Whoever aspires to be an overseer
desires a noble task. - I Timothy 3:1

The congregation has until Sunday, April 28, to turn in names. You can submit names using forms that will be mailed to you or use the online form. All submissions are confidential.


Elder Selection Process Announcement – April 14, 2024

Elder Selection Process with Stan Ezell –  April 15, 2024 (Video 1 of 6)

Elder Selection Process with Rubel Shelly – April 17, 2024 (Video 2 of 6)

Elder Selection Process with Gary Waller – April 19, 2024 (Video 3 of 6)

Elder Selection Process with Hayden Parrish – April 22, 2024 (Video 4 of 6)

Elder Selection Process with Luke and Serena Coles – April 24, 2024 (Video 5 of 6)

Elder Selection Process with John and Shirley Bornstein – April 26, 2024 (Video 6 of 6)


In the New Testament, three words are used to refer to leaders.

Elder/Presbyter: refers to the age and maturity of leaders

Bishop/Overseer: someone who shows the way, a guide, a teacher, a guardian

Shepherd/Pastor: provides care for the flock

The word “elder” implies older, but traditionally, we have not had a specific age in mind. Maturity displayed is more important than age.

Harpeth Hills currently has 14 elders: David Aston, Paul Cates, Ted Clark, Stan Ezell, Phil Ellenburg, Stuart Fraser, Randy Gott, Bart Harper, Tom Henderson, Dana Janssen, Bill Prady, John Slayden, David Solomon, Hyatt Sutton

Our elders do not serve a specific term but rotate off when they discern the time is right. Paul Cates has served the longest, 35 years, and five elders have served four years. When circumstances like health or family dictate, elders have gone on a sabbatical of up to a year and then returned to serve.


Elders lead, providing overall direction for the congregation.
They make big decisions while delegating many others to the ministers and staff. We are not looking for managers or successful businessmen. We simply want those who can point people to Jesus. This is what we mean when we use the word shepherd.

Shepherds guide people, not boss them around.
Shepherds are servants first. Jesus was quite explicit about this.

You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their great ones are tyrants over them. It will not be so among you; but whoever wishes to be great among you must be your servant, and whoever wishes to be first among you must be your slave; just as the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life a ransom for many. – Matthew 20:25-28

Our shepherds watch over the flock.
They provide pastoral care and visit funeral homes and hospitals when time allows. They frequently pray with people in need. They check up on people. They care. We do not need more leaders to help “run things.” Church management is not the issue. Shepherding the flock is our greatest need.


No. We are looking for Spirit-led individuals who can help with shepherding, but the elders do not have a set number in mind as they begin this process.


The congregation has until Sunday, April 28, to turn in names. You can submit names using forms that will be mailed to you or use the online form.

Remember to sign your nomination form. All submissions are confidential.

Selecting elders is not a vote or popularity contest, but someone who will serve as an elder must receive significant support from the church. It is important for our leaders to hear the Spirit speaking through the congregation.

After prayer and discernment, the elders will contact individuals to determine their willingness to serve. Those who agree to continue the conversation will then meet with the elders privately.

At the end of this discernment process, the names of those willing to serve will be presented to the congregation, and the church will be given two weeks to respond with approval or questions. The new elders will then be ordained. We hope to complete this process by the beginning of June 2024.


In 1 Timothy and Titus, the Apostle Paul gave instructions about what kind of men make good elders. His two lists, totaling some 30 traits, are not identical. Paul was not being legalistic but was speaking in broad terms. In effect, he was saying, “Here is the kind of person you should look for.”

Spiritual Maturity is a Must
Not a recent convert
Apt teacher
Firm grasp of the Word

Character Counts
Above reproach, respectable
Well thought of by outsiders
Self-controlled, sensible
Temperate, not a drunkard
Not a lover of money

Consider His Family
Faithful husband
Manages his household well
Children are believers

Choose a Team Player
Not violent, but gentle
Not quarrelsome
Not arrogant
Not quick-tempered


1 Timothy 3:1-7 • Titus 1:5-9 • 1 Peter 5:1-5


We believe biblical teaching authorizes both males and females to share leadership and teaching roles in a local church while reserving the role of “elder” for men only.

However, an elder’s wife must be willing to share the responsibility of caring for the church in various ways, such as prayer, relationship building, discipling, and hospitality. Recognizing this shared partnership, we often refer to “shepherding couples” when referencing our elders.