<<senior leaders>>

Like most civilisations the Jewish culture conferred authority on those who by experience or age were best able to rule (Num 11:16).  In NT times, each Jewish community had its council of elders.  The early church adopted the same style of leadership that exercised spiritual oversight in the congregations. The elders, whose lives demonstrated the

Develop elder qualities even if you don’t hold the title

Christian gospel were chosen for their wisdom, dedication and faith, ability to diligently lead, govern, spiritually feed and care for, even disciplining when necessary (Act 20:28; 1 Pet 5:1-4).

The Bible lists the qualifications and duties for those desiring to be elders (1 Tim 3:1-7; Tit 1:6-9). Elders are normally more mature and involved in the spiritual aspects of the church, whereas deacons are involved in the practical and governance issues. The responsibility is on the congregation to respect the church elders (1 Thes 5:12,13; 1 Tim 5:17; Heb 13:17).   

A key step in establishing a new church is the appointment of suitable godly elders to govern (Act 14:23). Several should hold this office in each church, as there are added safeguards and combined expertise in a group. The elders oversee and assist the pastor or ministry leader to effectively serve the believers in the locality. The controversial topic of women in leadership roles in the church is covered under church

See also: authority, church, deacons, leaders/leadership.