“For this reason I left you in Crete, that you would set in order what remains and appoint elders in every city as I directed you…” (Titus 1:5)
The role of Titus, as a preacher, was in teaching brethren God’s expectations of qualified elders in selection. He seemingly also had some role in the organization/execution of the process. In December of 2018 we had both a men’s meeting and congregational meeting where we decided we would move forward with the process of selecting elders for this local work. (Acts 6:5—”found approval with the whole congregation) The following is the process we have agreed to follow according to scriptures as a church. (II Timothy 3:16; Colossians 3:17)
This process has been proposed and administered with 1st Corinthians 14:33 (“for God is not a God of confusion but of peace, as in all the churches of the saints.”) and 1st Corinthians 14:40 (“But let all things be done properly and in an orderly manner.”) in mind. In this manner, we also seek to honor and glorify God.
January - Sermons on the qualifications and selection of elders (I Timothy 3:15)
- First two weeks - Brethren to submit names via anonymous paper submission (Acts 6:3 - “select from among you…”)
- February 1st - 13th (Two Sundays and Two Wednesdays)
- February 14th - 21st - Last two weeks - Review with men submitted their willingness to serve (I Timothy 3:1 - “...if any man aspires to the office of overseer…”)
- Three weeks of church examination (I Timothy 3:10 - “these must also first be tested”)
- March 1st - 22nd
- March 23rd - Announce qualified, selected, examined men who are willing to
- One week of prayer and fasting (Acts 14:23 - “When they had appointed elders
for them in every church, having prayed with fasting, they commended them
to the Lord…”)
- March 23rd - 30th
- March 31st, 2019 - New Shepherds begin their work in this role. (Acts 14:23)
The above is the agreed upon process. Though it is an agreed upon schedule, it is subject to change according to circumstances. We should at least go through February 13th with the process to provide time for the instruction and submission of names to see where we are as a congregation. If no names are submitted then the process would end. If names are submitted but none are willing to serve/be examined then the process would end. If names are submitted and there are those willing to serve but do not pass examination then the process would end.
Even, if in the end, we end up with no elders, we will at least learn about ourselves through the process, learn what we need to work on or can be doing to work toward that goal of ideal scriptural leadership. I know we may all already have our own preconceived ideas of what the scriptures teach on church leadership and already have an idea of who is/is not qualified and why. But part of the process is beginning with humility in prayer and bible study to be clear about what God teaches on this subject. If done right, we should all learn and grow from the process and the church should grow stronger. That is up to each individual to act in good faith, with all humility, kindness, truth, and love.