Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Pastor/elders should be selected from within the body - 9Marks Trends

As you might have noticed in a quote that I shared in Giftedness is paramount, giftedness is not something that can be seen in a resume or detected from listing to a sermon: it is something that is observed over time. This is why I have been convinced for quite some time that the characteristics of a pastor/elder listed in 1 Tim 3:1-7 and Tit 1:5-9 can only be observed if the church is allowed to share in the life of the believer in question for an extended period of time. Thus a pastor/elder can only be recognized if he has been a member of the community for quite some time (this has all sorts of implications on vocational ministry which I will not tackle at this time). As one example, consider the gift of hospitality: how can a community of believers observe this gifting in a person unless that person lives in the community?

I found that a number of the authors agreed with this way of thinking. Consider these quotes:

“The biblical characteristics for elders are all characteristics of godliness and giftedness that must be proven over time.” - John MacArthur

“If I learned anything ‘the hard way’ over the years, it is that the best way to identify potential elders is in the normal flow of church life. They are evident by their response to what’s being taught; by their willingness to serve; by the abundance of spiritual fruit in their lives; and by many ways their giftedness is manifested in the church before they are singled out for leadership.” - John MacArthur

“These [the elder candidates] completed a rigorous questionnaire as well as interviews before presentation to the congregation. However, I learned through the process that questionnaires effectively test knowledge of basic doctrine but lack the precision to test motives and ambitions. These inner qualities are learned only in the crucible of church life. … Demonstrate that more than doctrinal knowledge and high visibility is needed.” – Phil Newton

“Choose those who are already ‘among’ the flock, and the flock ‘among’ them (1 Pet. 5:2). … ask, ‘does this man love the flock and is he beloved by them? … Avoid appointing those who would commit to loving the flock if they were asked to be elders. Better by far to have men who love the sheep than men who love being shepherds (the former will become the latter, but not vice-versa).” – Sinclair B. Ferguson

1 comment:

Aussie John said...


I was blessed to read your post. I have been trying to get this message across for many years, but no one wants to hear. I pray that you will be heard and taken notice of.

Aussie John

Join my blog network
on Facebook