by Jason Brown
In a GSE processed church, elder provides longevity and stability.
GSE processed churches pray to appoint elders without compromise because the reputation of the elder becomes the reputation of the local church. Scriptures articulate the need for an untarnished reputation, so the decision to engage an elder should never be rushed.
Elder qualifications are, thankfully, defined in the Scriptures, and they are presented as absolute. Those qualifications must be evident to all in the life of an elder, not flippantly claimed by a single individual. This requires a church to be established in such a manner that all the lifestyle of all believers can be observed.
There are two basic questions to answer regarding the role of the elder in a GSE processed church: What does the Bible say? How does the elder function?
What does the Bible say?
1 Timothy 3:1 states that the process for eldership begins from within the individual (one who has aspiration to the office). This means it is not a work of man, but rather a work of the Spirit. Validation then comes from the Body of Christ that is actively seeking to deepen the functionality of a local church.
Seeking the office of an elder isn’t a campaign; rather the man is to be verified and validated by second and third parties who are able to see his home life, his love life, and his handling of conflict and family relationships.
1 Timothy 3:2-3 and Titus 1:8 extend the mandate for self-control beyond his visible family relationships to wider social settings. These passages along with Titus 1:9 require his ability to handle Scripture correctly for the purpose of teaching and instruction.
One must be able to be counted on to steer the ship biblically to achieve the results Jesus purposed for the church. 1 Timothy 3:6 calls for someone who is seasoned in the Scriptures. It is most interesting to me that outside of his ability to be sound in doctrine and able to teach, there must be evidence of his reputation amongst unbelievers. Marriage and family life are the predominant visible characteristics, both to the community and to the assembly of believers.
How does the elder function in a GSE processed church?
Based on the injunctions of Scripture, the elder works to form the evidence to which Christian individuals and Christian families aspire.
In 1 Corinthians 11:1 Paul says, “Be imitators of me, as I am of Christ.” This is not to say the leaders of the church are perfect, but rather there is a relational display in the assembly. Using this passage for leadership in the church also creates a failsafe: If the leader is not visibly and verifiably following Christ, there is no need to follow him.