Right now you are thinking that this is going to be the most boring blog ever written in history of blogs. Church government? Are you kidding? No, I am not kidding. Church government is massively important. If you don’t believe me, then look across the landscape of America and the disasters that we call churches. What is their problem? Their leadership.
Have you ever heard the phrase, “You are acting like a bunch of Cretans?” Cretans come from the island of Crete and this is the location that the apostle Paul sent Titus to assist the local church. “This is why I left you in Crete, so that you might put what remained into order, and appoint elders in every town as I directed you—“ (Titus 1:5)
The church in Crete was out of order. The culture of the Cretans had worked its way into the Church and something had to be done, and that something started with proper Church government. Today, we see the same issue in America. The culture has crept into our congregations and has made a mess out of things, and faithful men called by God need to put the Lord’s house in order.
When you read the Bible, you see only one form of Church government, a plurality of elders. (Acts 14:23; Acts 20:17; Titus 1; 1 Timothy 3:1-7; James 5:14; 1 Peter 5:1-4). As we see in 1 Peter 5:2, the purpose of elders is to exercise oversight. In 1 Timothy 5:17, the apostle Paul uses the word “rule.”
The primary way elders exercise oversight, or rule, is through the teaching of God’s Word. And this makes sense, for the Church is not an institution of man, but an institution of God; therefore His Word is a lamp unto the elders feet.
Because of this, we see that one of the requirement for elders is the ability to teach the Bible. Titus 1:9, “He must hold firm to the trustworthy word as taught, so that he may be able to give instruction in sound doctrine and also to rebuke those who contradict it. (See also 1 Timothy 3:2 and 2 Timothy 2:24). If you attend a Church whereby the Pastor does not, or cannot, teach the Bible, then your Church will be out of order and behaving like a bunch of Cretans.
In addition to the requirement of being able to teach, are there other requirements? Yes. “Therefore an overseer must be above reproach, the husband of one wife, sober-minded, self-controlled, respectable, hospitable, able to teach, 3 not a drunkard, not violent but gentle, not quarrelsome, not a lover of money. 4 He must manage his own household well, with all dignity keeping his children submissive…he must not be a recent convert…he must be well thought of by outsiders.” (1 Timothy 3:2-7).
The bar for being an elder is high. Why? Because a lot is at stake.