Growing In Godliness Blog

Growing In Godliness Blog

“Elders and Leadership”

Categories: Author: Gary Watson, Leadership

Elders and Leadership

by Gary Watson


The role, work, and characteristics of elders are clearly listed in Titus and 1st Timothy.  Examining the nature of elder leadership will help us understand God’s plan for the effective work of congregations.

“Leaders help themselves and others to do the right things. They set direction, build an inspiring vision, and create something new. Leadership is about mapping out where you need to go to "win" as a team or an organization; and it is dynamic, exciting, and inspiring.  Yet, while leaders set the direction, they must also use management skills to guide their people to the right destination, in a smooth and efficient way.”  (

The professional  and business world knows the importance of good leadership for accomplishing their goals.  Following is an analysis of leadership skills from the business and professional world coupled with appropriate scriptures.


1.Open-minded  and Humble

Is he self-willed (head strong, contentious)? (Titus 1:7)

*Greek word authades ‘selfwilled’ is used twice in the NT, here and in II Peter 2:10.  Denotes one who is “dominated by self-interest, and inconsiderate of others, arrogantly asserts his own will” (Expository Dictionary of NT Words, by W.E. Vine).

*“one so far overvauling any determination at which he has himself once arrived that he will not be removed from it (Trench’s NT Synonyms).

*Such words as “self-satisfied, arbitrary, unconsidered, morose, gruff, blatant, and shameless” (Kittel’s Theological Dictionary of NT)

*“human impulse violating obedience to the divine command

Meek, considerate, kind, peaceable. Able to bear, endure strain. Not harsh nor unkind in manner.


2.Empathetic- Just (Tit. 1:8).     One fair in his dealings, exact, upright, acting without partiality.


3.Visionary- Vigilant

*“Watchful and vigilant imply acute perception of what is dangerous or potentially so” (Duncan, p 23)

*Watchful, both for himself and all the flock (Acts 20:28).

Given to hospitality (1 Tim. 3:2Tit. 1:8). A lover of hospitality. Not forgetful to entertain strangers (Heb. 13:2). Entertains members and strangers in the home - having the spirit of the good Samaritan. Shows a warm welcome to visitors at services, sets an example for the flock to follow.

*Gentle -- patient (1 Tim. 3:3).

*Meek, considerate, kind, peaceable. Able to bear, endure strain. Not harsh nor unkind in manner.

*Greek word translated “patient” occurs 5 times in the Greek.  In Titus 3:2James 3:17I Peter


4.Confident- Desire the work (1 Timothy 3:1).

*Desire is translated from 2 Greek words.  First, “to stretch one’s self out in order to touch or grasp something, to reach after or desire something” (J.H. Thayer, Greek-English Lexicon of the NT, p 452).  The second, “to have a desire for, long for” (Thayer, p 238).  The later is equal to our expression, “to set one’s heart upon” (Thayer). 


5.Ethical and has Integrity       Is he a lover of money (covetous, greedy)? (1 Tim. 3:3)

*An unhealthy desire for material possessions – an inordinate desire for money. Unholy desire for gain.

*“not covetous” I Tim 3:3 literally means “not to be fond of silver”.  Same Greek word appears in Heb 13:5

Blameless -- above reproach (1 Timothy 3:2Titus 1:6).

*One against whom no evil charge can be sustained -- innocent -- not guilty of evil. This does not mean that elders must be sinless (Romans 3:23I John 1:8). Jesus is the only man who ever lived a sinlessly perfect life (Heb 4:15). This man must be a man about whom no uncomplimentary evil rumors are circulated; character is to be unimpeachable. Elders must be men who live pure, clean lives.


6.Positive and Decisive- Sober -- sober-minded (1 Timothy 3:4Tit. 1:8).

*Good common sense, mature in judgment, not frivolous, flighty, or flippant. But prudent, dignified, quiet, cool, collected, grave. Realizing the importance and earnestness of life.

*Humble- Not a novice  from the Greek is “newly planted”.  KJV margin note – “One newly come to the faith”. 

*Why?  “lest being lifted up with pride he fall into condemnation of the devil” – suggesting the sin for which Satan was expelled from heaven was the sin of pride (Luke 10:18).


7.Communicative, Accountable- 1 Peter 5:3  not domineering over those in your charge, but being examples to the flock.

Temperate (Tit. 1:8).

*Greek word naphalios signifies “abstinate with respect to wine” By association it means sober, careful, circumspect, I Thess 5:6,8II Tim 4:5 (Deaver, 12)

*One self-controlled, using moderation so as to blend the faculties to the highest degree. Ability to deny self.

Not given to wine (no brawler)     Does he drink alcoholic beverages?

*The Greek word paroinos, literally means “by or beside wine”.  A marginal note in the KJV says, “ready to quarrel, and offer wrong, as one in wine.”  The ASV translates the word “no brawler”. 

*Wine is generic determined based upon context.  It can mean in the grape, freshly squeezed, or fermented. 

*If drinking any amount of alcoholic beverages is wrong, why didn’t Paul say that elders should not drink wine at all?

*Elders cannot be brawlers b/c their examples would be tarnished and it is behavior that is contrary to the kingdom of our Lord.

*Elderships would be unable to meet and make decisions without brawling, quarrelling, being contentious, as if they had been drinking strong fermented drink.

*Is he soon angry (quick tempered)? (Titus 1:7)


8. Disciplined and character-     Good testimony (report) from without (1 Tim. 3:7).

* One who has a good report from those which are without (not members of the church). Well respected by those outside the church. Well thought of by outsiders.

*“What kind of reputation does he have among the people with whom he lives and where he work?

*What do the people with whom he has done business think of him?

*What kind of reputation does he have among his own neighbors?

*What kind of estimate of the church will these people have when they learn he has been appointed to serve as one of the overseers of the flock


9.Influential and Loyal- Rule well own house (1 Timothy 3:4-5Titus 1:6).

Well governed, able to manage own household well.

A. His children not accused of riot or unruly.

B. His children must be in subjection with all gravity.

C. His children must be faithful, believing.

D. His wife cannot be the "boss" but must be in subjection

     (Ephesians 5:22).

E. The reason: "For if a man know not how to rule his own house,

     how shall he take care of the church of God?"

F.  To meet the qualifications, an elder MUST have children.  If he

      has none, there is no way of knowing whether he has the ability

      to so govern and rule the congregation.   


10.Courageous       It takes a lot of courage to correct others.      Convince ejlegcw — el-eng’-kho; of uncertain affinity; to confute, admonish: — convict, convince, tell a fault, rebuke, reprove.


Elders and all members are important to the work of the church, evangelism, and achieving the goal of eternal life with our Father.


(This writing is based on:  Here are the top 19 leadership qualities you should look for in a candidate.


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