New Elder Part II
To answer some of these questions I'll quote some of the advice given by Mark Dever (9marks.com) at this link. Some answers are simply personal opinion, but for all of the advice looks solid and Mark's wisdom clearly shows through.
What's wrong with the Nominating Committee?
-The most serious practical deficiency of most nominating committees is that the primary criteria for placement on the nominating committee is demographic data, not spiritual maturity or biblical knowledge.?
---It is often objected that demographic representation and spiritual maturity need not be mutually exclusive attributes of a nominating committee.? This is a formally true proposition.?
---But the reality of most nominating committees is that few of the people around the table understand the qualifications for eldership, know the questions to ask in order to discern their presence or absence, or have the courage to nominate someone who meets the biblical requirements but may not be outwardly successful in other popular but peripheral areas.
-The most serious biblical deficiency of the nominating committee concept is that nominating future leaders is a function of spiritual oversight - a responsibility that belongs to the current elders themselves.? Sheep don't choose their shepherds.
---The result of error here is often that a successful businessman is nominated and appointed as an elder or deacon, yet with serious sin beneath the surface that biblically disqualifies him from serving.
We believe elders are in the best position to nominate future elders because of their spiritual maturity, biblical knowledge, and shepherd's knowledge of the lives of the candidates.
First, recognize those in the congregation who are already bearing fruit in performing elder functions among the congregation. Who meets the character qualifications of 1Tim 3 and Titus 1?? Who shows a shepherding care for the spiritual growth of others?? Who shows aptitude and delight in teaching sound doctrine??
Secondly, invite the candidate to participate in an elders' meeting.? Observe how they contribute.? What questions do they ask?? Are their answers wise and mature, or shallow and immature?? Can they disagree without becoming combative?? Are their contributions helpful and stimulating, or do they stifle the discussion?
Thirdly, examine the candidate.? Is his character above reproach?? Will his work schedule accommodate the demands of eldership?
Fourthly, achieve unanimity among the elders regarding whether or not to nominate the candidate. Unanimity here is important because each elder needs to be able to work well with the candidate and respect his character if unity among the elders is to be maintained after the addition of the new member to the group.
Fifthly, recommend the candidate to the congregation as a nominee for eldership.? Let this nomination rest with the congregation for a period of time (e.g., two months), during which time members intending to vote "no" can share their concerns with the elders and the elders can, if necessary, withdraw the nomination based on new information.?
Sixthly, if no concerns are raised, achieve a 75% majority affirmation of the call from the congregation at the next business meeting.? This supermajority is necessary because it is important that the congregation have confidence in the new elder, and that the elder be assured of that confidence by the congregational vote.? Otherwise mutual mistrust ensues.
Finally, it is wise to allow elders to serve a three year term, to be reaffirmed by the congregation for another three years, then to give them a one year break, after which the other current elders could re-nominate them if they are still qualified.? This system provides healthy accountability for elders that a lifetime eldership system seems to lack.
Staff and Non-Staff.? It is wise to keep the congregation minimally dependant on paid staff.? Therefore, non-staff elders should outnumber staff elders.? Ideally then, the minimum number of elders in any local church would be three - one paid pastor and two lay elders.?
It is also wise to keep the elder body small enough so that an executive, decision-making committee within the elder group is not necessary.? Avoiding executive committees within elder groups simplifies the authority structure of the church and prevents unnecessary divisions.
In Christ alone,