Church Eldership

Church leadership

The Old Testament (OT) model was that God marked out specific men to lead His people. Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Joseph, Joshua, Moses, David and so on.
I won't be looking at the issue of equality or get drawn into the period of the Judges.
The plain scriptural teaching and descriptive texts clearly show male headship both OT and NT
God made Adam first and would be the head of Eve.(1Tim 2:11-15)
Marriage is also clearly defined as male and female becoming one flesh. Putting these things together teaches us of Christ being head of the Church and becoming one with her.
1Cor 11:3-9. Headship is male, that's why long hair on a women is a symbol of authority vs10

Male eldership in the OT
In Numbers 11:16-30 we read "So the LORD said to Moses: “Gather to Me seventy men of the elders of Israel, whom you know to be the elders of the people and officers over them; bring them to the tabernacle of meeting, that they may stand there with you.“Then I will come down and talk with you there. I will take of the Spirit that is upon you and will put the same upon them; and they shall bear the burden of the people with you, that you may not bear it yourself alone.“Then you shall say to the people, ‘Consecrate yourselves for tomorrow, and you shall eat meat; for you have wept in the hearing of the LORD, saying, “Who will give us meat to eat? For it was well with us in Egypt.” Therefore the LORD will give you meat, and you shall eat.‘You shall eat, not one day, nor two days, nor five days, nor ten days, nor twenty days,‘but for a whole month, until it comes out of your nostrils and becomes loathsome to you, because you have despised the LORD who is among you, and have wept before Him, saying, “Why did we ever come up out of Egypt?”  ”And Moses said, “The people whom I am among are six hundred thousand men on foot; yet You have said, ‘I will give them meat, that they may eat for a whole month.’“Shall flocks and herds be slaughtered for them, to provide enough for them? Or shall all the fish of the sea be gathered together for them, to provide enough for them?”And the LORD said to Moses, “Has the LORD’s arm been shortened? Now you shall see whether what I say will happen to you or not.”So Moses went out and told the people the words of the LORD, and he gathered the seventy men of the elders of the people and placed them around the tabernacle.Then the LORD came down in the cloud, and spoke to him, and took of the Spirit that was upon him, and placed the same upon the seventy elders; and it happened, when the Spirit rested upon them, that they prophesied, although they never did so again.But two men had remained in the camp: the name of one was Eldad, and the name of the other Medad. And the Spirit rested upon them. Now they were among those listed, but who had not gone out to the tabernacle; yet they prophesied in the camp.And a young man ran and told Moses, and said, “Eldad and Medad are prophesying in the camp.”So Joshua the son of Nun, Moses’ assistant, one of his choice men, answered and said, “Moses my lord, forbid them!”Then Moses said to him, “Are you zealous for my sake? Oh, that all the LORD’s people were prophets and that the LORD would put His Spirit upon them!”And Moses returned to the camp, both he and the elders of Israel."
Moses could not cope with the people of Israel as they wept for meat. So he pleaded with God for help and God told him what to do and what type of men would qualify.


Using this account in Numbers one might conclude that the Hierarchical system we see in main stream church today is validated. However the new testament scripture does not support this view.  Remember church leadership is not about power and position but service and being an example.
Moses a type of Christ was to deliver the people of Israel from the bondage of Pharaoh and Egypt (types of the Satan and the world.
Jesus we read is Chief Shepherd 1Pet 5:1-7. Those who are to lead His flock must take on His mantle.
Peter writes "The elders who are among you I exhort, I who am a fellow elder and a witness of the sufferings of Christ, and also a partaker of the glory that will be revealed:Shepherd the flock of God which is among you, serving as overseers, not by compulsion but willingly, not for dishonest gain but eagerly;nor as being lords over those entrusted to you, but being examples to the flock;and when the Chief Shepherd appears, you will receive the crown of glory that does not fade away.Likewise you younger people, submit yourselves to your elders. Yes, all of you be submissive to one another, and be clothed with humility, for “God resists the proud, But gives grace to the humble.”Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you in due time,casting all your care upon Him, for He cares for you."
Just by this verse alone we can see Peter (although being one of the first to be called by the Lord to follow Him) refers to himself as a fellow elder.
Peter goes on to say to these other elders what is expected of them:
  • Shepherd the flock of God which is among you, 
  • serving as overseers, 
  • not by compulsion but willingly, 
  • not for dishonest gain but eagerly;
  • nor as being lords over those entrusted to you, but being examples to the flock
We have to bare in mind that the Apostles (sent ones) where given specific authority by the Lord to go and make disciples and plant churches. They did not have bibles they did however spend much time with the Lord Jesus who taught them all they should know and later the Holy Spirit was sent to remind them of His teaching John 14:25-26.
Paul who was also taught by Jesus (Gal 1:11-12) That is, he received the gospel by the revelation of Jesus by the working of the Holy spirit. Paul was very well educated as a Pharisee Acts 23:6; 26:5 and Philippians 3:5  Link here for more on Paul's life.
When writing to Timothy & Titus Paul gives instruction when looking for elders, what qualifications are required to determine these servants. Why do I say this? because we have churches today either run by self appointed men and women on one hand or those who have bought into the hierarchical system on the other who are appointed behind closed doors by those who are one step higher up the ladder.

To be cont...