Tag Archives: qualifications

Evaluating the Potential Church Elder or Pastor

Seeking to Evaluate and Select Qualified Men to Serve as Elder or Pastor

(Men called to office must exhibit the character qualities of a spiritual leader.

See 1 Timothy 3:1-7; Titus 1:6-9; Acts 6:1-6)

Here is a simple form that can be used to evaluate a potential candidate for church elder or pastor. This can also be used as a self-evaluation for an elder or a pastor, or for the church leadership to use in order to evaluate an active elder or pastor.

(Score:  0 – shows an absence of this characteristic; 1- means there is weakness, 5 – means the man is strong in this area and it is evident)

This means that these men:

__            Maintain a regular, daily practice of time alone with God in Bible reading and prayer

__            Have lives marked by moral and spiritual integrity.

__            Have a wholesome reputation among believers and unbelievers alike.

__            Have a firm grasp and conviction of the truths of the Christian faith as revealed in the Scriptures.

__            Must have the spiritual capacity to discern, expose and withstand the assaults of heresy and unbelief (elders).

__            Must have homes that reflect an atmosphere of harmony, godliness, and hospitality.

Specific Questions for Evaluation:

A.            Personal Life

__             Does he meet the moral and spiritual qualifications of 1 Timothy 3 and Titus 1? (Substantially, not

perfectly)

__            Does he practice daily, regular Bible reading and praying?

__            Does he fear and love God?

__            Is he serious about obeying God and obeying God’s Word?

__            Is he killing sin and growing in grace?

__            Is he teachable, eager for learning more spiritual truth?

__            Does he hunger for righteousness?

B. Family Life

__             Does his home reflect an atmosphere of harmony, godliness, and hospitality?

__            Does he have a good relationship with his wife that evidences conformity to the standards of Ephesians 5:25-28? Is he practicing self-denying love that serves, nourishes and cherishes his wife?

__            Does he rule his children with a graceful, loving, but firm hand?

__            Does he consistently practice biblical discipline and love toward his children (ie: verbal instruction and corporal correction)?

__            Is his marriage and family life a model you can commend to others?

__            Does his wife respect him?

__            Do his children respect him?

__            Does he provide spiritual leadership to his family?

__            Does his wife and children follow his spiritual leadership?

__            Does his home evidence a commitment to spiritual priorities?

__            Does his wife have godly priorities?

__            Is his wife committed to ministry with him?

__            Is his wife supportive of him serving as an elder or deacon?

C.  Church Life

__             Is he enthusiastic about the vision of building a biblically healthy church?

__             Is he committed to the local church of God’s people, and faithful in attendance when God’s people meet?

__            Is he friendly, open, cordial, approachable, gracious to others?

__            Does he show a genuine concern for others?

__            Does he give himself in time and talents to the Lord’s work?

__            Is he willing to serve without seeking applause?

__            Is he opinionated and contentious?

__            Does he take correction gracefully and with humility?

__            Is he teachable?

__            Can he disagree in a gentle manner?

__            Can he see another’s viewpoint?

__            Is he a good listener?

__            Does he keep confidences?

__            Does he pray with and for others in need?

__            Is he enthusiastic about the Bible and the Gospel, and can he communicate the truth to others?

__            Can he defend the Bible against attack?

__            Is he slow to judge others and quick to commend and encourage?

__            Is he firm in rejecting gossip and slander?

__            Do he and his wife practice hospitality toward others in the local Body of Christ?

__            Has he demonstrated a capacity for spiritual leadership by serving?

__            Does the church respect him and follow him as a leader?

__            Has he demonstrated a capacity for ruling, oversight, and shepherding?

D.  Life in God’s World

__             Is he honest in money matters?

__            Does he pay his debts promptly?

__            Do his employer, employees, work associates and neighbors respect him?

__            Does he seek to glorify God through his vocation or calling?

__            Does he use his money in a godly way?

__            Does he respond in a godly way to disappointment and worldly reversals?

__            Does he have compassion for the lost and a desire to carry out the Great Commission?

__            Does he pray for the salvation of lost friends, relatives, and acquaintances?

__            Does he build bridges of friendship and service to lost people?

__            Does he have a heart for inviting people to hear about Christ and to be exposed to Christ’s church?

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How a Church Can Identify a Potential Elder (or Deacon)

Often, churches will seek out and choose men to serve as deacons or elders merely because they have a charismatic personality, possess some leadership skills, have impressive talents, or are good at business or politics.  However good those things might be, too frequently the requirements that God presents in Scripture are ignored or overlooked. The consequences, then, for bringing a person who has impressive talents or skills, but not the character traits of godly Christlikeness, the spiritual gifts, or even the right motivation has too often been to detriment of the church.

Here is a checklist that can be used as a guide for identifying whether or not an individual is truly qualified for the position and responsibility as an elder or deacon.

Does the man possess the right equipment?

That is, does he have the right gifts for the office of deacon or elder?

  • The man has been obviously endowed with God-given spiritual gifts  (Mk. 16:15-18; Lk. 21:15; 24:49; Acts 1:8; 1 Tim. 3:1-7; 5:22; Ti. 1:7).
  • The potential elder must be knowledgeable of the Scriptures, faithful to its doctrines and is able to teach, exhort-counsel from the Scriptures (1 Thess. 2:11,12; 1 Timothy; Titus 3).
  • The potential elder must be gifted to lead as a servant of God (1 Cor. 12:28; 1 Thess. 5:12, 13; 1 Tim. 3:5; 5:17).
  • The potential elder or deacon is gifted to serve others (Acts 20:24f; Rom. 15:26-33).
  • He must be able to share his material resources with others (Acts 4; Eph. 4:28).
  • The potential officer is currently demonstrating a heart of mercy (Matt. 25; 1 Cor. 12:28)

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Does the potential officer of God’s Church possess the right motivation?

  • The man has expressed that he has an inward call and desire from God to serve.
  • He is faithful and shows an above-average commitment to the Lord, this church, and his family.
  • He is obviously responsive to the gifting and the call of the Holy Spirit in his life (Acts 20:28).
  • He desires to serve in the capacity of deacon or elder (1 Tim. 3:1).
  • His motives are biblical and Christ-like (1 Peter 5:1ff).
  • Not only does he have the inward call of God, but God’s people in this church recognize his call as a qualified and legitimate (Acts 6; Jer. 23:32; Rom. 10:15; Heb. 5:4).

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Does the man possess the right character?

As Kevin Reed points out, “these qualities (character qualities found in 1st and 2nd Timothy, Titus and 1 Peter) focus upon the three important aspects of a man’s life: his moral behavior, his knowledge of Christian doctrine, and his family life. An elder continually will be in public view. The respect an officer receives often depends more on an example of good character than from anything else about him” (Biblical Church Government, p. 9). All godly men should have these qualities, but the man who is selected for office in Christ’s kingdom must be measured by these qualities to see if he is ready for the office (1 Tim. 5:22; 2 Tim. 2:2; Ti, 2:7,8). Every person in Christ is called to put off the old sinful nature and put on these traits of Christ. Though no man, candidate or officer in Christ’s Church demonstrates any or all of these qualities perfectly, nevertheless it must be obvious that the officer has and demonstrates most of these qualities with consistent regularity.

Does the man measure up to what the Word of God requires for godly character (not perfectly nor completely, but obviously and substantially):

  • The candidate is above reproach (1 Tim. 3:2; Titus 1:6).
  • He has restrained control in his life (1 Tim. 3:2; 1 Thess. 5:6,8).
  • He is a true gentle man (approachable, kind, gracious, firm yet diplomatic) (Gal. 6:1; 2 Tim. 2:23-25; Matt. 11:29; Acts 24:4; 2 Cor. 10:1; 1 Thess. 2:7; James 3:17).
  • He is not pugnacious, not prone to violence  (1 Tim. 3:3; Ti. 1:7; Prov. 3:30; 15:18; 17:14; 20:3; 25:8; 26:17; Phil. 2:3).
  • He is not quarrelsome  (1 Tim. 3:2, 3; 6:3-5; 2 Tim. 2:22-26; Ti. 3:9 Eccl. 10:4; Matt. 5:9; Rom. 12:18; 14:19; Heb. 12:14; Jas. 3:17).
  • He is not greedy (1 Tim. 3:3; Ti. 1:7 cp. 1 Tim. 6:5-10; Acts 20:33; 2 Tim. 3:6-7).
  • He is not given easily to selfish anger (Ti. 1:7; Pro. 16:32).
  • He is not over-indulgent or a drunk (1 Tim. 3:3; Ti. 1:7). The principle is that he has disciplined control over bodily appetites (Gen. 19; Prov. 20:1; 23; Eccles. 10:17; Isa. 5:11; Isa. 28:1; Luke 21:34; Rom. 13:13; Eph. 5:18).
  • He is self-controlled (Ti. 1:8; Eph. 5:4; Acts 24:25; Rom. 6:12; Jas. 3:2; 2 Pet. 1:5-7; Matt. 26:41; 1 Cor. 10:12; 1 Pet. 5:8).
  • He is truly humble (not self-willed)   (Luke 14:10; Phil 2:3; Ti. 1:7; Jas. 4:10; 1 Pet. 5:5; Rom. 12:3, 10, 16).
  • The candidate is holy (religiously, biblically devout, pious) (Ti. 1:8; Lev. 11:45; Luke 1:74,75; 2 Cor. 7:1; Heb. 12:14; 1 Pet. 1:16; 2 Pet. 3:11).
  • His persona and life demonstrate biblical hospitality  (1 Tim. 3:2; 5:10; Ti. 1:9; 1 Pet. 4:9; Rom. 12:13; Heb. 13:2).
  • He is just (upright, righteous, impartial in dealing with people) (Ti. 1:8; Deut. 16:20; Psa. 82:3; Prov. 21:3; Isa. 56:1; Rom. 13:7; Col. 4:1).
  • The man is a lover of good (has a love of virtue, good men and things)  (Ti. 1:8; 1 Thess. 5:21; Heb. 3:6; 4:14; 10:23; Rev. 3:3).
  • He is prudent, wise (skilled at bringing God’s thoughts to bear on all matters of life) (1 Tim. 3:2; Ti. 1:8; Proverbs).
  • He is respectable (well-ordered, well-arranged, decorous in behavior and speech; good manners) (1 Tim. 3:2).

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Am I Called to be a Pastor?

You think you are called to be a pastor or full-time minister of the Gospel of Jesus Christ? Here is a self-check you might wish to use to help you assess whether or not you are qualified or called to ministry.

A. Personal Life

  • I meet the moral and spiritual qualifications of 1 Timothy 3 and Titus 1 (Substantially, not perfectly)
  • I practice daily, regular Bible reading and praying.
  • I fear and love God.
  • I am serious about obeying God and obeying God’s Word.
  • I am killing sin and growing in grace, and it is evident by the fact that I am not the same today as I was a year ago, five years ago, ten years ago.
  • I am teachable, eager for learning more spiritual truth.
  • I am teachable and eager to learn and strengthen my gifts and talents.
  • I hunger for grace, truth and righteousness.

 

B. My Family Life

  • My home reflects an atmosphere of harmony, godliness, and hospitality
  • I have a good relationship with my wife that evidences conformity to the standards of Ephesians 5:25-28? I am practicing self-denying love that serves, nourishes and cherishes my wife.
  • I rule my children with a graceful, loving, consistent, but firm hand.
  • I am consistently practicing biblical discipline and love toward his children (i.e.: verbal instruction and corporal correction).
  • My marriage and family life is a model that can be commended to others.
  • My wife and children respect, honors and submit to my biblical leadership.
  • I provide spiritual leadership to my wife/family.
  • My wife and children are following my spiritual leadership.
  • The home evidences a commitment to spiritual priorities.
  • My wife has godly priorities.
  • She is committed to ministry in the local church also.
  • She is supportive of me serving as a minister-pastor

 

C. Church Life

  • Am I enthusiastic about the vision of building a biblically healthy church?
  • Am I committed to the local church of God’s people, and faithful in attendance when God’s people meet?
  • Am I friendly, open, cordial, approachable, gracious to others?
  • Do I show a genuine concern for others?
  • Do I give myself in time and talents to the Lord’s work?
  • Am I willing to serve without seeking applause?
  • Do I take correction gracefully and with humility?
  • Am I teachable?
  • Can I disagree in a gentle manner?
  • Can I see and understand another’s viewpoint?
  • Am I a good listener?
  • Do I keep confidences?
  • Do I pray with and for others in need?
  • Am I enthusiastic about the Bible and the Gospel, and can I communicate the truth to others?
  • Can I defend the Bible against attack?
  • Am I slow to judge others and quick to commend and encourage?
  • Am I firm in rejecting gossip and slander?
  • Do my wife and I practice hospitality toward others in the local Body of Christ?
  • Have I demonstrated a capacity for spiritual leadership by serving?
  • Does the church respect me and follow me as a leader?
  • Have I demonstrated a capacity for ruling, oversight, and shepherding?

 

D.  Life in God’s World

  • Am I honest in money matters?
  • Do my employer, employees, work associates and neighbors respect me?
  • Do I seek to glorify God through his vocation or calling?
  • Do I use his money in a godly way?
  • Do I respond in a godly way to disappointment and worldly reversals?
  • Do I have compassion for the lost and a desire to carry out Christ’s Great Commission?
  • Do I pray for the salvation of lost friends, relatives, and acquaintances?
  • Do I build bridges of friendship and service to lost people?
  • Do I have a heart for inviting people to hear about Christ and to be exposed to Christ’s church?

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What is Ordination to Ministry?

Just because one believes he is called and gifted, does not necessarily make it so. The gentleman could be self-deluded.  One important concept in the selection process to church office is that of emergence. In other words, qualified and gifted men will emerge or rise to the top and be recognized by God’s people and leaders (Acts 6; 20:28; 1 Tim. 3:1). Scripture tells us that there is both the subjective and the objective call of a man to office.

Once the man has emerged out of the local church, existing elders should  formally recognize him and then ordain him to ministry (1 Tim. 4:14). The man comes legitimately to the office, not on his own accord, but by the appointment to serve (Acts 13:1-3; 14:23; Ti. 1:5).

Ordination is an act that sets a man apart to the office. It is the church’s solemn affirmation of and its public witness to his qualification, gifts, and calling.

Biblical ordination is important to the purity and sound governance of God’s Church because the person so ordained is ordained to a position established by God for His church.

1. The elder in official capacity comes as a shepherd appointed to the office by Christ.

2. He receives the mandate to minister under God with crucial duties

(a)   as a servant (Matt. 20:25; Lk. 22:26)

(b)  with care (1 Tim. 3:5)

(c)  watching over their souls (Heb. 13:17)

(d)  through love (Jn. 21:16).

3.  He will also minister in Christ’s name by

(a)  showing compassion for the distressed (Matt. 9:36; Mk. 6:34; Jas. 5:14),

(b)  as one willing to lay down his life for them (Jn. 10:11ff).

4. He will guard the church (Acts 20:28)

5. He must serve it with diligence (Rom. 12:8; 1 Thess. 5:12; 1 Tim. 5:17; 2 Tim. 2:15)

6. He must do so as a good example (1 Pet. 5:3).

So, this godly office created by Christ (2 Cor. 3:9; 4:6) must be perpetuated with sound, godly, and faithful men who are gifted, called, and qualified (1 Tim. 1:11; 3:1-7; 4:14). It must be perpetuated through the laying on of hands by ordained elders of the church (Acts 6:6; 13:3; 14:23; 19:6; 1 Tim. 1:5; 2 Tim. 1:6)

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A Self-Exam in Christ-like Character

Here is a self-check to help you evaluate how you are growing and changing into Christ-like character.  These qualities are important for all believers to have, but are also necessary for the elders of a local church to possess.

As you advance through this list of character traits, use the first blank line to rate yourself on a scale of 1-10:  1 meaning this character trait is lacking, almost difficult to notice in your life; while 10 would mean that you are very, very strong and are a good example of this quality. Then enlist your spouse or family member rate you on the second line. You could enlist a neighbor, workmate or friend rate you using the third line.

1.   I am above reproach (1 Tim. 3:2; Tit. 1:6)

To be above reproach means that I am blameless.  There is nothing about my life that is open to rebuke.  To be above reproach has to do with the general character or sum total of godly virtues. It means I am not open to censure because I have an impeachable integrity that is in accord with Biblical requirement for leadership.  This does not mean I am perfect in all qualities, but that I substantially reflect godly virtues.

Score:    __________            __________               __________

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2.  I am temperate (1 Tim. 3:2; 1 Thess. 5:6,8)

Temperate means to be sober; that I am clearheaded and self-controlled. There is a restrained control and sobriety of life. I am free from excesses and not inebriated with the details of life.

I am self-controlled because the work of the Holy Spirit (Gal. 5; Phil. 2:13) It’s not that I am required to be a strictly disciplined person, but rather I am to be someone who is disciplined yet properly flexible in the use and application of all things for the glory of God.

Score:       __________              __________              __________

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a.  I am temperate in that I am not given to much wine (1 Tim. 3:3; Tit. 1:7)

I do not linger over wine and am not over-indulgent or a drunk.  I control the wine or drink; it does not control me.   The principle has to do with having control over my bodily appetites (Gen. 19; Prov. 20:1; 23; Eccles. 10:17; Isa. 5:11; 28:1; Luke 21:34; Rom. 13:13; Eph. 5:18).

Score:       __________              __________              __________

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b. I am temperate in that I am not greedy (1 Tim. 3:3; Tit. 1:7)

My life is not characterized by covetousness (Exod. 20:17; Deut. 5:21).  I am not a lover of money.  The acquisition of money or things is not a central priority in my life. Heavenly priorities dominate (Matt. 6:33).  I do not seek meaning or comfort in things.

I have a firm conviction about resisting dishonest and shady methods for acquiring money or things (1 Tim. 3:8).  I recognize that one of the deadly sins of a godly leader is greed (Acts 20:33; 1 Tim. 6:5-10; 2 Tim. 3:6-7).

Score:      __________       __________       __________

 

c.  Temperate, I am not given to selfish anger (Tit. 1:7)

I do not have a trigger temper or an irritable disposition. I am not too easily offended, which would make me unapproachable and unpredictable in temper (Prov. 16:32).

Score:       __________              __________              __________

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d. My overall character is marked by self-control (Tit. 1:8)

In Christ I have a mastery over self.  My passions and appetites are controlled.  I am not lazy, gluttonous or given to filthy talk (Eph. 5:4).  I have an ordered life, which reflects heavenly pursuits and priorities (Matt. 26:41; Acts 24:25; Rom. 6:12; 1 Cor. 10:12; 1 Pet. 5:8; 2 Pet. 1:5-7; Jas. 3:2).

Score:       __________              __________              __________

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3I am gentle (2 Sam. 22:36; Ps. 18:35; 1 Tim. 3:2, 3 )

The idea of gentleness, a very important quality in a godly leader, is that of being gracious, kind, mild, patient, and reasonable.  A gentle person is caring, considerate and has an ability  to sympathize.  The gentle one shows carefulness in choosing words and expressions so as  not to unnecessarily offend (Gal. 6:1).

I reflect care, affection and good-will toward others (Eph. 4:2).  I am not abrupt or critical in my communications.  Gentleness is a quality the godly leader is to pursue (1 Tim. 6:11). In short, I exercise gentleness in the fruit of God’s Spirit (Gal. 5:23; Phil. 4:5).  Here are some characteristic ways I am biblically gentle:

a.   As a true gentle person I am

(1) Approachable

(2) Firm, but diplomatic even when correcting opponents (Gal. 6:1; 2 Tim. 2:23-25)

(3) Kind and gracious like Jesus Christ (Matt. 11:29; Acts 24:4; 2 Cor. 10:1; 1 Thess. 2:7)

(4) Wise, who exercises wisdom in gentleness (Jas. 3:17)

Score:     __________         __________         __________

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b.  As a gentle person I am not pugnacious (1 Tim. 3:3; Tit. 1:7)

Pugnacious is someone who physically hits or strikes another.  Overall, I am not prone to violence or  physically abusive.  However, pugnacious has the idea of being contentious. Therefore, I am not one who is harsh with words. I don’t lash out when hurt or incite arguments, or alienate people through an attacking manner.  I don’t follow through with an angry temper (Prov. 3:30; 15:18; 17:14; 20:3; 25:8; 26:17; Phil. 2:3).

Score:            __________                        __________                        __________

c. I am gentle and therefore not quarrelsome (1 Tim. 3:2, 3; 2 Tim. 2:14)

I am averse to verbal fighting, quarreling, or arguing.  However, I know what, when, and how to properly debate.  I do not delight in out doing others or defeating their ideas and beliefs.  There is no harsh dogmatism about my life. I do not have an offensive approach toward people (1 Tim. 6:3-5; 2 Tim. 2:22-26; Tit. 3:9).  On the positive side, I have a sense of peace, tranquility, and calmness.  I am a peacemaker who tries to bring calm to a stormy situation (Eccles. 10:4; Matt. 5:9; Rom. 12:18; 14:19; Heb. 12:14; Jas. 3:17).

Score:            __________                        __________                        __________

 

4.  God has graced me with an ever-increasing humility (Luke 14:10; Phil 2:3; Tit. 1:7; Jas. 4:10; 1 Pet. 5:5)

I know where I stand before the face of an almighty, just and holy God.  Humility means that I am not a self-willed, self-pleasing egoist.  I am not obstinate, domineering, and arrogant.  That means that I do not stand hard on every minor thing I believe, and do not insist on having my own way, ideas, or beliefs.  I have a genuine interest in others and in what they say.

Being self-willed is also characteristic of one who delights too much in appearance, performance, or status to the obvious neglect of others.  Humility is being teachable. It is thinking rightly and truthfully about oneself (Rom. 12:3, 10, 16).

Score:       __________              __________              __________

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5.  I am holy (Tit. 1:8 )

This word means to be biblically devout, pious and worshipful.  I daily offer myself as a pure and acceptable living sacrifice to God.  I consistently live out the Gospel life-style in the private and public affairs of life.  I am living out the Spirit-filled life of Christ before the face of an all-seeing God (Lev. 11:45; Luke 1:74,75; 2 Cor. 7:1; Heb. 12:14; 1 Pet. 1:16; 2 Pet. 3:11).

Score:       __________              __________               __________

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6.   I am hospitable (1 Tim. 3:2; 5:10; Tit. 1:9; 1 Pet. 4:9)

To be hospitable in the biblical sense means that one is a lover of strangers.  The truly hospitable person is Jesus.  He gave us a parable of real hospitality in the Good Samaritan.  The love of Christ in me exhibits itself by loving my neighbor as myself.  I am kind and actively compassionate to others, even strangers.  This love of heart is expressed with an open door, demonstrating a kind, compassionate, welcoming Savior. The biblical leader is a pacesetter in hospitality (Rom. 12:13; Heb.13:2).

Score:       __________              __________              __________

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7.  I am just (Tit. 1:8 )

To be just is to be fair, upright and righteous.  I am impartial when I deal with people. I work hard to forget personal preferences and to seek the truth in situations especially that involve      interpersonal conflicts. I am a fair umpire over relational differences, because I have the ability to  hear both  sides and weigh the evidence honestly.  I speak what is right and true (Deut.16:20; Ps. 82:3;  Prov. 21:3; Isa. 56:1; Rom. 13:7; Col. 4:1).

Score:      __________         __________         __________

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8.  I am a lover of good (Tit. 1:8 )

To be a lover of good is to have an active compassion toward others and to promote goodness.  It is to have a love of virtue, good people and good things.  My affections are attached to the Lord, to good things and to godly people rather than being drawn toward worldly pleasures and gratifications. My concern is toward godliness, Spirit-empowered obedience to God’s Word, and an anticipation of the world to come.  I love God’s good life more than such things as position, fame, abilities, possessions, etc., which are soon to pass away (1 Thess. 5:21; Heb. 3:6; 4:14; 10:23; Rev. 3:3).

Score:       __________              __________              __________

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9.  I am respectable (1 Tim. 3:2)

To be respectable is to be well-ordered, well-arranged, and decorous in dress, behavior and speech.  The term may refer to manners, etiquette, and personal habits.  It carries the idea of having a simplicity of life-style rather than being eccentric or extravagant.  It can also have a general reference to a disciplined, honorable and well- ordered life.  I am modest in my dress, inoffensive in my hygiene and eating habits.  I have socially acceptable manners.  I treat others with respect, and have a good sociability with various people. My lifestyle is  unpretentious, modest, and easygoing.

Score:       __________              __________              __________

_____________________

Resources

Armstrong, John H. edit. Reforming Pastoral Ministry. Wheaton, IL: Crossway Books, 2001.

Bridges, Jerry. The Practice of Godliness. Colorado Springs, CO: Navpress, 1983.

____________ The Pursuit of Holiness.    Colorado Springs, CO: Navpress, 1978.

Fisher, David. The 21st Century Pastor. Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Publishing House, 1996.

Fisher, David. The 21st Century Pastor. Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Publishing House, 1996.

Hughes, R. Kent. Disciplines of a Godly Man. Wheaton, IL: Crossway Books, 1991.

Lutzer, Erwin. Pastor to Pastor. Grand Rapids, MI: Kregel Publications, 1998.

Packer, J.I.  Rediscovering Holiness. Servant Press, nd.

Prime, Derek, and Alistair Begg. On Being a Pastor. Chicago: Moody Publishers, 2004.

(c) Dr. D. Thomas Owsley – All Rights Reserved

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How to Identify a Potential Elder

Does the man possess the right equipment?

That is, does he have the right gifts for the office of elder?

  • The man has been obviously endowed with God-given spiritual gifts. (Mk. 16:15-18; Lk. 21:15; 24:49; Acts 1:8; 1 Tim. 3:1-7; 5:22; Ti. 1:7).
  • The potential elder must be knowledgeable of the Scriptures, faithful to its  doctrines and is able to teach, exhort-counsel from the Scriptures (1 Thess. 2:11,12; 1 Tim.1; Titus 3).
  • The potential elder must be gifted to lead (1 Cor. 12:28; 1 Thess. 5:12, 13; 1 Tim.  3:5; 5:17).
  • The potential elder  is gifted and willing to serve (Acts 20:24f; Rom. 15:26-33).
  • He must be able to share his material resources with others (Acts 4; Eph.  4:28).
  • The potential officer is currently demonstrating a heart of mercy (Matt. 25;  1 Cor.  12:28)

Does the potential officer of God’s Church possess the right motivation?

  • The man has expressed that he has an inward call and desire from God to serve.
  • He is faithful and shows an above-average commitment to the Lord, this church, and his family.
  • He is obviously responsive to the gifting and the call of the Holy Spirit in his life (Acts 20:28).
  • He desires the office (1 Tim. 3:1).
  • His motives are biblical and Christ-like (1 Peter 5:1ff).
  • Not only does he have the inward call of God, but God’s people in this church recognize his call as a qualified and legitimate (Examples: Acts 6; Jer. 23:32; Rom. 10:15; Heb. 5:4).

Does the man possess the right character?

Though no man, candidate or officer in Christ’s Church demonstrates any or all of the required character qualities perfectly, nevertheless it must be obvious that the officer has and demonstrates most of these qualities with consistent regularity. Though he does not measure up perfectly or completely, he measures up obviously and substantially.

  • The candidate is above reproach (1 Tim. 3:2; Titus 1:6).
  • He has restrained control in his life (1 Tim. 3:2; 1 Thess. 5:6,8).
  • He is a true gentle man (approachable, kind, gracious, firm yet diplomatic) (Gal. 6:1; 2 Tim. 2:23-25; Matt. 11:29; Acts 24:4; 2 Cor. 10:1; 1 Thess. 2:7; James 3:17).
  • He is not pugnacious, not prone to violence (1 Tim. 3:3; Ti. 1:7; Prov. 3:30; 15:18; 17:14; 20:3; 25:8; 26:17; Phil. 2:3).
  • He is not quarrelsome  (1 Tim. 3:2, 3; 6:3-5; 2 Tim. 2:22-26; Ti. 3:9 Eccl. 10:4; Matt. 5:9; Rom. 12:18; 14:19; Heb. 12:14; Jas. 3:17).
  • He is not greedy (1 Tim. 3:3; Ti. 1:7 cp. 1 Tim. 6:5-10; Acts 20:33; 2 Tim. 3:6-7).
  • He is not given easily to selfish anger (Ti. 1:7; Pro. 16:32).
  • He is not over-indulgent or a drunk (1 Tim. 3:3; Ti. 1:7).The principle is that he has disciplined control over bodily appetites (Gen. 19; Prov. 20:1; 23; Eccles. 10:17; Isa. 5:11; Isa. 28:1; Luke 21:34; Rom. 13:13; Eph. 5:18).
  • He is self-controlled (Ti. 1:8; Eph. 5:4; Acts 24:25; Rom. 6:12; Jas. 3:2; 2 Pet. 1:5-7; Matt. 26:41; 1 Cor. 10:12; 1 Pet. 5:8).
  • He is truly humble (not self-willed) (Luke 14:10; Phil 2:3; Ti. 1:7; Jas. 4:10; 1 Pet. 5:5; Rom. 12:3, 10, 16).
  • The candidate is holy (religiously, biblically devout, pious) (Ti. 1:8; Lev. 11:45; Luke 1:74,75; 2 Cor. 7:1; Heb. 12:14; 1 Pet. 1:16; 2 Pet. 3:11).
  • His persona and life demonstrate biblical hospitality  (1 Tim. 3:2; 5:10; Ti. 1:9; 1 Pet. 4:9; Rom. 12:13; Heb. 13:2).
  • He is just (upright, righteous, impartial in dealing with people) (Ti. 1:8; Deut. 16:20; Psa. 82:3; Prov. 21:3; Isa. 56:1; Rom. 13:7; Col. 4:1).
  • The man is a lover of good (has a love of virtue, good men and things)  (Ti. 1:8; 1 Thess. 5:21; Heb. 3:6; 4:14; 10:23; Rev. 3:3).
  • He is prudent, wise (skilled at bringing God’s thoughts to bear on all matters of life) (1 Tim. 3:2; Ti. 1:8; Proverbs).
  • He is respectable (well-ordered, well-arranged, decorous in behavior and speech; good manners) (1 Tim 3:2).

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