John Caprine

Dudley Dinsmore

John Schlothaur

Jon Mefford

Rick Coblentz

Steven Henry

Terry Sonnenburg

What is a Biblical elder?

The term “elder” (or, in the Greek, presbuteros), is used interchangeably with “overseer” or “bishop” (episkopos), and “pastor” (poimenas). In Acts 20, Paul uses all three terms when he’s addressing the elders of the Ephesian church:

From Miletus, Paul sent to Ephesus for the elders of the church. 18 When they arrived, he said to them: . . . “28 Keep watch over yourselves and all the flock of which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers. Be shepherds [or pastors] of the church of God, which he bought with his own blood.” (Acts: 20:17-28)

Peter does the same in his first letter:

To the elders among you, I appeal as a fellow elder, a witness of Christ’s sufferings and one who also will share in the glory to be revealed: 2 Be shepherds of God’s flock that is under your care, serving as overseers . . . (1 Peter 5:1-2).

Elders are charged with the spiritual oversight of the church, they are to shepherd (Acts 6:1-6; 20:28). They are to devote themselves to prayer and the ministry of the Word, and they are also charged with being the principal governing body of the church (1 Timothy 5:17—”The elders who direct the affairs of the church well are worthy of double honor . . . .”).

Simply, the elder/shepherd of the church will know, feed, lead and protect the flock. Psalm 78:72 says, “David shepherded them with integrity of heart; with skillful hands he led them.”
We begin identifying possible elders by these four qualities that they need to have:

Quality #1: Biblical Character
1 Timothy 3 and Titus 1 lay out the Biblical characteristics
Quality #2: Shepherding Heart
Are they currently discipling someone?
Quality #3: Engaged in the Ministry
Where do they serve at Summit? Are they regular attenders? Do they give regularly to the ministry?
Quality #4: Are they Overall Healthy?
Is their marriage healthy? Parenting? Are they joy-filled? Teachable? Been in leadership and/or Joshua’s Men?