Сhurch elder: what they do, how to become one, and where to study

Сhurch elder: what they do, how to become one, and where to study

A church elder is a leadership position within a religious congregation, typically in Christian churches. These individuals are responsible for providing spiritual guidance, overseeing various church functions, and ensuring the well-being of the congregation. This article provides a comprehensive overview of the church elder profession, including specializations, tasks and responsibilities, pros and cons, demand, salary ranges, and more. By the way, recently the ProfGuide career guidance center has developed a precise career orientation test, which will tell you which professions are suitable for you, provide a conclusion about your personality type and intelligence.



While the general role of a church elder is consistent across different denominations, there may be some variations depending on the specific church tradition. Some common specializations include:

  1. Teaching elder: Focuses on providing biblical instruction and spiritual guidance to the congregation.
  2. Ruling elder: Primarily involved in the governance and administration of the church.
  3. Pastoral elder: Assumes responsibility for the spiritual care and counseling of congregation members.

Tasks and responsibilities

A church elder's tasks and responsibilities may include:

  1. Providing spiritual guidance and counsel to congregation members.
  2. Leading worship services, Bible studies, or prayer meetings.
  3. Overseeing church programs, such as youth groups, outreach efforts, and missions.
  4. Participating in church administrative duties, including budgeting and decision-making.
  5. Mentoring and discipling other church leaders and members.

Pros and Cons


  1. Opportunity to make a positive impact on the lives of others.
  2. Spiritual growth and development through service.
  3. Involvement in a supportive and caring community.
  4. Opportunities for personal growth and learning.


  1. Potential for stress and burnout due to high emotional demands.
  2. Limited financial compensation compared to other professions.
  3. Time commitment, as the role often requires evenings and weekends.
  4. Navigating challenging interpersonal dynamics within the congregation.

Demand (in USA, Canada, GB, Australia)

There is consistent demand for church elders across various countries, as churches continue to require strong leadership to support their congregations. However, the demand may vary depending on the denomination, location, and size of the church.

Salary ranges (in USA, Canada, GB, Australia)

Church elder salaries can vary significantly depending on factors such as denomination, church size, and location. As many church elders serve on a voluntary basis, the role may not always come with a salary. However, for those in paid positions, the salary range may look like:

  • USA: $30,000 - $70,000
  • Canada: CAD 30,000 - CAD 65,000
  • UK: £20,000 - £45,000
  • Australia: AUD 40,000 - AUD 75,000

Where do church elders work? 

Church elders primarily work in churches and other religious institutions. They are needed to provide spiritual guidance, support, and direction for their congregations. They also play a critical role in maintaining the overall health and well-being of the church community.

Important qualities of a successful church elder

  1. Strong faith and commitment to their religious beliefs.
  2. Empathy and compassion for others.
  3. Excellent communication and interpersonal skills.
  4. Leadership abilities and a willingness to serve.
  5. Conflict resolution and problem-solving skills.

Step-by-step career path

  1. Develop a strong foundation in your faith and gain experience in your church community.
  2. Seek mentorship from current church leaders.
  3. Pursue relevant education or training, such as theology or ministry courses.
  4. Gain experience in various church roles, such as teaching, leading worship, or serving on committees.
  5. Discuss your interest in becoming a church elder with your pastor or church leaders.
  6. Undergo a selection process, which may include interviews, assessments, or recommendations from other church members.
  7. Complete any required training or orientation for your specific denomination or church.
  8. Be formally ordained or installed as a church elder, if applicable.
  9. Continue to grow in your faith and leadership abilities through ongoing education and personal development.

How to become a church elder

The path to becoming a church elder can vary depending on the specific denomination and individual church requirements. In general, higher education is not always necessary, but some form of theological or ministry training may be beneficial. In some cases, a residency or graduate program in theology, divinity, or ministry may be required.

Where to become a church elder (in USA, Canada, GB, Australia)

Here are some examples of institutions offering relevant programs in each country:


  1. Fuller Theological Seminary
  2. Dallas Theological Seminary
  3. Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary
  4. Trinity Evangelical Divinity School
  5. Southern Baptist Theological Seminary


  1. Regent College
  2. Tyndale Seminary
  3. McMaster Divinity College
  4. Ambrose Seminary
  5. Emmanuel College


  1. London School of Theology
  2. Moorlands College
  3. Oak Hill College
  4. Spurgeon's College
  5. Wycliffe Hall, University of Oxford


  1. Sydney Missionary and Bible College
  2. Melbourne School of Theology
  3. Brisbane School of Theology
  4. Morling College
  5. Australian College of Theology

Can you enter the profession with a different degree?

While a degree specifically in theology, ministry, or divinity may be preferred or required for some church elder positions, it is possible to enter the profession with a different degree. In these cases, additional training, mentorship, or experience in church leadership roles may be necessary to prepare for the responsibilities of a church elder. Ultimately, the requirements for becoming a church elder will depend on the specific denomination and individual church.

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