Qualified to Serve

This Sunday we pause our study of John to celebrate a special moment in the life of OBC.

As 1 Peter 5, 1 Timothy 3, and Titus 1 indicate, elders/overseers/pastors (three terms for the same office) play a crucial role in the life of the church. This is why multiple books in the Bible give elder qualifications—so that local churches can properly recognize and install biblical elders.

In our case, OBC has enjoyed the service of our seven current elders for the last seven years. For some of these elders, the service goes back much longer. But since Pastor David came to OBC in 2015, we have not recognized or added a new elder.

This Sunday, by God’s grace, that will change. As we recognize and install Sean Oxford to the role of elder at OB, we give thanks to God for answering prayer and raising up this faithful brother to be an elder. 

For those who know Sean, you know he has already been ‘shepherding.’ In our children’s ministry and in many other areas of OBC life, Sean has demonstrated the qualities of overseer. In so doing, he has blessed our church and built up the saints.

This is what elders do. They equip the saints for the work of service (Eph. 4:12), they oversee the flock (1 Pet. 5:1–4), they pray for and teach the church God’s Word (Acts 6:1-7), and they multiply ministry (Eph. 4:11–16). Accordingly, it is important for elders and churches to know what God’s shepherds do. And this Sunday we will consider both the role that elders play in the life of the church and the way that healthy churches recognize and install elders. To do that we will look at Titus 1:5–9.
5 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— 6 if anyone is above reproach, the husband of one wife, and his children are believers and not open to the charge of debauchery or insubordination. 7 For an overseer, as God’s steward, must be above reproach. He must not be arrogant or quick-tempered or a drunkard or violent or greedy for gain, 8 but hospitable, a lover of good, self-controlled, upright, holy, and disciplined. 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.
In these five verses we find qualifications for elders. Yet, these verses are not for elders only, but for the whole church. This is why they are included in God’s Bible. Churches, and individuals looking for a new church, must know the qualifications of an elder. Because local churches play a role of appointing elders to service, churches must know how to recognize a true elder. Moreover, as elders playing the role of modeling the faith, local churches need godly examples of faith. Despite the way many celebrity preachers portray unnecessary and ungodly lifestyles, the character qualities listed in Titus 1 are what Christians need to see and imitate. To that end, Titus 1 shows us the wisdom and goodness of God in having local church appoint elders. 

To prepare for Sunday, therefore, take time to read Titus 1–3. Pray for our service and for Sean as he prepares to receive the call to be an elder at OBC. We, the elders, are thankful to God for him and for all the faithful servants of Christ who call OBC their home. God has been exceedingly good to our church. And on Sunday we look forward to giving him praise and receiving from him the gift of this elder.

The Elders at OBC

David Schrock