What Does the Bible Say About..? Logo

What Does the Bible Say About..Leaders in the Church?

What are the qualifications to be a leader in a church?


The qualification, or qualities, of an elder (also called bishop or pastor) can be found in two scriptures, 1 Timothy 3:1-7 and Titus 1:5-9.

This is a true saying, If a man desire the office of a bishop, he desireth a good work. A bishop then must be blameless, the husband of one wife, vigilant, sober, of good behaviour, given to hospitality, apt to teach; Not given to wine, no striker, not greedy of filthy lucre; but patient, not a brawler, not covetous; One that ruleth well his own house, having his children in subjection with all gravity; (For if a man know not how to rule his own house, how shall he take care of the church of God?) Not a novice, lest being lifted up with pride he fall into the condemnation of the devil. Moreover he must have a good report of them which are without; lest he fall into reproach and the snare of the devil. (1 Timothy 3:1-7)
“For this cause left I thee in Crete, that thou shouldest set in order the things that are wanting, and ordain elders in every city, as I had appointed thee: If any be blameless, the husband of one wife, having faithful children not accused of riot or unruly. For a bishop must be blameless, as the steward of God; not selfwilled, not soon angry, not given to wine, no striker, not given to filthy lucre; Holding fast the faithful word as he hath been taught, that he may be able by sound doctrine both to exhort and to convince the gainsayers.” (Titus 1:5-9)

Deacons (also called ministers) are technically not leaders in the church, but servants of the church. However, in the performance of their duties they may be required to lead others. The qualities of a deacon (and their wives) are found in 1 Timothy 3:8-13.

“Likewise must the deacons be grave, not doubletongued, not given to much wine, not greedy of filthy lucre; Holding the mystery of the faith in a pure conscience. And let these also first be proved; then let them use the office of a deacon, being found blameless. Even so must their wives be grave, not slanderers, sober, faithful in all things. Let the deacons be the husbands of one wife, ruling their children and their own houses well. For they that have used the office of a deacon well purchase to themselves a good degree, and great boldness in the faith which is in Christ Jesus.”

The other position of leadership in most modern churches is the preacher. (Some churches incorrectly call him a “pastor” even if he is not holding the position of an elder. Others call him a “minister” even if he does not hold the position of deacon.) Since the preacher’s main job is teaching the word of God, there are no special qualifications other than an ability to teach and a knowledge of the Bible. There is no place in scripture that gives any qualifications for a preacher.