Basic Duties of Church or Cell Group Overseers

The biblical qualifications required of shepherding elders, enumerated in 1 Timothy 3:1-7, define their character. These qualifications for the naming of overseers are not the same as their duties. The rest of the letter deals with overseers’ responsibilities. Since few leaders have the gifts to carry out all the duties required of them, leaders serve to as models the best they can for their flock and trainees, letting others step into their weak areas.

Overseers’ biblical responsibilities include:

Lead the flock:

  • Work closely with fellow shepherding elders (example, Jam. 5:14)
  • Name and train new leaders (2 Tim. 2:2; Tit. 1:5; example, Acts 14:23)
  • Equip all members of a body to serve in ways that fit their gifts (Eph.4:11-12; 2 Tim. 3:16-17)
  • Watch out for ‘wolves’ (legalists who lure sheep away from their church, Acts 20:28-31)

Strengthen relationships with God:

  • Pray and intercede (1 Tim. 2:1, 8; Jam. 5:14)
  • Serve as a model of godly living (1 Tim. 4:12)
  • Correct those who err in word or deed, shunning the divisive (1 Tim. 5:19-20; Tit. 3:10)

Care of the needy:

  • Name deacons and deaconesses to coordinate care of the needy (1 Tim. 3:8-13; 5:3-14; example, Acts 6:1-7)
  • Give, and teach others to give, including to support shepherding elders that are leading many believers, (1 Tim. 5:17-18; 6:17-19; Tit. 3:13-14)

Apply God’s Word:

  • Do the work of an evangelist (2 Tim. 4-5)
  • Coach youth and anyone that needs spiritual help; correct, rebuke, encourage, (2 Tim. 4:2; Titus 2:6)
  • Teach the Word with authority (1 Tim. 4:11; Tit. 2:15)

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