What are the specific duties of a local church elder?
1. Visitation. Nurture develops on a horizontal level in the church when members offer encouragement and spiritual counsel to one another. In such a caring community, even the pastor is nurtured through the membership of the church. An elder can be a vital element in this kind of caring church. The elder can also visit members in their homes, en courage others to do so, and assist in instructing prospective members.
2. Commitment to outreach. It is especially important for the local elder to be committed to soul-winning. The congregation needs to know that its leaders have a clear vision of the mission of the church. It has been said that church growth is "caught" rather than taught. When an elder enthusiastically models a commitment of his or her time in outreach ministry, others catch the same spirit and commit themselves to the mission of the church. An elder should schedule time for ministering to the unsaved.
3. Worship leadership. The leadership of a local church elder can make a tremendous difference in weekly worship services. Quality leadership and participation can transform a dull, lifeless worship service into meaningful celebration and praise. Skills in worship leadership should be developed, such as the reading of Scripture, offering public prayers, planning the order of service, and in smaller churches at least, delivering the sermon.
4. Spiritual example. The spiritual life of an elder should constantly lead members of the church to seek a deeper spiritual experience for themselves. The apostle Paul described the Christian life of an elder in these words: "blameless, the husband of one wife, temperate, sober-minded, of good behavior, hospitable, able to teach; not given to wine, not violent, not greedy for money, but gentle, not quarrelsome, not covetous" (1 Tim. 3:2, 3, NKJV).
5. Church administration. An elder should contribute to the organization and progress of the church. While doing this, he or she should not try to dominate or control but rather enable others to participate in decision-making. An elder often serves in an advisory capacity to various departments, committees, and projects. In doing this, the elder provides unity among the various programs of the church, communicates progress to the church board, and encourages a unified mission.