders at my church. We are primarily pastors, dedicated to caring and praying for the members of the congregation and overseeing the spiritual direction of what is taught within our walls.
We are currently in the midst of bringing a couple new people on board, and part of their apprenticeship is filling out a questionnaire so we can get a better idea about each person's spiritual background and outlook.
As I read through the set of answers from our most-recent apprentice, and look at the partial list of qualifications Paul documented in First Timothy 3, I am practically forced into some self-evaluation...and a renewed doubt as to my fitness for the role.
According to Paul (I Timothy 3:2-7), someone who serves as an elder should be:
- above reproach
- faithful to his wife
- able to teach
- not given to drunkenness
- not violent but gentle
- not quarrelsome
- not a lover of money
Moreover, he must:
- manage his own family well
- see that his children obey him
- do so in a manner worthy of full respect
- not be a recent convert
- have a good reputation with outsiders
I'm certainly stronger in some of these things than in others, but I'm glad this is a list of guidelines as to the type of person who should be in church leadership, and not necessarily a strict checklist.
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Truth is...this isn't such a bad list of personal goals for anyone to do some self-evaluation against.