Monday, March 12, 2012

Identifying Future Elders

On Sunday, I listened with joy as Kirk Hoffman and Mike Chambers shared their testimonies with our church.  They shared stories of God’s grace at work in their lives and I thanked God for the people He has placed in the body of believers at Bethany Community Church. 
Over the next few weeks, the members of our church are going to be evaluating and (I believe) affirming Kirk and Mike’s fitness for the office of elder. 
But what about future elders?  Are there other men in the church who fulfill the biblical requirements for the office of elder?  I believe so. 
Perhaps there are men you have observed in ministry whom you believe would do well shepherding the church.  As I introduced Kirk and Mike, I mentioned that one of the ways we identify elders is by people in the church recommending men to us.
So how can you know for sure whether or not a man is qualified for leadership?  What traits or attributes should we be looking for as a church in our leaders?  Or, put another way, what are some of the traits that should be true of a man who meets the biblical qualifications of an elder (e.g. 1 Tim 3:1-7; Titus 1:5-9)? 
Let me encourage you with some words from Thabiti M. Anyabwile’s Finding Faithful Elders and Deacons.  In a chapter entitled, “Desires a Noble Task,” Anyabwile notes four important traits to look for in a prospective elder:
1.      Take note of those men who regularly attend the church’s services and the church’s business meetings. 

2.      Note the men who already appear to be shepherding members of the church even though they don’t have the title “elder” or “pastor.”

3.      Note those men who show respect and trust in the existing leadership, who work to understand the directions pursued by leadership, who ask good and appropriate questions in appropriate settings, and who avoid creating confusion or dissension in public meetings.

4.      Be patient and note those men who evidence the desire [to be an elder] over time.
These suggestions are not exhaustive, but I think they provide some excellent examples of things that should be true in the life of a man who meets the biblical qualifications for eldership.  We do not put me into these roles hoping they become qualified.  We put them into these roles because we believe they have already demonstrated they are qualified.

Please continue to pray for God's direction and guidance for our church.


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