Elder Qualifications – Aspiring to the Office

It is a trustworthy statement: if any man aspires to the office of overseer, it is a fine work he desires to do.
1 Timothy 3:1

Paul wants to be clear that serving as an overseer, a synonym for elder, is a great work. It is something that is worth the pursuit. The term aspires means literally to exert one’s energy and effort in pursuing. It is a desire that a person will strive to attain.

The fine work is that which is good, beautiful, useful, advantageous and important. Keep in mind that, as believers, God makes it clear that we are His workmanship and have been created for good works.

For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them.
Ephesians 2:10

Paul wants it to be clear that it can be a good thing to strongly desire to serve in the church as an overseer. It would be easy for a man to think that it is inappropriate to have such a desire. Paul also wants to be clear that the desire to be an overseer must also include the necessary qualifications to fulfill the responsibility. So, it is possible for a man to intensely desire the office and yet not be qualified to serve in this capacity.

After acknowledging the appropriateness of desiring the office of overseer, Paul provides specific character qualities that men must carefully consider should they seek to fulfill their desire. In the event they do not meet these requirements, they should continue striving to become more like Christ. Hopefully a day will come when they will be qualified. In the event they do meet these qualifications, they still must be affirmed by the church leadership and the church. There are different ways this may be accomplished in a church.

It is important to keep in mind that the only way a man can fulfill his responsibilities as an elder is to meet the qualifications. Eldership is not a position to pursue for ego’s sake. It is a role of servant leadership. As a Christian you should always be living in such a way that others could follow your example in every life situation. As an elder, this is even more important. We must never take lightly the privilege and responsibility of church leadership.

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