The most uniform guidelines for an elder are found in the Bible.

You have just been selected by your church to serve as an elder. Congratulations! This is one of the highest honors and responsibilities the church can offer. In the near future, you will be ordained into the position, which means the pastor will likely lay hands on you and pray over you in front of the congregation as you officially accept the elder's duties as your own. As you prepare for this event, become familiar with the Biblical descriptions of what an elder is called to do as well as the spiritual responsibilities you are about to accept.

Speak with your pastor about the upcoming ceremony. Each church may ordain elders differently, and the pastor is the best person to contact to make sure you know what is coming.

Look at yourself introspectively. The qualifications for elders, as written in the Bible in 1 Timothy 3:2-7 (New International Version), include being above reproach, temperate, hospitable, able to teach, not quarrelsome and unwilling to serve the pursuit of money over the pursuit of God. They are also called to manage their households well.

Pray continually. Through humble prayer you will allow God to work the required changes in you and open your mind to the gravity of the responsibilities you are about to accept.

Memorize any Scriptures or responses that are required of you during the ordination ceremony, if applicable. Your pastor can advise you about this.

Read what the Bible has to say about elders and their responsibilities. You will find helpful texts in 1 Timothy 3 and 4, Acts 14, 15 and 20, 1 Peter 5 and 2 Timothy 1, among others.

Sleep well the night before the ceremony and show up to the church on time.


  • If there are others elders in your church, you will find it helpful to work with them prior to your ordination so you can see exactly what the church has planned for you. They can also help you prepare for the ordination ceremony.


  • Being an elder comes with a lot of responsibility. It is a public role and, together with the pastor and deacons, a leadership one. You will be called upon to make important decisions for the body of the church. Prayerfully consider the position before you accept it, since it should not be entered into lightly.