ELDERS AND ELDERSHIP
Paul had been among the Ephesian Believers for three years. This time had allowed him to develop a close relationship with the Elders.
He had taught the things of Jesus Christ and the things of the Kingdom of God, as he did everywhere he went (Acts 20'31).
Later in time Luke describes a touching occasion when Paul arranged to meet with them on his way to Jerusalem in Acts 20'17-37.
Here are two excerpts from it:
“From Miletus he sent to Ephesus and called for the Elders of the Ekklesia.
And when they had come to him, he said to them: ‘You know, from the first day that I came to Asia, in what manner I always lived among you'," Acts 20’17-18.
"'Therefore take heed to yourselves and to all the flock, among which the Holy Spirit has made you Overseers, to shepherd the Called-Out People of God which He purchased with His own blood.
For I know this, that after my departure savage wolves will come in among you, not sparing the flock.
Also from among yourselves men will rise up, speaking perverse things, to draw away the disciples after themselves.
Therefore watch, and remember that for three years I did not cease to warn everyone night and day with tears.
So now, brethren, I commend you to God and to the word of His grace, which is able to build you up and give you an inheritance among all those who are sanctified',” Acts 20’28-32.
Paul's farewell to these Elders more clearly defines the scope of their ministry. To all would be overseers-shepherds of God's Flock what Paul said is important and valuable .
He describes them as:
Elders (Greek "presbuteros": "elder", "of age").
Overseers (Greek "episkopos": "overseer").
Shepherds (Greek "poimaino": "feed", "rule", "govern").
The Eldership. Although Elders will often minister together, certain needs arise among Believers that require the presence a Woman.
It is apparent that, just as they are equally yoked together with their husbands in marriage, they are coupled with them in ministry.
Elders and their Wives can express the breadth of experience to provide the fullest ministry for those with particular needs.
Singly and together they can serve men, women, old people, young people, adults or children, singles or married couples.
Eldership ministries include
- Ministering doctrine:
“When Aquila and Priscilla heard him, they took him (Apollos) aside and explained to him the way of God more accurately,” Acts 18’26.
- Praying for the sick:
“Is anyone among you sick? Let him call for the elders of the church, and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord,” James 5’14.
“Do not neglect the gift that is in you, which was given to you by prophecy with the laying on of the hands of the eldership,” 1 Timothy 4’14.