Vertical Church is committed to the Bible’s teaching that men who hold the offices of Elder and Deacon are to oversee various functions of the local church.

The Bible’s teaching on the subject of two church offices is found in 1 Timothy 3:1-16 and Titus 1:5-9. Although there are three terms used for the offices of the church: bishop, elder, and deacon, analysis of these terms indicates that bishop and elder are used interchangeably.

Elder Qualifications

  • Above reproach
  • Able to teach
  • Husband to one wife
  • Not addicted to wine
  • Temperate
  • Not antagonistic
  • Prudent
  • Uncontentious
  • Respectable
  • Free from the love of money
  • Hospitable
  • Manage own household
  • Not a new convert

Elder Duties

The elders’ primary responsibilities include:


Plurality of Elders

The Scriptures teach that a plurality of elders governed individual New Testament churches (Acts 14:23; Acts 20:28; Titus 1:5; Philippians 1:1). The Scripture does not mention any congregations featuring a stand-alone pastor and leader. A plurality of godly elders, exercising their individual giftedness, squares with the Scripture’s teaching that wisdom is found in a multitude of godly counselors (Proverbs 11:14; Proverbs 12:15; Proverbs 15:22; Proverbs 19:20; Proverbs 24:6). This truth does not eliminate the possibility and likelihood that one or more elders will stand out from the others as more public in their ministries or more influential in their workings on the Elder Board.

Lead Pastor

The Vertical Church Lead Pastor automatically serves as an elder. The Lead Pastor should be gifted primarily as a preacher/teacher and as a leader.


The Bible teaches that deacons are servants who minister under the oversight of the elders. The qualifications for elders and deacons are the same regarding an individual’s character, but they differ in aptitude. The elders are to be able to teach while the deacons are to be able and proved as servants.

Deacon Qualifications

(1 Timothy 3:8-12)

  • Individual of dignity
  • Above reproach
  • Not double tongued
  • First tested as servants
  • Not addicted to wine
  • Spouses must be faithful
  • Temperate
  • Not fond of sordid gain
  • Holding to the mystery of faith with a clear conscience
  • Husband of one wife
  • Manages household well