What’s Overlooked in Selecting Overseers?

What’s Overlooked in Selecting Overseers?

Just a few days before our shepherd selection began here, I asked 8 men with a collective 320 years of preaching and teaching experience the following question: “What is the most overlooked thing in an elder selection process in a congregation?” It was amazing, that to a man, they said this was a question they had rarely or never been asked! It also was interesting how rapidly each responded as well as the depth of wisdom and insight in their responses. Perhaps their answers to the question will bless churches who go through this for years to come.

The first brother who responded gave a two-part answer, with the statement that the order could go either way. He mentioned (1) congregational involvement and participation; and, (2) good communication needed throughout the process. He remarked how easy it is to intend to have each, but to not do enough of either.

A second responded with “Titus 1:9-11 ability.” Those who would shepherd need this. This is a knowledge of the word that is real, so much so that it can convict or stop the mouths of those who are in doctrinal error.

A third noted they must be truly “spiritually minded” men and “sound in doctrine and life.” Another responded by asking, “Does he know the concepts of the gospel well enough to explain them clearly to others?” “What kind of husband and father has he been?”

Yet another responded with the following: “Does the man really consider his position in relationship to His Lord?” “How does he value / lead his wife and children?” “Does he really love the church, or does he love power, prestige and control?” “Is he humble and a man of prayer?”

Another person said, “The fact that those under consideration must be honest / forthright in areas of doctrinal conviction and personal character.” Sometimes churches find out after men are installed that individuals were not as transparent as the process and our Lord would desire. Another added along this line, “There are times when a character issue, like being quarrelsome or quick-tempered” can become quite troublesome to the church because it wasn’t known beforehand.

Another brother concluded, “Training is among the most overlooked things in the process. I know of only two churches that had a training program.”

-Mike Vestal


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