1. Initiation of the Appointment Process
As the needs arise, the elders of Christ Fellowship will initiate the process of identifying and examining a potential elder. A man will be considered for appointment if:
- he appears to be biblically qualified
- he appears to be doctrinally and philosophically compatible with the elder team
- it appears to be God’s will to initiate the examination process
2. Input from the Church
The elders will initiate a written request to the members of Christ Fellowship who know the man well, asking them to consider his qualifications. This will normally include the members of his home congregation along with others in the church who are familiar enough with him to provide pertinent input. This letter will describe the biblical qualifications for eldership along with the duties which an elder must be able and willing to perform.
Each member will be asked to consider the candidate in light of the biblical standard, and to indicate with their signature that they are aware of no biblical disqualification. If any member has concerns or objections, he or she should not sign the letter, but rather return it indicating the desire to speak with an elder in private (see Member’s Review of a Potential Elder, pg. 3). If a disqualifying condition is verified, the man will not be considered further.
3. Examination of the Elder Candidate
The elders will examine the candidate (and his family) through personal interviews and other means. The examination will be thorough, including scrutiny of the candidate’s moral qualifications, his understanding and defense of sound doctrinal positions, his ability to teach, his philosophical compatibility with the elder team, his work ethic, his motives for desiring eldership, and his affection and concern for those who would be under his care. The examination process may include requests for written or recorded responses in some areas (i.e. clarification of doctrinal positions).
4. Confirmation from the Church
When the elders are in unanimous agreement that the candidate is qualified and that he should be appointed as an elder, they will seek confirmation of their decision from the church, realizing that they are not infallible. At a whole-church gathering, all members present will be asked to confirm, on a response form, their agreement with the elders’ decision. Any members who indicate that they have remaining concerns will be asked to relate them to the elders in private. Even at this point, if any true disqualification is discovered, the appointment process will be stopped.
While input from members and the confirmation from the church will be seriously considered, elder appointment is not a democratic process but rather an elder responsibility. Everything carefully considered, the elder team will make the final decision whether or not to appoint the man, knowing that an elder who does not have the approbation of the church will not be an effective leader.
Formal appointment will take place publicly. The elder team will lay hands on the new elder in the presence of the church, signifying their unanimous approval as well as their confidence that Christ, the Head of the church, is calling him into service as an elder. The elder team will pray for the new elder and for the edification of the church through his leadership.