Do not entertain an accusation against an elder unless it is brought by two or three witnesses. Those who sin are to be rebuked publicly, so that the others may take warning. 1 Timothy 5:19-20 (NIV)
There are two points here and they are both important: Good leaders need to be protected from bad people; good people need to be protected from bad leaders.
Godly leaders will always be under attack from the enemy. Satan is the great accuser. He constantly fabricates lies. That’s why we need the belt of truth as the first piece of the armor of God.
John Calvin says, “None are more exposed to slanders and insults than godly teachers. They may perform their duties correctly and conscientiously, yet they never avoid a thousand criticisms.”
Paul was constantly slandered by false teachers (1 Cor. 4:3). Our Lord was falsely accused. The gossip about Him was that He was a glutton and a drunkard (Matt. 11:19). Some people even said that He was demon possessed (Mark 3:22).
The pattern with slander is always the same. Some story or false statement goes around, and people say, “There’s no smoke without fire.” Satan works havoc in the church through these things, so elders must restrain fabricators of gossip, slander, and lies.
Good people also need to be protected from bad leaders: “Those who sin are to be rebuked publicly, so that the others may take warning” (5:20). Paul is talking about a leader, a pastor, or an elder who harms the church by his sin. Leaders must be held accountable, and this is the responsibility of the elders.
If your church has good elders, you should thank God for them.