bits from bob....

How Else Would We Decide?--2

by Robert J. Young
©, 2002, Robert J. Young
[permission is given to reprint with credit noted]

[Note: This series of articles addresses three areas of leadership selection the church: who decides, how the decision is made, and what scriptural precedents we may use to guide us. The first article, published in the Dec. 10, 1992 bulletin, considered who should decide and what methods might be used. It is summarized here for your convenience.
Summary, Part I: The first article asked, "Who?" Several approaches to selecting leaders in the Lord's church were surveyed--the decision could be made by the present elders, by a group selected by the elders, by a group selected by the church, or by the church itself. We concluded that the best answer to the "Who?" question is a combination--the current leadership should be involved, a special task force could assist in bringing God's wisdom and guidance to the process, but finally the congregation must evaluate and confirm its leaders.']

Scriptural precedents show that the church was involved in the selection processes described in the New Testament. Precedents and specific instructions provide principles to guide us. Church leaders must not be appointed in haste (1 Tim. 5:22). Congregations must be serious in their quest for qualified, spiritual leaders. The selection of the right men will solve most leadership problems, and many church problems.

Acts 1:15-26. When a successor to Judas is chosen, the group--Peter stood up with the 120--found two men with biblical qualifications and put their names forward for God's decision. Men thought and prayed, but God decided. Humility is the final answer in how one selects leaders. What is God's will? God selected Matthias, but the entire group was involved in the process. There is wisdom in numbers.

Acts 6. Here we read of a problem involving the entire church. Apostles are still alive. If apostles could rule by edict, this occasion would qualify. Some undoubtedly said, "Let the apostles handle it," but the apostles did not give an order to the group. Here is an important principle: only members can solve problems involving members. The apostles reminded of qualifications, the members selected the seven, the apostles ordained them. The authority of the apostles was never questioned. Also, there is no biblically-mandated plan here.

Acts 15:22. Another time, another problem. The whole church chose its representatives. Churches selected their own treasurers to help with the relief effort for the saints in and around Jerusalem (2 Cor. 8:19). The Bible insists on prayer and fasting (Acts 1,6,13-15). Selection implies elimination. Biblical selection is never based on popularity. Church leadership is not self-perpetuating. Biblical leadership is diverse. Self-perpetuation groups will fail.

Scripture is backed up with common sense. The church must set its own goals and select its own leaders. Members who are not smart enough to be involved in decisions are smart enough to know their involvement is not wanted, so the modern church struggles with uninvolved members. What a tragedy!

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Last updated January 7, 2002.