Biblical Eldership

Dick Benjamin

Christ Connection

Explore biblical eldership in your local church.

5 Video Lessons

Watch, listen, and learn as Dick Benjamin shows you how to include elders in your local church. 

Course Guide

A FREE workbook that guides you through the course.

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Course Preview

Biblical Eldership

Brad Andrews sits down with Dr. Berin Gilfillan to discuss the office of the elder in the local church.

Course Overview

Biblical Eldership explores the significance of a proper personnel structure in local churches. The course highlights the qualifications and responsibilities of elders, who are appointed to oversee and shepherd the congregation, providing spiritual care and guidance. The fivefold ministry mentioned in Ephesians 4:11 is examined, and the offices of Apostle, Prophet, Evangelist, Shepherd, and Teacher are explored. The significance of five-fold ministry is for the Church’s growth and unity.

What You’ll Learn

  • Personnel of a local church 
  • What an elder (presbyter) is
  • Elders in the Early Church
  • Responsibilities of elders
  • Qualfiications of elders
  • Five-Fold ministry (Ephesians 4:13)


1. What is a Biblical Elder?

The lesson on Biblical Eldership emphasizes the importance of having a proper personnel structure in local churches, including saints, deacons, and overseers. The term “elder” is explored in both the Old and New Testaments, with an emphasis on being qualified and appointed to this leadership role. Elders are called to oversee and shepherd the church, working at the local level to ensure proper spiritual care and guidance. The lesson encourages raising and sending out individuals of character and ability to start other local churches as part of fulfilling God’s purpose for building His Church.

2. The Function of Elders

The lesson on Biblical Eldership emphasizes the role and responsibilities of elders in the local church. Elders are appointed to oversee, shepherd, and teach the flock, providing spiritual nourishment through the Word of God. They play a crucial role in governing and managing church affairs, including doctrinal matters and extending hospitality. The saints, in turn, should honor and support the elders, praying for them and obeying their guidance. Additionally, the lesson stresses the importance of recognizing the senior pastor as the one-head leader in the local church, with the ultimate responsibility for its direction and well-being. Ultimately, the focus is on building a strong, unified church body with Christ as the head.

3. Qualifications for Elders

The session focuses on the qualifications for individuals aspiring to become elders in a local church. The Apostle Peter’s instructions on elder selection are examined, emphasizing the significance of character traits, family values, and leadership abilities. A total of about 28 qualifications are discussed, emphasizing the need for exemplary conduct, integrity, and spiritual maturity. The importance of disciplined action towards elders persistently sinning is highlighted, emphasizing the need for rebuke, removal, and restoration if they repent. Unity among elders and faithfulness in service are also underscored. By adhering to these qualifications diligently, local churches can benefit from having excellent and godly elders who lead with integrity and serve as examples to the congregation.

4. The Fivefold Ministry (Part 1)

In this session, the focus is on the fivefold ministry mentioned in Ephesians 4:11. These ministries (Apostle, Prophet, Evangelist, Shepherd, and Teacher) are vital for the Church’s growth and unity. Jesus exemplified all these roles, and they are intended to remain until the Church reaches unity of faith. The ministries emerged in the early Church and served different purposes, such as establishing churches and nurturing believers. The Apostle’s role involved preaching, establishing churches, and providing guidance, while the Church is built on the foundation of both apostles and prophets. The session emphasizes the need for these ministries today and hopes for more apostles to fulfill God’s purposes within the Church.

5. The Fivefold Ministry (Part 2)

This session focuses on Ephesians 4:11 ministries, beginning with prophets. It distinguishes between the gift and ordination of prophecy, highlighting the Holy Spirit’s role and Jesus appointing prophets. Agabus exemplifies New Testament prophecy, predicting, encouraging, and revealing truths. The evangelist’s role in preaching the Gospel and equipping others is explored, alongside the pastor’s shepherd-like care for the flock, and the teacher’s Gospel instruction. The conclusion emphasizes that all fivefold ministers, meeting biblical qualifications, are elders, but not all elders are fivefold ministers—these ministries are Christ-appointed for His purpose. 

Trimester 1



No. of Sessions

5 Sessions

Running Time

2 hrs 4 min


August 11-12, 1995

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About the Instructor

Biblical Eldership
Dick Benjamin

Richard “Dick” Covington Benjamin, was the founding pastor of Abbott Loop Community Church (now Unite Church) in Anchorage, AK.

He overcame early challenges in a large and loving family during the Great Depression. His father’s absence, due to a train wreck before his birth, led to his mother’s marriage to Harvey Risley, resulting in three more siblings. Graduating from Helena High School in 1942, he moved to Seattle, where he had a life-changing conversion to Christianity in 1945. After serving in the U.S. Army, he attended LIFE Bible College in Los Angeles from 1948 to 1950.

In 1950, Dick Benjamin arrived in Alaska, working at First National Bank and later becoming associate pastor at Mountain View Chapel. He married Carol Lorraine Rounds in 1952, and together they founded Abbott Loop Community Chapel in 1959. The church, starting in a Quonset hut, grew under Pastor Benjamin’s leadership during the Charismatic Movement and the Jesus People Movement, expanding to around 1,800 members.

Pastor Benjamin initiated Abbott Loop Christian School and Abbott Loop Bible School, leaving a lasting impact on education. He also led the church in sending out over 1,300 people for church planting, resulting in a network of over 100 churches in Alaska and more than 25 states. The church supported missionaries worldwide, and Pastor Benjamin traveled extensively until his retirement in 1999.

Known for his integrity, love for family, deep biblical knowledge, humor, laughter, and singing voice, Pastor Benjamin became a mentor and spiritual father to many. His legacy includes the growth of Abbott Loop Community Chapel and its impact on church planting and education in Alaska and beyond.

He was a mentor and spiritual father to Dr. Jim Feeney, who’s book Church Planting by Teams is the basis on which ISOM was built.

Dick Benjamin, went to be with the Lord on Aug. 10, 2019, in Anchorage, Alaska.

Abbott Loop Christian Center 

Dick Benjamin preaching at Abbott Loop


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