One of the exciting developments at Valley Life | Tramonto is that we have leaders who aspire to be elders. Before sitting down with them, our current elders outlined three aspects of qualification that we hold to be essential in potential elders: character, compatibility, and competency. In our first informational meeting, they covered these qualifications with the interested men for about three hours.

Character is the most important of the three qualifications. It is the one that Scripture spends the most time describing, as well as the area our current elders spent the bulk of the time addressing in the meeting. That meant we took time to walk through 1 Timothy 3 and Titus 1. These outline and discuss the life and lifestyle of an elder.

Compatibility is about ensuring that new elders are a good fit for our team as well as Valley Life’s ministry philosophy. This might have been the easiest to talk about and gauge. We know each of these men, and we already like them. However, it was necessary to discuss our church’s philosophy and make sure that each of them agrees with it.

Competency is about making sure elders are able to lead their home well and able to handle the Scriptures with skill. The men asked the bulk of their questions about developing their competency with the Bible. This is a short summary of steps I shared with them that they can do without going to Bible college.

Use Your Own Bible

Each week our preaching collective team not only plans out the sermon but provides a reading guide that is intended to prepare the reader for the upcoming sermon. The text, as well as the weekly reading plan, are posted on our website and in our app. Engaging the daily readings will not only give you time in the Bible but also give you the chance to ask yourself, “What is it about this particular text that applies to the sermon that we will hear on Sunday?”

Write Your Own Sermons

Using the sermon text provided on the website and in the app, prepare your own outline and thoughts. Think through how you would explain the text and apply it if you had to talk about it for ten minutes to a group of coworkers. Then bring your notes with you to the worship service on Sunday and see what differences there are.

Get Your Own Tools

Download Logos Bible Software for your phone, tablet, and computer. The engine that runs the software is free, and you’ll have access to a Bible in which you can take notes digitally. While the learning curve is a little steep and the price of whole libraries can be even steeper, Logos is the premier tool for the Bible student.

No matter what book, author, or genre you are studying, the Bible is always about Jesus. Every narrative, poem, command, and song fits into a meta-narrative pointing to Jesus as the hero. Growing in biblical competency is really about becoming better equipped to worship Jesus through reading God’s Word.

Brian Bowman

Brian Bowman

Brian Bowman is the pastor of Valley Life | Tramonto, the first Valley Life Church planted in 2012. He planted his first NAMB church in 2004 in Portland, OR. Brian also writes for the Send Network Blog and Acts 29.