Elder Recommendation Procedure
This information is provided to provide guidance in recommending a man in our church as a candidate for being an elder at NewBranch Community Church. Recommendation does not guarantee his selection. Before you make the recommendation, please read the enclosed Biblical description of the requirements for being an elder. As you carefully consider your recommendation, prayerfully ask yourself the questions listed in the description to see if he meets the Biblical qualifications.
NOTE: Additionally, he must also meet these requirements:
- Been a church member for at least a year.
- Currently be involved in a ministry at NewBranch.
- Regularly attend church activities and worship.
- Be a tither.
If after praying and reading the qualifications, you still desire to recommend him, please contact him to see if he is willing for you to submit his name. IF he gives you permission to submit his name, please complete the elder recommendation form linked at the bottom of thise page. The candidate will be pre-screened, will perform a personal self-evaluation, will be interviewed by the current elders and then be presented before the church if elimination from the process doesn't occur before then.
Thank you for your role in locating qualified godly men to serve as elders for our church!
HOW TO RECOGNIZE POTENTIAL ELDERS
The Bible clearly teaches we should recognize leaders among us (Hebrews 13:7, 17, 24), but it does not tell us HOW to do this. In our church we ask the believers to express themselves regarding whom they believe best exemplify the qualifications, and are fulfilling the role of leaders in our congregation.
The Bible in I Timothy 3:1-7 and Titus 1:6-9 gives us objective qualifications or standards to evaluate whether or not a man may serve in the shepherding (elder) ministry of the church. Likewise, I Timothy 3:8-12 give the qualifications for deacon service. These standards help us discern precisely what is a man of God.
Paul, in giving instructions to Timothy and Titus, emphasizes Godly CHARACTER, not skills. In this list, Paul does not even mention any spiritual gifts. He did not say look for men with the gift of pastor-teacher, or the gift of administration, or the gift of helps, or the gift of exhortation. Out of the qualifications listed, all but one have to do with a man's temperament, reputation, ethics, morality, habits and spiritual and psychological maturity. The other one relates to his ability to lead his own family. Judgments are often made on how well a man can preach, or teach, and not on what he IS as a man, which has frequently led to tragic consequences.
GIFTS AND OFFICES Gifts and offices are not synonymous. EVERY Christian has a gift; SOME Christians in each congregation also have offices. Much of the ministry which goes on in a local church is a result of the exercise of a gift, not a sign of office. A man may have a prominent role in speaking, song-leading, or as a master-of-ceremonies, but the exercise of his gift does not automatically mean he is an elder. Much of the important work of leadership is behind the scenes.
ELDERS/PASTORS The term "elder” (pastor) refers to maturity rather than age. Elders should have a shepherd's concern for the flock, and should lead humbly by example, rather than being dictators. While an elder is a shepherd (1 Peter 5:1-4), he may not necessarily have a leadership gift. He should be able to instruct (1 Timothy 3:2), but may not be a gifted teacher. He should be able to refute subtle false teaching (Titus 1:9), but may not have the special gift of discerning of spirits. He should lead (1 Peter 5:2), but may not have an administrative gift. By being able to do each of these things, elders can fill in where the church is temporarily lacking and encourage those who do have these gifts to develop them. At the same time, of course, each elder should continue to exercise his own gift. Above all, elders should express the fruits of the Spirit: love, joy, peace and the rest (Galatians 5:22-23) in his own life in such a way as to inspire others. Elders (pastors, shepherds) have the primary responsibility to lead the church.
DEACONS Deacons are appointed to serve the church, particularly in undertaking those areas of need that would otherwise prohibit the elders and staff from performing their Biblical responsibilities (Acts 6:1-7). Decision-making and leadership falls primarily to the elders while serving and assisting falls primarily to the deacons. If you would like to learn about the deacon recommendation process click here.
PRECAUTIONS Balance the following seven precautions in evaluating potential elders.
FIRST, do not expect a man to perfectly measure up to each standard. These qualifications represent the IDEAL standards of Godly character and no man will perfectly possess each trait.
SECOND, allow variation in the degree which a man possesses each trait. Some men will be more prominent in one Godly character than in another.
THIRD, evaluate Godly character, not magnetic personality or persuasive speaking skills. These traits do not relate to personality, speaking skills, or management skills, so reject social and humanistic values in your discernment of Godly character.
FOURTH, prayerfully identify men in our church who BEST manifests the greatest majority of these qualifications.
FIFTH, measure your own spiritual maturity by these qualifications, since these traits are measurements of maturity for ALL CHRISTIANS, not just elders.
SIXTH, this is not a popularity or personality contest. A church requires spiritual, Godly, mature men as its elders. Lay aside all personal preferences and study, pray, and evaluate men in light of these traits.
SEVENTH, discern whom God is raising up to serve as a spiritual shepherd. You cannot MAKE or ELECT a man to these positions; you can only recognize what God is doing. These elders are not elected; they are appointed by God (Acts 20:28), to oversee and shepherd the church. You cannot create spiritual fitness in men; you cannot implant Godly desires; you cannot make elders or deacons. Only God through the Holy Spirit can accomplish this.
Listed below is a brief definition of each qualification with questions to help you evaluate and discern whom the Holy Spirit is raising up to serve as elders in our church. Later you will be asked to submit the names of those you wish to recommend as an elder.
SPIRIT-LED (Acts 6:3)
Life characterized by submission to God. Does he evidence a close walk with Christ? Does he seek to please God over man?
SERVANT'S HEART (Acts 6:5)
Willing to serve leaders and people. Does he evidence a cheerful willingness to serve even if inconvenienced? Does he volunteer willingly or must he be coerced to serve?
WORTHY OF RESPECT (I Timothy 3:8)
Orderly, mannerly, dignified. Is his behavior respectable and well behaved? Does his clothing style convey respectability? Is his language orderly and refined?
NOT DOUBLE TONGUED (I Timothy 3:8)
Not gossipy. Does he refuse to talk critically about others behind their back? Does he refuse to listen to gossip? Is his language clean?
NOT GIVEN TO DRINKING (I Timothy 3:8)
Controlled by alcohol. Does alcohol control his behavior? Is he controlled by any outside influence other than the Holy Spirit?
DOES NOT PURSUE DISHONEST GAIN (I Timothy 3:8)
Not loving money, not greedy; not a person of insatiable greed for riches; not avaricious; no inordinate desire to gain and hoard wealth. Does he live modestly? Are his buying practices impulsive? Are his desires for material goods causing him to go into excessive and binding debt?
NOT CONTENTIOUS (I Timothy 3:3)
Physical or fighting, combatant. Does his temper easily flare up under the slightest provocation? Does he return soft answers to someone in an argument? Does he control his temper when he is being attacked or someone opposes him?
NOT SELF-WILLED (Titus 1:7)
Arrogant self-will; self-centered with little respect for the rights or opinions of others. Does he arrogantly assert his own will on matters? Is he stubborn and inflexible in non-essentials (open-handed issues)? Is he stubborn with his family? His neighbors? Fellow believers?
HOSPITABLE (I Timothy 3:2)
A lover of strangers; entertaining guests in the home in a generous and friendly manner. Is his home open to believers and unbelievers who need physical and spiritual help? Does he actively seek out opportunities to have people in his home to share a meal or friendly conversation? Does he strive to make people feel warm and accepted in his home?
A GOOD REPUTATION (I Timothy 3:7)
Noble, praiseworthy, beautiful, morally good testimony. Does he have a good report from people outside the church? What do unbelievers think of him?
A LOVER OF GOOD (Titus 1:8)
Loving whatever is good; pleasant, agreeable, upright, honorable. Does he love to associate with men who have a good, clean reputation? Does he have a consuming desire for the right lifestyle and actions? Is he constantly cultivating a taste for good music, good reading material, good manners, good speech habits? Does he strive to practice doing good deeds for all men, especially other believers?
NOT A NOVICE (I Timothy 3:6)
Mature and knowledgeable in spiritual truth. Does he manifest an increasing knowledge of God's Word and an obedient lifestyle which demonstrates maturity in Christ?
JUST (Titus 1:8)
Wise and discerning in judgment. Does he demonstrate sound judgment in managing his family’s finances? Does he make wise judgments in the teaching, training, and disciplining of his children? Is he cautious or careless in his approach to decision making?
HOLY (Titus 1:7,8)
Free from habitual sin and wickedness. Is his lifestyle truly devout? Does he use wholesome speech, or dishonest, cursing, intemperate speech? Is he a hard, industrious worker at his job, or does he cheat and steal from his employer by loafing and wasting time? Does he carry grudges, or is he compassionate, kind, and forgiving toward people who treat him unfairly?
DOCTRINALLY SOUND (I Timothy 3:9)
Adhere to God's Word. Does he possess a good grasp of Biblical truth and demonstrate unswerving loyalty to it so he remains doctrinally and emotionally stable?
PROVEN CHARACTER (I Timothy 3:10)
Blameless, above reproach. Does he have a good reputation among fellow believers who know him, as well as unbelievers? Do not rely on the opinion of people who do not know him well because their evaluation may be very superficial and extremely inaccurate. Is he seen as being consistent, honest, dependable, fair, and teachable?
HUSBAND OF ONE WIFE (I Timothy 3:12)
Fully and affectionately devoted to one woman. Is he easily drawn to the opposite sex because of an unsatisfying relationship with his wife? Is he flirty with the opposite sex in order to assure his own ego of his sexual prowess? Has he ever been divorced? (note: divorce will not automatically prevent a man from serving as an elder)
GOOD HOME MANAGER (I Timothy 3:12)
Balanced concern and management of the total needs of the family. Is he a gentle leader or an autocratic leader? Does he meet the social, emotional, financial, physical and spiritual needs of the family? Does he make decisions by himself without consultation of the family, or in concert with the family?
TEMPERATE (I Timothy 3:3)
Calm, dispassionate, circumspect, wakeful, vigilant, opposed to all kinds of excess. Does he become overly involved in business, social, or entertainment concerns which distort and weaken his vision and heart in spiritual matters? Does he lose his spiritual orientation when circumstances or situations change drastically? Does he get moderate amounts of rest, food and relaxation or does he go to extremes in other directions.
WISE (Acts 6:3)
Sober-minded, serious, earnest, sensible, prudent, careful and cautious. Is he sensible, wise
and balanced· in judgment? Is he given to quick and superficial decisions based on immature thinking? Does he remain calm in spirit when the world crowds him with fears and worries?
GENTLE (1 Timothy 3:3)
Mild, kind in demeanor, not pugnacious, peaceable, fair. Is he fair, equitable, and moderate in dealing with other people, or is he legalistic and harsh in dealing with them? Does he manifest gentleness with others? Is he characterized by a sweet reasonableness? Can others disagree with him on issues and Biblical doctrines without feeling threatened or cut off?
NOT VIOLENT (I Timothy 3:3)
Slow to anger, not quick-tempered; not a bruiser; not one who is ready with a blow. Is he belligerent, contentious, and quarrelsome? Does he deal with people with a chip on his shoulder? Is an agreeable person in his relationships with non-Christians, Christian groups, and in the family?
ABLE TO TEACH (I Timothy 3:2)
Competent in Godly character to explain Scriptural truth to another individual. Is he able to help believers and unbelievers with problems by using the Bible in counseling, informal teaching, or formal teaching? Do other believers verify they learn valuable truths from him whenever he speaks about the Bible?