Elder Job Description



I. Aim
The purpose for establishing the office of Elder at Reformation Lutheran Church is to create leaders who will devote themselves to prayer and to the ministry of the Word (Acts 6:4). In addition, these individuals will come alongside the pastor in overseeing the faith, doctrine, and life of this local church.

II. Requirements
The apostle Paul tells us, “If someone aspires to be an elder, he desires an honorable position. So an elder must be a man whose life is above reproach. He must be faithful to his wife. He must exercise self-control, live wisely, and have a good reputation. He must enjoy having guests in his home, and he must be able to teach. He must not be a heavy drinker or be violent. He must be gentle, not quarrelsome, and not love money. He must manage his own family well, having children who respect and obey him. For if a man cannot manage his own household, how can he take care of God’s church?” (I Tim 3:1-5). In addition, an elder must have a solid understanding of the gospel as well as the Lutheran Confessions (Hebrew 13:7). Elders should be faithful in attendance and exhibit active participation in church functions and financial support of RLC.

We understand that no list is complete nor does anyone meet all these requirements. For these reasons, we are looking for individuals who are willing to continue to learn and grow as Christian leaders (Ro. 12:2); have attitudes that strive to follow our Lord Jesus Christ’s example (1 Cor 4:1; Eph 6:7); as well as have a willingness not to lord the office over other church members (Mt 20:25-26). Elders are to lead by serving.

III. Responsibilities
The responsibilities of elder are summed up under two heads: governing and teaching. They are the doctrinal guardians of the flock and the overseers of the life of the church responsible to God for the feeding, care, and ministry of the people.

A. Governing: “Be on guard for yourselves and for all the flock, among which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to shepherd the church of God which He purchased with His own blood” (Acts 20:28).

We understand that governing is different from managing. Governing establishes vision and corrects abuses, whereas managing carries out the vision. With this in mind, the elders will be responsible to oversee all areas of the church. In particular they will oversee Proclamation; Education; Deacon Board; Pastoral Care; Evangelism and Mission; Church Discipline, and the recruitment and training of new elders and deacons.

[Other Biblical passages that speak of governing: I Thessalonians 5:12; I Timothy 3:4-5; 5:17; Hebrews 13:7; I Peter 5:2]

B. Teaching: “He must hold firm to the sure Word as taught, so that he may be able to give instruction in sound doctrine and also to confute those who contradict it” (Titus 1:9).

In the area of teaching, the elders will be responsible to oversee all teaching in the congregation. This does not mean they will be the sole teachers; however, they will oversee all teaching. In addition, they will be encouraged to teach classes in the congregation such as Adult Education, Confirmation, and Membership. They are responsible that “the gospel is rightly taught and the sacraments are rightly administered.”

[Other Biblical passages that speak of teaching: Ephesians 4:11-12; I Timothy 3:2; 5:17]

RLC, 1/27/2008