Summary: Using First Timothy 3 as a text, this is the message delivered at the elder ordination service of Castle Hills Christian Church.
ELDER ORDINATION SERVICE
Text:I Tim.1-1:3, II Pet.5::1-4
Today we are assembled to set apart men to an important ministry. These men have been chosen by this congregation to serve as elders of the Castle Hills Christian Church.
1. What is an elder?
The New Testament uses three words for elders. These words discribe elders and give a clue as to their work.
A. Presbuteros (from which we get the word Presbyterian) is the Greek word for Elder. The word can be interpreted to mean elderly. I am more inclined to consider that the real issue here is one of maturity. The Hebrew elders were not only older men, they were men who had shown leadership capabilities. Not everyone who achieves a ripe old age is automatically qualified to be an elder. The person needs to be old enough to have experienced some of life, and mature enough to show that he has learned some lessons from it.
B. Episkopos (from which we get the word Episcopalian) is the Greek word for Bishop. The word means "overseer”. This describes an important aspect of the elder’s work. These men collectively are the spiritual overseers of the church. They should be the primary teachers, evangelists, visionaries, administrators, and examples for the rest of the congregation. These men are the ones to demonstrate what the Christian walk should be. In word and deed they are to show forth the mind of Christ.
C. Poimen is the Greek word for shepherd or pastor. Although there are many churches where the minister is called "Pastor". The elders are actually the pastors of the church. The work of pastor or shepherd implies spiritual nurturing of the flock. This word reveals that, rather than just becoming chief administrators, the elders are to become the caretakers of the members of the congregation.
What does that do to the position of the minister? It frees the minister to become the evangelist he was designed to be. No
one man can possibly hope to take care of the needs of hundreds
of members in a growing congregation. For this reason, the
churches in the Bible appointed a plurality of spiritual leaders
to undertake the work of nurturing the flock toward spiritual
maturity. When people Expect one man to be the “pastor" they are
asking the impossible. They are also expecting, what the Bible
never mandated. These men called, ’elders" are your pastors.
II. WHAT ARE ELDERS TO BE ?
The spiritual qualifications of Elders are found in the Pastoral epistles. We read in 1 Tim. 1:7(concerning elders) “Here is a trustworthy saying; if anyone sets his heart on being an overseer, he desires a noble task. Now the overseer must be above reproach, the husband of but one wife, temperate, self-controlled, respectable, hospitable, able to teach, not given to drunkenness. not violent but gentle, not quarrelsome, not a lover of money. He must manage his own family well and see that his children obey him with proper respect. (If anyone does not know how to manage his own family, how can he take care of God’s
church?) He must not be a recent convert, or he may become conceited and fall under the same judgment as the devil. He must also have a good reputation with outsiders, so that he will not fall into disgrace and into the devil’s trap.”