Elder Qualifications – Testimony to the Unsaved

And he must have a good reputation with those outside the church, so that he will not fall into reproach and the snare of the devil.
1 Timothy 3:7

The qualifications for eldership require consistency of testimony in all areas of life. This includes the elder’s relationship outside of the church. Keep in mind that having a good reputation, or testimony, includes the things the elder chooses not to do (putting off) as well as the things he is determined to accomplish (putting on).

If a man is known for his effort to avoid sinful actions and attitudes, yet he is not known for how he lives out his Christian faith, he is not qualified.

But you did not learn Christ in this way, if indeed you have heard Him and have been taught in Him, just as truth is in Jesus, that, in reference to your former manner of life, you lay aside the old self, which is being corrupted in accordance with the lusts of deceit, and that you be renewed in the spirit of your mind, and put on the new self, which in the likeness of God has been created in righteousness and holiness of the truth.
Ephesians 4:20–24

A failure to either “lay aside the old self,” or “put on the new self,” would render a man disqualified. After all, the elder must be living a life that others could follow, with the result that they would be walking in a manner that pleases the Lord.

Notice that Paul wants it to be clear that if a man does not have a good reputation with those outside the church he will fall into reproach, which is the snare of the devil. An elder who fails to live out his faith as God intends will easily bring reproach on the name of the church as well. Satan will gladly use a leader’s sinfulness to harm the testimony of the church.

This qualification does not mean that a man is never slandered by those in the world. Peter reminds us that when we live as we ought, there will be opposition from the world. But even when we face such opposition, our testimony continues to be consistently 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. For it is better, if God should will it so, that you suffer for doing what is right rather than for doing what is wrong.
1 Peter 3:16–17

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