Admittedly, Acts 6:3 is not discussing the appointment of elders. Usually, the men chosen to wait tables at Jerusalem are dubbed “deacons”, although Luke does not so designate them. The principles of selecting leaders laid down here are nonetheless applicable in the church’s quest for new elders to shepherd God’s flock.
One principle is congregational recognition. A man chosen to lead must be perceived by his peers as a leader. It is foolish to thrust a man into leadership of a voluntary organization like the church if he is unknown to the group, or distrusted by them
Whom do you see as a potential Elder of this congregation? Obviously, not all of us would compile the precise, same list of possible additional Overseers. There should be, however, some consensus on whom we are willing to follow.
A second guideline is a spiritual quality of life that equips one for spiritual guidance of God’s family. Some men are good leaders, but not for the church! Others make great spiritual contributions in guiding the church, who could never manage big business. The real determinate for a Shepherd of God’s flock is not business acumen, but a genuine relationship with God and a meaningful fellowship with God’s people.
The apostle Paul understood the importance of having quality men to direct the church. That is why he gave detailed instructions in 1 Timothy 3:1-7 and Titus 1:5-9. We would do well to ponder deeply these scriptures as we propose men to be our Pastors.
A third principle in appointing leaders is the approval of those already in leadership. In Acts 6, the apostles approved the congregation’s choice. In Titus 1, the evangelist apparently was to direct the selection of Bishops for a church which had none. In an established congregation, with men already serving as elders, the current elders should have some say as to the acceptability of proposed appointees.
As we select more elders for our church, these guidelines are being followed. We trust that congregational recognition and elder approval of spiritually qualified men will provide us with additional overseers to guide this fellowship.
~~ Guest Editorial by DAN ANDERS