Monday, December 1, 2008

When Selecting the Elders...

When the congregation of the Lord's church in which you reside engages in the process of selecting men to serve as elders, there are several things you can do to ensure success:

1. Study. Every member should not only study the sections of Scripture that list qualifications (1 Timothy 3; Titus 1), but also all the other passages that refer to the elders. Using a complete concordance, search for the words: elder, bishop, pastor, overseer, et cetera. Study these in context. Study them completely. Define the terms and write down a list for yourself both of qualifications and duties for this position.

2. Talk to fellow Christians. It may be difficult to talk to members of the local body about this sometimes, but it is helpful to see the perspective of other Christians whom you respect. This is not gossip. This is a discussion of the direction of the church and the men that can fill the office. Make sure to never allow the selection of these men to get political. Make - the qualifications of elders, the selection process, and the duty of the members to obey the elders - subjects of devotionals and Bible studies. The church needs to work together in this effort.

3. Take a look at yourself. One of the difficulties that arises during the selection of elders is the magnifying glass effect. We are quick to disqualify qualified men because they are not perfect. I have often heard that it is better to have no men serving as elders than to have unqualified men serving. While this may be true, we need to be sure not to add more guidelines than we have been given. No man being considered is perfect. He must be an exemplary Christian, and he must meet all the requirements the Holy Spirit has given. If God could only use perfect men, then He would have stopped the commission at Jesus Christ.

4. Pray. Pray and pray some more. Pray for God's will to be done. Pray for the church to grow. Pray for the men who serve and who will serve. Pray for church unity. Pray for church-wide humility. Pray for brotherly love. Pray for God to work on every heart. Pray for God to accept the decision. Pray for His providential care for the leaders and the church. Pray that souls will be saved. Pray that the truth will be taught and defended. Pray for your overall attitude and involvement in the kingdom. Pray that more men will want to serve as elders in the church.

"This is a faithful saying: If a man desires the position of a bishop, he desires a good work." ~ 1 Timothy 3:1


  1. Good thoughts Jeremiah. Some things you most always hear during elder selections is: "All in all he's qualified but I think he is still a novice" or "He is too young to be an elder." We have a prejudice it seems to only appoint men who have a certain pedigree, if you were born in the church then you won't experience this problem however I have heard the novice argument made against someone who had been a Christian for fourteen years. The age thing is another one that people use. I think mostly these are thrown out because they simply don't like the person. What are your thoughts on this?

  2. Good advice for something that can be difficult, but something that will bring great blessings to a church.