Last Wednesday evening, our congregation approved the formation of our current Elder Search Committee. On the congregation’s behalf, we will now begin the process of searching for elder candidates to serve alongside me as shepherds for our church.
Even though the committee has a lot of work to do, you (as a church member) also have some important work to do. We now need you to submit names of potential elder candidates to us. Constitutionally speaking, those submitted must be men, they must be willing, and they must be biblically qualified. (If you have specific questions, see our Church Constitution.)
As we begin this process, I want you to prayerfully consider if the person is biblically qualified. To help you do that, I want to walk through the Scriptural qualifications (from 1 Timothy 3 & Titus 1) and provide an unofficial checklist of the kinds of things to look for. Obviously, the committee will have its own inquiry but you can help us out by asking these questions now.
“An overseer, then, must be above reproach” – Does this man have a reputation for integrity? Does he demonstrate godly virtues? Is he the kind of man who inspires others to be more like Christ? Is he blameless? Or does a cloud of doubt hang over his character?
“the husband of one wife” – If he is not married, does he have appropriate interaction with women his age? Does he treat them like “sisters” in Christ? To your knowledge, is he pursuing sexual purity? If he is married, is he clearly faithful to his wife? Can his marriage serve as an example to others in the church? Does he interact with other women, in the church or outside, in a God-honoring way? To your knowledge, is he pursuing sexual purity?
“temperate, prudent, respectable” – Is he consistent in his Christian walk? Does he seek to be trendy or “fadish?” Is he prone to excess in matters of food, alcohol, anger, entertainment, etc? When he speaks, are his words sprinkled with wisdom? Is he the kind of person you would seek advice or counsel from? How does he behave when things are going good in his life? How about when they are going poorly? Do you respect him? Others?
“hospitable” – Does he make a point to greet others at church? Do you see him speak to visitors? Is he the last person to arrive at church and the first to leave? Or does he prioritize fellowship before and after? Have you (or do you know of anyone) who has been to his home? Does he warmly receive such invitations? Is he a people-person?
“able to teach” – Is he a capable Bible teacher? Do you and others learn from his teaching or preaching? Does he have sound doctrine? Does he have any “quirky” or controversial theological views? Is he supportive of our doctrinal statement, the BF&M? Is he the kind of person you would trust if your children asked him a Bible question?
“not addicted to wine or pugnacious” – Does he partake in alcohol at all? If so, does he exhibit appropriate sobriety? Is he enslaved to any intoxicants (i.e. illegal drugs, prescription drugs, alcohol, etc.)? Is he prone to fight? Quarrel? Stir up controversy? Is he stubborn?
“gentle, peaceable” – Is he a peacemaker? Does he promote unity? How does he interact with those that he might disagree with? Is his presence welcomed, calming and reassuring?
“free from the love of money” – Does he give generously and sacrificially to the church? Outside the church? Does his lifestyle exude extravagance? Does he appear to be sensible with money? Is he stingy or generous? Do his career pursuits seem to be focused upon amassing wealth?
“manages his household well” – Is he an attentive leader in his home? Will his wife agree? His children? Is his family actively involved in the programs of the church? Do his children respect, obey, and regard him? Or are his children rebellious and resistant to him? If he is single, what are his attitudes towards family? Nieces and nephews? Other family members?
“not a new convert, not conceited” – How long has he been a believer? Is he spiritually mature? Is he prideful? Arrogant? Egotistical? Humble? Self-effacing? When criticized, does he listen? Is he sensitive? Or is he brash and unwilling to be critiqued? Is he defensive? Full of himself? Is he cooperative? A team-player?
“have a good reputation with those outside” – Does he engage with the community? Serve in any civic, neighborhood, or regional ways? What do his co-workers and neighbors say about him? Would his unbelieving family or friends be shocked that he was being considered to be a church leader? Is he evangelistic and compassionate towards the lost? Does he support missions?
I hope these questions help us as we search for the future team of pastors to serve our flock.