Elder Qualifications – Above Reproach

An overseer, then, must be above reproach…
1 Timothy 3:2a

…namely, if any man is above reproach…
Titus 1:6a

For the overseer must be above reproach as God’s steward…
Titus 1:7a

Being above reproach cannot mean without sin. After all, the Scriptures make it clear that we will always battle sin in this life (1 John 1:8).

To be without reproach is to live a blameless life; one that is free from any legitimate accusation of wrongdoing. That is not to say that he is never criticized, but there is no valid criticism that can be leveled against him.

So, on one hand he maintains a testimony in the world that is honoring to the Lord.

…and keep a good conscience so that in the thing in which you are slandered, those who revile your good behavior in Christ will be put to shame.
1 Peter 3:16

And on the other hand, he lives a life in such a way that others can honor God by following his pattern of life. Paul said it well when he wrote the following words:

Be imitators of me, just as I also am of Christ.
1 Corinthians 11:1

Brethren, join in following my example, and observe those who walk according to the pattern you have in us.
Philippians 3:17

The truth is, all Christians must be striving to be above reproach. Paul instructed Timothy to teach the old and young alike how to live out their faith so they will be above reproach.

Prescribe these things as well, so that they may be above reproach.
1 Timothy 5:7

If the church body is responsible to be above reproach in their walk with the Lord, it makes perfect sense that this is a defining characteristic of any man who would pursue the office of elder (overseer). With this in mind, if you are considering this office, make sure your life is such that unbelievers cannot bring legitimate accusations against you. Also consider your personal disciplines and priorities. Are you living in such a way that your fellow Christians would be honoring the Lord if they patterned their life after yours, whether you are at work, at home, in your marriage, with your children, etc.?

Should you aspire to the office of overseer, this is where you must begin.

Rocky Wyatt

Rocky Wyatt came to know the Lord as a young teenager and began working in youth ministry when in college. After serving in churches in Utah, California and Colorado, Rocky moved to Texas to serve as Youth Pastor at Countryside Bible Church. He served there for 26 years where he eventually moved from youth ministry to serve as an Associate Pastor.

Over the course of his ministry, Rocky has always had a desire to train men for pastoral ministry in the context of the local church. In 1992 he started XL Ministries, an organization that is committed to helping churches establish intensive internships for pastoral training. In 2020 he left his position at Countryside Bible Church to become the Executive Director of XL Ministries and now works full time assisting churches in training men for ministry.

He is co-author of The Youth Ministry Training Manual, a textbook for training youth pastors, and has also written multiple other resources for use in various local church ministries. He is currently working on a book to encourage churches to take the primary responsibility to train pastors.

Rocky is married to Pamela, has two sons and daughters-in-law, and ten grandchildren. 

Therefore, my beloved brethren, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your toil is not in vain in the Lord.1 Corinthians 15:58