Brother Mike’s Message
Paul left Titus, an evangelist, in Crete to “put what remained in order, and appoint elders in every town” (Titus 1:5). Paul and Barnabas appointed elders in the congregations they established on the return visits on their first missionary journey (Acts 14:23). We also know there were elders in the churches in Jerusalem (Acts 11:30; 15:2), Ephesus (Acts 20:17), and Philippi (Phil. 1:1). From these few references we learn that God intends for every congregation to have a plurality of elders to oversee them.
We have heard a lesson on the work of elders, and also, the qualities of a man who may serve as an elder. The work of elders is to teach, lead, and manage the church that has been put in their charge (Heb. 13:17; Acts 20:28). We have stated that there is only one qualification for an elder and that is that he is “above reproach.” This means that there is no legitimate criticism that he may be charged with in his family life, his personal life, and in his spiritual life.
We have also emphasized that Paul states, “If anyone aspires to the office of overseer, it is a fine work he desires to do” (1 Tim. 3:1 NASB). We noted that to “aspire” means that the man has worked toward achieving the characteristics or attributes that qualify him to serve as an elder. Becoming an overseer is not an accident. It is something a man sets his heart on and works to achieve.
The Scriptures provide no information on how or who is to appoint a man to the office and work of an elder in congregations with elders. We know Paul an apostle, along with Barnabas appointed elders as revealed in Acts 14:23. We also know that Titus the evangelist was told to appoint elders in churches that had no elders. Yet, I think it wise, and in keeping with the authority that the Bible gives elders, that existing elders appoint additional elders by extending their hands of fellowship and presenting them to the congregation as wise, devout, and respected men.