INTRODUCTION: It is a wonderful time whenever any congregation ordains elders. Today brother Randy Frazier will be officially recognized as one the elders on this congregation. He has taken on this responsibility freely, without any coercion. He desires the office. It is good at this time to discuss the appointment of elders.



A. The illustrative terms used for the leaders of the local congregation suggest to us the kind of men God wants in the eldership.
1. Elder - Comes from presbuteros which means Older or aged. Meant to demonstrate maturity.

2. Bishop - Comes from episkapos which means overseer. Meant to demonstrate the ability to rule the church.

3. Pastor - Comes from poimen which means a shepherd. Meant to demonstrate the need to shepherd and guide flock.

4. These three terms are found in Acts 20:17, 28.

B. There are some qualifications the Lord has given to serve as a guideline for selection. (1 Timothy 3
1. Positive qualifications
a. Blameless (2a)

b. The husband of one wife (2b)

c. Temperate (2c)

d. Sober-minded (2d)

e. Of good behavior (2e)

f. Hospitable (2f)

g. Able to teach (2g)

h. Gentle (3d)

i. One who rules his own house well (4a)

j. Having his children in submission with all reverence (4b) This will show that he has the ability to rule the house of
God (verse 5). Titus adds the following statement, "having faithful children not accused of dissipation or insubordination." These qualifications are for demonstrating that a man has the ability to guide a home spiritually.

k. A good testimony among those outside (7a)

2. Negative qualifications
a. Not given to wine (3a)

b. Not violent (3b)

c. Not greedy for money (3c)

d. Not quarrelsome (3e)

e. Not covetous (3f)

f. Not a novice (6a)

1) Lest he be puffed up with pride (6b)

2) And fall into the same condemnation as the devil (6c)

C. Observations on Qualifications.
1. We must never appoint men just to be appointing them.

2. But we must never "raise the bar" so high that no one living could qualify. Some want a man without any fault and weaknesses. They are looking for superman, not an elder.

3. Sometimes we get into fine points like, "how many children should he have, and how many of them should be faithful Christians?"

A. There are a couple of passages in the New Testament which teals with the choosing of Elders.
1. Acts 14:23- "So when they had appointed elders in every church, and prayed with fasting, they commended them to the Lord in whom they had believed."

2. Titus 1:5- "For this reason I left you in Crete, that you should set in order the things that are lacking, and appoint elders in every city as I commanded you;" 

3. These are individuals who had miraculous gifts. They would have to leading of the Holy Spirit.

B. The fact is that there is NO BINDING EXAMPLE of one procedure to be followed in the selecting and ordaining of elders.
1. There are several principles that should be followed in the selection of elders.
a. An elders selected must be in accordance to the qualifications given by the Scriptures.

b. If there are no elders present in a congregation the men should take the lead in the selection of elders. Most of the time the men of a congregation choose several mature men who screen names of men as to their qualifications. They are then placed before the congregation to see if there is any valid objections to the men chosen.

c. If there are already elders present, the elders take the lead. Elders have the authority in matter of procedure and expediency. If they are not to take the lead in this, in what area do they have any authority? See Hebrews 13:17.

d. Who should know better than the elders of a congregation who might meet the qualificaitons for the eldership. It is their duty to watch the flock and shepherd them (1 Peter 5:1-2).

e. The Elders can set up any procedure which does not violate what the Scriptures teach. For example, they do not have the authority to place a man in the eldership without considering scriptural objections, but it is up to them to decide how those objections are to be heard. They also have the responsibility for placing men before the congregation, but it is up to them to do it in the most expedient manner that they see fit.

2. In absence of any binding method, the Elders of a congregation have the authority to search out, place before and ordain elders. Again the question has to be asked, Who is better qualified to appoint elders?
A. They have a shepherding work.
1. 1 Peter 5:1-3 "The elders who are among you I exhort, I who am a fellow elder and a witness of the sufferings of Christ, and also a partaker of the glory that will be revealed: 2- Shepherd the flock of God which is among you, serving as overseers, not by compulsion but willingly, not for dishonest gain but eagerly; 3- nor as being lords over those entrusted to you, but being examples to the flock;"

2. In that shepherding work there is the work of feeding the flock (Acts 20:28) and protecting the flock from false
doctrines that threaten to damage the flock of God (Titus 1:9; Acts 20:28-31)

3. They will give an account of their shepherding.

a. Hebrews 13:17
B. They have a leadership work.
1. They have been made overseers over the flock (Acts 20:28).

2. 1 Timothy 5:17

A. The member of a congregation have a responsibility to appreciate them for their work's sake.
1. Hebrews 13:7- "Remember those who rule over you, who have spoken the word of God to you, whose faith follow, considering the outcome of their conduct."

2. 1 Thessalonians 5:12-13 And we urge you, brethren, to recognize those who labor among you, and are over you in the Lord and admonish you, 13- and to esteem them very highly in love for their work's sake. Be at peace among yourselves."

B. We should obey them in their work of guiding the congregation.
1. Hebrews 13:17- "Obey those who rule over you, and be submissive, for they watch out for your souls, as those who must give account. Let them do so with joy and not with grief, for that would be unprofitable for you."

2. 1 Timothy 5:17- "Let the elders who rule well be counted worthy of double honor, especially those who labor in the word and doctrine."

CONCLUSION: The least appreciated person in baseball in the manager. He gets precious little of the credit if his team is winning. It is the players who shine in the limelight. But when the team is not doing well the manager often gets more than his share of the blame. As one person put it, "You can't fire the whole team! So you settle on firing the manager

Isn't that the same in the local congregation? When all is going well everybody wants to take the credit. But when something goes wrong it is always the leadership which gets the blame! Let us esteem our elders, respect the awesome responsibility they have voluntarily

Copyright 2000 by Grady Scott may be reproducted for non-commercial purposes at no cost to others.

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