1. No people will ever rise above their leaders.
a. This truth is especially relevant for the Lord's Church.
1) Strong leaders .......... produce strong churches.
2) Weak leaders ............ produce weak churches.
b. Regardless of TYPE, the church will always have leaders!
1) Human nature demands it.
2) Whether good/bad will depend on other factors.
c. God (knows our needs) has called forth quality ldrs for his people.
1) Evangelists ....... establish, set in order, nurture.
2) Elders ............ guide, counsel, oversee.
3) Deacons ........... assist in on-going ministry.
4) Older women ....... teach younger women way of the Lord.
2. Tonight we want to explore the work of one of those groups ... ELDERS.
a. Why study the Eldership?
1) Single most important office in an est., growing church like K.
2) This church needs more elders!
b. Format: "What is an Elder? (3 Greek words).
1) All 3 words found in Acts 20.
2) More than titles, descriptions of their function.
I. AN ELDER IS ....... AN ELDER (Acts 20:17).
A. Greek word is PRESBUTEROS .
1. Word "Presbyterian" comes from this word.
2. Basic idea is one who is older as compared with being younger.
a. General sense ....... Luke 1:18; 1 Tim. 5:1.
b. Specific sense ...... Acts 20; 1 Tim. 3; Tit. 1.
B. Older men (age/experience) naturally looked to for leadership.
1. Jewish culture:
a. Governed towns ("city fathers") and Synagogues.
b. Even 12 tribes had elders--1 Sam. 30:26--"Elders of Judah."
2. How old did one have to be to be an elder/leader in Israel?
a. Qumran community (Essenes) = 30.
b. Rabbis, even Jesus, began ministry at 30.
c. FOOTNOTE: Lk. 2:52-- helikia --cf. Jn. 9:21; Luke 3:23.
3. What about now?
a. No specific age is given in Scripture.
b. In our culture 30 is probably too young.
C. What is all this age/experience good for?
1. For making decisions ..................... wise decisions!
2. In ANY group (fam., chrch, nat.) "the buck" must stop somewhere.
a. Some decisions are clear ..... others matters of judgment.
b. Illust . Decision about D-Day. Dwight D. Eisenhower. Only he could make it--scene from "Longest Day." Written statement he had in pocket: "Landings have failed. Many brave men have died. If there is any blame to be attached, I and I alone am responsible."
c. An elder needs that sense of decision-making responsibility.
II. AN ELDER IS ....... AN OVERSEER (Acts 20:28a).
A. Greek word is EPISKOPOS .
1. "Episcopal" comes from this word (also "bishop").
2. From EPI = on or over; SKOPEO = to look, watch, see.
3. Idea is that of a guardian, superintendent, manager.
B. If "Elder" refers to decision-making function, "Bishop"/"Overseer" refers to delegating (management) function.
1. No eldership is capable or ought to make ALL decisions.
a. Spend all time on only one aspect of work.
b. Delegation is the answer (Ex. 18:13-28).
2. Delegation accomplishes three (3) things:
a. Elders are freed up to fulfill other aspects of work.
b. The work gets done & receives attention it deserves.
c. Saints are "equipped for the ministry" (Eph. 4:12).