Elder Qualifications – Gentle

…not addicted to wine or pugnacious, but gentle, peaceable, free from the love of money.
1 Timothy 3:3 (emphasis mine)

In contrast to practicing violence, the Christian leader is to be “gentle” or forbearing in his relationships to troublemakers. The “gentle” man uses elasticity in supervision and is flexible rather than rigid. Synonyms for “gentle” include yielding, kind, forbearing, and considerate.1

Elders will find themselves facing difficult circumstances with difficult people. In the midst of the challenges they face, they must respond with gentleness. It is very easy to allow anger, bitterness, and frustration to seep into a person’s heart. The elder must guard against this danger.

All Christians are expected to demonstrate this virtue. Notice the emphasis on being gentle to all men. It is certainly more difficult to be gentle with those who are argumentative and critical.

Let your gentle spirit be known to all men. The Lord is near.
Philippians 4:5

…to malign no one, to be peaceable, gentle, showing every consideration for all men.
Titus 3:2

James reminds us that gentleness is associated with godly wisdom.

But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, reasonable, full of mercy and good fruits, unwavering, without hypocrisy.
James 3:17

Elders must be able to use godly wisdom when dealing with the variety of issues they face in the context of the church. Such wisdom will be expressed in a spirit of gentleness.

1 Lea, T. D., & Griffin, H. P. (1992). 1, 2 Timothy, Titus (Vol. 34, p. 111). Nashville: Broadman & Holman Publishers.

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