Two Offices-Elder & Deacon

The Bible's teaching on the subject of two church offices is found in 1 Timothy 3:1-16 and Titus 1:5-9. Although there are three terms used for the offices of the church, i.e. bishop, elder and deacon, analysis of these terms indicates that bishop and elder are used interchangeably.

Elders

Elder qualifications (Titus 1:6-9):

  • Above reproach

  • Able to teach

  • Husband to one wife

  • Not addicted to wine

  • Temperate

  • Not antagonistic

  • Prudent

  • Uncontentious

  • Respectable

  • Free from the love of money

  • Hospitable

  • Manages own household well

  • Not a new convert

Elder Duties

The Scriptures show that the Elders "serve by leading" and that their responsibility involves the spiritual oversight of the congregation. 

Elders' Primary Responsibilities

Doctrine

Ensuring that the doctrine of the church is biblical; all doctrinal issues in the church will be settled by the Board of Elders.

Direction

Ensuring that the direction of the church is consistent with the Lifebridge Church statement of purpose and the four pillars.

Discipline

Administering in love and humility the process of church discipline as outlined in Matthew 18:15-20; Galatians 6:1-4; Titus 3:10; 2 Thessalonians 3:14-15; 1 Timothy 5:17-25; 1 Corinthians 5; 2 Corinthians 2:5-11 and Romans 16:17.

Plurality of Elders

The Scriptures teach that a plurality of elders governed individual New Testament churches (Acts 14:23; Acts 20:28; Titus 1:5; Philippians 1:1). The Scripture does not mention any congregations featuring a stand-alone pastor and leader. A plurality of godly elders, exercising their individual giftedness, squares with the Scripture's teaching that wisdom is found in a multitude of godly counselors (Proverbs 11:4; Proverbs 12:15; Proverbs 15:22; Proverbs 19:20; Proverbs 24:6). 

Senior Pastor

Lifebridge Church's Senior Pastor automatically serves as a member of the Elder Board. The Senior Pastor should be gifted primarily as a preacher/teacher and as a leader.

Deacons

The Bible teaches that Deacons "lead by serving" (Acts 6). The qualifications for Elders and Deacons are the same regarding an individual's character, but they differ in aptitude. The elders are to be "able to teach" while the deacons are to be "able and proved as servants."

Deacon Qualifications (1 Timothy 3:8-12):

  • Individual of dignity

  • Above reproach

  • Not double tongued

  • First tested as servants

  • Not addicted to wine

  • Spouses must be faithful

  • Dignified

  • Temperate

  • Not fond of sordid gain

  • Holding to the mystery of faith with a clear conscience

  • Husband of one wife

  • Manages household well