The ministry to which a person is called when he becomes an elder can best be described in the following ways:
Visitation. The elder will be responsible for the spiritual nurture and care of those members in his parish. He will visit members in their homes for prayer and encouragement. He will also assist in giving Bible studies to prospective members.
Worship services. The elder will lead the worship service as scheduled. He will review the order of service ahead of time to insure that all responsible parties are prepared and ready to serve.
Preaching. The elder may be asked to preach when the pastor is out-of-town or not available.
A Spiritual Mentor. The spiritual life of an elder should constantly lead members of the church to seek a deeper spiritual experience for themselves. I Timothy, chapter 3, describes the Christian life of an elder in these words: “. . . above reproach, the husband of one wife, temperate, prudent, respectable, hospitable, able to teach, not addicted to wine or pugnacious, but gentle. . .” An elder should model, by his or her devotional life, Christian personality and spiritual interest, a higher ideal for each member to reach. The elder should reflect the fruits of the Spirit in his or her relationship with others: love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.
Church Administration. An elder should always attempt to make a positive contribution to the organization and progress of the church. While doing this, he or she should not try to dominate or control but rather enable others to participate in decision-making in the church and ministry. An elder often serves in an advisory capacity to various departments, committees, and projects.
An elder is a member of the church board and attends on a regular basis in order to provide input and counsel regarding church issues.
The board of elders will meet together with the pastor once per month for visioning, administration, prayer, and counsel. This is typically on the Sunday morning before the scheduled board meeting.
Appropriate Spiritual Gifts:
Exhortation – The special ability God gives some to bring encouragement and comfort to others.
Pastor/Shepherd – The ability to carry a personal responsibility for the spiritual welfare of a group of believers and act as a shepherd, overseer, protector, and guide to the church.
Administration – The ability to guide the church in meeting it’s goals.
Leadership – The ability to help others set goals and communicate these goals to others.
Time Commitment: Including Sabbath duty, most elders will need to plan on two to four hours per week to carry out their duties.