Eldership June 1, 2015

Severalweeks ago, our elders nominated Adam Bensaidas a candidate for the office of elder in our church. Today, you will have an opportunityto hear from Adam personally, as he answers your questions about his beliefs,background, and qualifications at a friendly, informal Q&A sessionimmediately following our morning worship service. I hope you will allparticipate!

The Bibleuses three terms to name and describe the leadership officers of the church:“elder/presbyter,” “pastor/shepherd,” and “bishop/overseer.” Here at ParkerHills, we understand all three to be synonymous. “Elder” conveys the dignity ofthe office. “Overseer” denotes its authority and administrative function.“Pastor/Shepherd” conveys its orientation to people. Significantly, theoverwhelming New Testament pattern is that each church have more than one ofthese men. The Jerusalemchurch had elders (Acts 11:30), Paul and Barnabas appointed elders in the newchurches they planted on their journeys (Acts 14:23), and that pattern issustained in the NT letters (1 Tim 4:14, Titus 1:5, James 5:14). Broadlyspeaking, the Bible gives elders three primary responsibilities: 1) govern thechurch, 2) teach the Word, and 3) care for the members.

The processof becoming an elder at Parker Hills actually begins long before anyexaminations or public announcements. We believe God calls and equips Hisunder-shepherds through a variety of means, sometimes beginning even beforetheir own conversion and continuing through their years of Christian growth andservice in the church. At some point, however, God’s call upon a man to serveas an elder begins to become apparent as several factors converge in his life:1) he appears to meet the qualifications for church office as described in 1Timothy 3:1-7 and Titus 1:6-9; 2) the feedback he receives from other believersaffirms that he possesses the gifts for effective ministry; and 3) he has a growingsense of compulsion to serve Christ’s church with his life and gifts.

When God’scall to the eldership begins to take shape in a man’s life this way, so beginsthe process of examining and installing him as an elder. Ultimately though, wedon’t believe our church makes elders. God makes elders! The Spirit appointscertain men as overseers (Acts 20:28), Jesus gives those men as gifts to hischurch (Eph 4:11), and the Father holds them accountable for their service (Heb13:17). Through our process, we are simply recognizing and ratifying what Godhas already done in equipping and calling a certain man to the eldership.