Job Description


1 Pet. 5:14

Elders feed, lead, protect, and nurture church members like shepherds do with sheep.


If lay elders devote themselves to these four things, they will excel as shepherds.

  1. Teach

An elder must be “able to teach” (1 Tim. 3:2). Not necessarily up front and formal, often one on one in a more casual setting.

Jesus’ under-shepherds feed Jesus’ sheep with Jesus’ word.

Keep a finger on the pulse of what’s being taught through congregational singing or in the Sunday school curriculum. Listen closely when members talk about what they’re reading and be alert for rotten food in their spiritual diet.

As Paul said to Timothy, “What you have heard from me in the presence of many witnesses, commit to faithful men who will be able to teach others also” (2 Tim. 2:2).

2. Lead

Just as shepherds lead their flocks, so elders lead local congregations.

The biblical writers also called elders “overseers,” a title that highlights their role as leaders (Acts 20:28; 1 Tim. 3:1; Tit. 1:5, 7).

Hebrews instructs Christians to “obey your leaders and submit to them, for they keep watch over your souls as those who will give an account” (Heb. 13 : 17).

This might involve reaching out to a frustrated member who’s stopped attending, or confronting an unrepentant member through church discipline.

As you lead, don’t lose sight of the destination. The goal isn’t to lead a church to become an efficient organization, as important as that may be. Rather, elders should lead church members toward maturity in Christ.

3. Model

Most importantly, elders lead by example. (1 Pet. 5:3).

The New Testament lists of elder qualifications focus predominantly on character (1 Tim. 3:1-7; Tit. 1:5-9; 1 Pet. 5:1-4).

An elder’s most basic job is to say “Imitate me just as I also imitate Christ” (1 Cor. 11:1).

Modeling means you must guard your godliness.

Continue to live close to the Lord, nurture your wife and children well, resist sin, and love people. Open your life to the loving accountability of the other elders. Modeling maturity is a team project.

Modeling requires elders to be among the people. It only works if people see you up close. So open your life to church members. Invite them into your home, your hobbies, and your ministry. People need a firsthand experience of how you handle stress, relate to your wife, respond to difficult people, and humbly admit when you blow it.

4. Pray

Acts 6:4

Elders are powerless in themselves to mature anyone in Christ; only the Holy Spirit can do that through God’s Word.

Whether you’re a lay elder (or a paid elder!), strive to be a man of prayer.

When you’re talking to a church member, be sure to stop and pray for him/her right then and there.


The under-shepherds of Jesus are at their best when they reflect Jesus, the Chief Shepherd.

Example Ministries. . .

  • Sharing communion with shut-ins Mentoring/Teaching (formally or one on one)
  • Praying over the sick (James 5)
  • Advising Pastoral staff
  • Complimenting Pastor’s vision & leadership (sharing the burden)
  • Showing hospitality

Questions to consider

  1. Purity. Are you leading a sexually pure life? (What do you consider a sexually pure life?) Are there any areas in your life that are out of step with the character of a elder? Do you struggle with impurity in any particular area?
  2. Personal walk. Describe your prayer and devotional life. Has God been real to you in prayer of late; is your relationship with him vital? Is anything hindering your communion with God? Are you making progress?
  3. Ministry Involvement. Tell us of how you have been involved in people’s lives in ministry through HBC or through other ministries. Do you have any non-Christian associates that you are regularly praying for and sharing faith with?
  4. Giftedness. How do you see your gifts, abilities, interests fitting this ministry?
  5. Possessions. Do you see yourself as a generous person? Do you believe in tithing?
  6. Mission: How are you currently living out the mission of Christ?
  7. Concerns/Questions What are you concerned and excited about in potentially serving the church in this way? Do you have questions for us?