Greetings to the Father, Son, Holy Spirit, Holy Angels and saints in Christ. Yesterday I wrote about some key elements in the job descritpion of the bishop. Today,  I would like to share the teaching I received about how the role should be evaluated. This is by no means exhaustive.

IS IT SCRIPTURAL TO EVALUATE THE WORK OF THE BISHOP/ELDER/OVERSEER?

Yes it is. Jesus sent out His 70 and they returned with a report. Paul evaluated his own ministry and that of his junior ministers continually. For example, based on his conduct and example  in the minsitry (2 Tim 4: 1-5) he said that he had fought a good fight and kept the faith (2 Tim 4: 7) . Jesus is going to evaluate all believers based on our works and our reward will be commensurate (1 Cor 3). 

CRITERIA FOR EVALUATING THE ROLE OF BISHOP/ELDER/OVERSEER

1. Preaches and teaches the word with an unusual demonstration of power, signs and wonders (Mk 16: 16; Jn 14: 12; 1 Cor 2: 3-5).

2. Produces spiritual children and not just church members. A member may have no particular committment to the call of Christ and is just an attender and/or follower who does not really believe, like the crowds who followed the Lord then crucified Him later. A child becomes like the father in the same way that the disciples became like Jesus  and Timothy, Titus and others became like Paul (1 Cor 4: 14 – 17). Paul was so confident in Timothy and other junior ministers that he was able to deploy them to teach and remind the churches of the messages that he had previously taught to them.

3. His/her offspring resemble Christ in every dimension of His character and power.  Jesus was and is Apostle, Prophet, Teacher, Evangelist and Pastor. Paul was so confident that the elders of the early church were like the Lord that he told the believers to follow their faith/examples  (Heb 13: 7).

4. Is adept and flexible in the ministry roles of Apostle, Prophet, Evangelist, Pastor and Teacher, being able to draw on any gift as the need arises. Jesus was able to do this and  so were Paul and Peter. The bishop as the elder or overseer or equipper of the flock can only produce in the flock that which has been produced in him or herself.   That is why he/she must be mature and not a novice.

5. Is able to endure hardship and persecution, facing these with great joy and thanksgiving (Phil 4: 6; 1 Tim 4: 10).

Blessings. More to come on were there varying degrees of elders/bishops/overseers in the early church and government/lines of authority in the early church. Peace!

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