God has called each church to be lead by a group of men that the New Testament calls elders, bishops (overseers), or shepherds (pastors). The most common term given to this group of men charged to lead the church is elder. In the New Testament, the elders have the overall responsibility for the oversight and direction of the church. They are to seek the mind of Christ (who is the head of the church), in all matters through the guidance of the Holy Spirit and the Word of God. They must be able to teach and exhort the church in sound doctrine and refute those who contradict the truth. Elders are to lead by example and will provide instruction for the maintenance of healthy relationships within the church. Elders are responsible to God for the flock that is “among them” (I Peter 5:2; cf. Hebrews 13:7, 17; 1 Thessalonians 5:12, I Peter 5:2-3, Titus 1:5-9, and 1 Timothy 3:1-7)
Character, Competency, Chemistry, and Calling
Character, competency, and chemistry make up the 3 Cs of the Elder board selection. The specifics of being an Elder start with character. When we look at the role of elder in Scripture, most of Paul’s teaching isn’t about job descriptions. It’s primarily about character. The game is won or lost on character.
Another key C is competency.
Chemistry is also important for our elder board. The board is not comprised of “Yes” Men, who mindlessly follow the lead of the senior pastor or the elder chairman. On the other hand, our elders don’t come to meetings with their own agenda. There is a shared goal to pursue unity and arrive at a consensus on issues that are faced. Because it necessary to moving in the same direction as a team of leaders, only those who agree to the overall purpose and vision of Shepherd of the Hills are considered for this role.
The final key C is calling. Because it takes a commitment of time and effort to serve as an Elder, each Elder needs to have a strong sense of calling. This calling is essential because serving as an elder can be very demanding at times. At Shepherd of the Hills, the elders serve as representatives of the congregation.
Potential elders are recommended by the congregation, evaluated by the nomination committee, appointed by the existing elder board, and then affirmed by the congregation.
How it Plays Out
Each and every day, the members of Shepherd of the Hills Elders Board are committed to shepherding and leading everyone who calls Shepherd of the Hills their church home.
The Elders take seriously their charge to bring honor to the bride of Christ — as the church is referred to in the Bible. This means wrestling with difficult decisions from a macro and micro perspective … with a lot in between.
On a daily basis and in their meetings, our team of Elders tackle key issues facing the church. These include:
• Creating policy in terms of church belief or biblical interpretation
• Dealing with social issues
• Handling financial concerns
• Conflict resolution, discipline, and restoration
• Counseling staff or members of the congregation
• Reviewing strategic plans created by the other leadership teams
• Providing input to the committees on financial or risk-management issues
The tasks and responsibilities of the Elders vary greatly and require discernment, as they strive to keep the church on its biblical course.
Dr. Jeff Kaplan
Visit “Meet our Staff” for more information about Jeff.