The fourth office in the church is called “pastor and teacher” or “shepherd and teacher.” This office is the ongoing role of presbyters/elders called by God to preach and teach the word of God. They are accountable before God to care for the members of the church.
These four offices in the church describe her basic organization. The forth office requires divine guidance in selecting those who hold it. The Old Testament church gives us the characteristics of the men who hold the office of pastor-teacher and it applies to all who exercise leadership in the church.
God used Moses’ father-in-law, Jethro, to give these principles of selection. Exodus 18:21: “Moreover, look for able men from all the people, men who fear God, who are trustworthy and hate a bribe …”
The qualifications for elders and deacons in the church declared by the Apostle Paul in 1 Timothy 3, Titus 1 and the Apostle Peter in 1 Peter 5 are more detailed descriptions of the basic principles given by Jethro.
First, leaders are able men. Men selected to lead must have capabilities that demonstrate leading rather than following. The word translated “able” comes from a root word that is used to describe battlements, ramparts or fortresses. Able men must be men of conviction, strong principled men who can protect and care for the people.
Leaders in the church must be known to be God-fearers. These men stand out in the congregation as those who openly profess faith in Jesus, live in accordance with their profession and are regular worshipers of the risen Lord Jesus.
Finally, Jethro advised Moses to look for those men who were trustworthy. He added that a trustworthy man “hates bribery.” This man is one who is above reproach. He can’t be “bought.” The word translated “trustworthy” is from the root word for truth.