No man can assume the role of an elder without carefully assessing what is expected of him. An elder must be approved by the body and show evidence that the Holy Spirit has sanctioned his appointment. For example, an elder must not only be respected by his immediate family, they must also show signs of spirituality.
Have a willingness to restore a fallen or weak brother. “Brethren, if a man be overtaken in a fault, ye which are spiritual, restore such an one in the spirit of meekness; considering thyself, lest thou also be tempted” (Galatians 6:1). A spiritual man must have a heart for the person who is hurt or hurting. The spiritual man must reach out to those who have stumbled, fallen or have been overtaken in a fault.
Show they understand spiritual truths. “For what man knows the things of a man, save the spirit of man which is in him? even so the things of God knows no man, but the Spirit of God. Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the spirit which is of God; that we might know the things that are freely given to us of God. Which things also we speak, not in the words which man’s wisdom teaches, but which the Holy Ghost teaches; comparing spiritual things with spiritual” (1 Corinthians 2:11-13).
Avoid contention, divisions and arguments. The Corinthians were experiencing strife and division and Paul wrote them saying, “And I, brethren, could not speak unto you as unto spiritual, but as unto carnal, even as unto babes in Christ. I have fed you with milk, and not with meat: for hitherto ye were not able to bear it, neither yet now are ye able. For ye are yet carnal: for whereas there is among you envying, and strife, and divisions, are ye not carnal, and walk as men” (1 Corinthians 3:1-3)? There are always divisive issues raised in a body of believers. A leader refuses to get involved in such contentions and strife. They will attempt to stop any division before it has the chance to take root.
Have a positive awareness of the will of God. Paul wrote, “He that is spiritual judges all things, yet he himself is judged of no man. For who hath known the mind of the Lord, that he may instruct him? but we have the mind of Christ” (1 Corinthians 2:15-16). Again he writes, “Redeeming the time, because the days are evil. Wherefore be ye not unwise, but understanding what the will of the Lord is” (Ephesians 5:16-17). This was written in the context of the Spirit filled life (Ephesians 5:18-19).
Are patient toward the weak and try to edify other people. “We then that are strong ought to bear the infirmities of the weak, and not to please ourselves. Let every one of us please his neighbor for his good to edification. For even Christ pleased not himself; but, as it is written, The reproaches of them that reproached thee fell on me” (Romans 15:1-3). A truly spiritual man has compassion toward weaker people within the body.
Are patient toward those in opposition. “The servant of the Lord must not strive; but be gentle unto all men, apt to teach, patient, In meekness instructing those that oppose themselves; if God peradventure will give them repentance to the acknowledging of the truth” (2 Timothy 2:24-25). When people seem to oppose the will of God or the direction the church may be heading, the spiritual man patiently instructs them.
Are willing to see the gifts of the spirit function in the church. Paul wrote, “Now concerning spiritual gifts, brethren, I would not have you ignorant” (1 Corinthians 12:1). Again, “If any man think himself to be a prophet, or spiritual, let him acknowledge that the things that I write unto you are the commandments of the Lord (1 Corinthians 14:37). He/she is also capable of judging whether or not these manifestations are indeed spiritual and if they are functioning properly. “Let the prophets speak two or three, and let the other judge” (1 Corinthians 14:29).
Offer spiritual sacrifices and sing spiritual songs. “You also, as lively stones, are built up a spiritual house, an holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God by Jesus Christ” (1 Peter 2:5). “Speaking to yourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord” (Ephesians 5:19). He is more consumed with worship, praise and blessing God than the pleasures and appetites of this worlds system.
Possess a spiritual mind. “For they that are after the flesh do mind the things of the flesh; but they that are after the Spirit the things of the Spirit. For to be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace” (Romans 8:5-6). He does not give place to carnal things – unclean thoughts, stories, careless and foolish words and silly jesting (Ephesians 5:3-5). These are opposed to the character of the Holy Spirit.
When Paul met with the Ephesians, he gave them a few important scriptural responsibilities for the elders of the church: