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Sermon Notes

Main Question
Shouldn’t Jesus and the Bible define for us how to do church?

Today we will examine how the early Church in the first century arranged the leadership structure of the congregations. We do so by looking at a series of passages where the stewardship of the church organization is discussed.

Key Observations

  1. Elders are present in both the Old and New Testament. Number 11:16-25
  2. Elders provide service with humility. Acts 20:17-18
  3. Elders must be ready to face the hardships of leadership.  Acts 20:19
  4. Elders ensure the preaching is Acts 20:20, 27
    • Helpful
    • Doctrinal
  5. Elders love all people and not just the people from their own clan. Acts 20:21
  6. Elder must be committed to the long haul of completing the task. Acts 20:22-24
  7. Elders must protect the flock from wolves. Acts 20:29-31
    • Legal Wolves
    • Doctrinal Wolves
    • Divisive Wolves
  8. Elders must use their power for generosity toward the weak. Acts 20:32-35, 1 Peter 5:1-4

I Might Want to be an Elder

  • Attend, regularly
  • If you want to lead in the future, support current leadership in the present. (Good leaders are former good followers)
  • Serve faithfully (Service comes before and after leadership)
  • Be ready to learn

Discussion Questions


  1. A Biblical description of what it means to be an elder is found in both the Old and New Testaments. As you’re reading Number 11:16-25 ask yourself what God wants us to learn about elders?
  2. Pastor Rusty makes the point from Acts 20:17-18 that elders are to serve with humility. Why is humility such an important trait for elders?
  3. Elders are to provide stable committed leadership for the church. In Acts 20:19, Paul served the Lord even though he was severely tested. Why is it critical for elders to offer consistent leadership to the church in both good times and bad?
  4. Pastor Rusty points out how in Acts 20:20 and 27 elders are to ensure that what is preached is helpful and conforms to sound doctrine. This suggests elders are to guard the church from unsound doctrine and irrelevant teaching. What do these facts demonstrate about the role of elders?
  5. Acts 20:21 explains that elders have a consistent message for everyone whatever their background. Why is being impartial to various groups within the church so important for elders?
  6. What might the consequences be for churches if elders aren’t faithful in fulfilling the calling God has placed on them?
  7. Pastor Rusty points out how Paul protected the church from legal wolves, doctrinal wolves and divisive wolves in Acts 20:29-31. How does elder leadership protect the church from those bent on destruction?
  8. Elders are to be known for their generosity according to Acts 20:32-35. This is especially true when it comes to those in need. Why is generosity central for elders?


  • Church leaders set an example by regularly attending. Does your church attendance set a good example for others? If not how do you need to change it?
  • Pastor Rusty makes the point that good leaders are first good followers. Where do you need to become a better follower?
  • Serving comes before and after leadership. Are you serving well in the areas you currently serve? Are there areas you need to begin serving?
  • Ask God to help you: 1) Become a good follower, 2) Faithfully serve God and others in the areas where you’re already serving, 3) Figure out any additional areas God wants you to serve in the future.