Not domineering [as arrogant, dictatorial, and overbearing persons] over those in your charge, but being examples (patterns and models of Christian living) to the flock (the congregation). 1 Peter 5:3 (AMPC)
The Church is a family with many members at different stages on their way to maturity. There are babies, children, teenagers, adults, and the elderly.
The older ones are responsible for watching over and taking care of the younger ones.
In the Church the elders aren’t necessarily those who are older in age, neither are they always those who have been Christians the longest. Church elders are those who have grown and developed in their relationship and fellowship with God. They have reached a certain level of maturity in the knowledge, faith, love, wisdom, righteousness and Grace of Jesus Christ. Ephesians 4:13 (AMPC) [That it might develop] until we all attain oneness in the faith and in the comprehension of the [full and accurate] knowledge of the Son of God, that [we might arrive] at really mature manhood (the completeness of personality which is nothing less than the standard height of Christ’s own perfection), the measure of the stature of the fullness of the Christ and the completeness found in Him.
Therefore they can now help others also grow and come up into the same maturity.
All of us wherever we are at in our spiritual growth are an elder in our own right to someone coming after us.
An elder isn’t someone fronting his ‘Christian accolades’ – bragging about what he knows, his experiences, what he has accomplished or what he can do. He’s not one just telling and ordering others what to do or how to live.
A true elder in the Church of our Lord Jesus Christ is one who lives the Christ Life in front of others and so sets an example for them to follow. He certainly talks but most of the time he is walking the talk.
Paul exhorted Timothy – Let no one despise or think less of you because of your youth, but be an example (pattern) for the believers in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith, and in purity. 1Timothy 4:12 (AMPC)
Elders are models of Christian living. They are patterns of the Christ Life which is righteousness, faith and selfless love. They don’t just tell others to live right, they live right themselves. They don’t just preach to others to have faith, they themselves live and walk the faith. They don’t just tell others to love God and your neighbor, but they themselves are the Good Samaritan living and demonstrating the self-sacrificing unconditional love of God in their everyday life.