Can You Trust the Church to Select Qualified Leaders?

I received this contact from an elder on Facebook Messenger: “Hello! Can you suggest an article on the process of appointing an additional elder at a church with elders? I know you’ve discussed this before and had some good words on the subject. Thanks!”

My reply:

Click to read: Who Selects Leaders in the Church?

Click to read: Who Selects Leaders in the Church? #2

Click to read: Elder Selection Process


[bctt tweet=”If any group of leaders was qualified to select leaders, it should’ve been the apostles. Jesus selected them. Jesus taught them. Jesus trained them.” username=”@JerrieWBarber”]

When the Jerusalem church needed people to oversee the care of their widows, the apostles said, “You select…we’ll appoint.”

But the apostles had the baptism of the Holy Spirit.

The apostles said, “You select…we’ll appoint.”

Elders have told me, “But members don’t know the men as we do.”

It may be true you know some things about the men being considered some of the members don’t know. But all the members know many things about the men the elders don’t know.

  • When I suggested to one eldership they consider asking members to have input into the process, they replied, “You turn that group loose choosing elders and no telling who they’re liable to come up with.” This was said by a charter eldership who was chosen by members because there’d never been any elders in the congregation to choose elders. Elders are still members of the congregation during the selection process. If any individual elder believes a nominated man doesn’t meet the qualifications, he can talk to that man. If the issue isn’t resolved, he can ask one or two on the selection committee to assist in the discussion.
  • Another eldership who’d been chosen by members were ready to add to their eldership. They asked, “Who can we choose to join us in this work?”

I asked, “The members selected you. Do you think they did a good job?”

They reluctantly said, “Yes. I guess they did.”

I said, “I think they did. You are some of the best men I’ve ever seen serve as elders. I don’t think the membership is three years dumber as a result of your leadership. The Bible still says the group selects, the leaders appoint.” They turned the selection over to the membership. Another elder was appointed who served well.

[bctt tweet=”It comes to a matter of trust. Do we believe the principle we read in God’s word? Will we trust Christians to be faithful and truthful in the selection of leaders?” username=”@JerrieWBarber”]

If not, what does that say about the shepherding, teaching, and overseeing of the present elders?

What does that say about evangelism? If members can’t be trusted to read the qualities and responsibilities of elders and deacons and select men meeting those scriptural criteria, can we trust them to teach the gospel and make disciples?

October 25th I received a follow-up message from this same elder in Facebook Messenger:

Thanks again for the good advice. We took what we thought was a risk and opened up nominations to the entire church. They overwhelmingly nominated the one man we felt was qualified, and somebody nominated one man who’s not quite there yet, but we had a good talk with him, and he’s working on some issues for the future. The good news is: We plan on appointing a new elder this coming Lord’s Day!

What observations do you have about selecting leaders in the church?

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Jerrie Barber
Servant of Jesus, husband to Gail, father to Jerrie Wayne Barber, II and Christi Parsons, grandfather, great-grandfather, Interim Preacher, Shepherd coach, Ventriloquist, barefoot runner, ride a cruiser bicycle

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