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                        "SHEPHERDS OF THE FLOCK"

                    Their Selection And Appointment


1. At the start of our study, we noted the following...
   a. Paul appointed elders while on his first missionary journey - Ac
   b. He later instructed Titus to appoint elders on the island of Crete
      - Tit 1:5
   -- The Lord certainly desires that His congregations have elders
      where possible

2. The Bible says little about the process of appointing elders per
   a. Who selected the men to be appointed?
   b. By what procedure were they appointed?
   -- We know evangelists (e.g., Titus) were involved, but did the
      congregation play a role?

3. I found the following statements insightful...
   a. "It has long been a question whether church officers should be
      selected by the congregation at large, or by the evangelist
      charged with effecting the organization of the church."
   b. "There is but little said on the subject in the Scriptures, but
      those who are willing to be guided by the slightest indications
      of the will of God in preference to their own judgment, will find
      sufficient to satisfy them." - J. W. McGarvey, A Treatise On The

4. We do have one example where the selection and appointment of those
   who serve the church in some capacity is described...
   a. What part was taken by the congregation
   b. What role was fulfilled by the ordaining officers
   -- This is the case of the seven selected to serve the church in
      Jerusalem - cf. Ac 6:1-6

[With this case as a guide, we can glean that the process of installing
elders involves two steps:  selection and appointment...]


      1. The congregation was to "seek out" (or select) - Ac 6:3
      2. They were to use guidelines provided by the apostles - Ac 6:3
         a. Men of good reputation
         b. Men full of the Holy Spirit and wisdom
      -- Following the guidelines, the congregation made the selection
         and set them before the apostles - Ac 6:5-6

      1. The congregation has the right to select those they deem
      2. Yet they must use the qualifications as provided by the
         a. Such as those given to Timothy - 1Ti 3:1-7
         b. Such as those given to Titus - Tit 1:5-9
      3. The following procedure would accommodate the process of
         a. The congregation should carefully study the qualifications
            required of elders
            1) Perhaps through a series of sermons by an evangelist or
               another elder
            2) Perhaps through a series of classes conducted by the
         b. The congregation should "seek out" and select men who are
            1) Names of men could be proposed by those in the
            2) Opportunity should be given to allow any expression of
               concern as to whether those proposed truly meet the
            3) Discussions should be frank and open
            4) "No secret balloting should be used because too many evil
               things can be covered up." - H. E. Phillips, Scriptural
               Elders And Deacons
            5) The goal is to please all the members ("the whole
               multitude") - cf. Ac 6:5; also 1Co 1:10; Php 2:1-5
         -- When a congregation has selected men they deem qualified to
            serve as elders, they are ready for the "next step"

[The "next step" is that of appointment...]


      1. They were presented ("set before") by the congregation to the
         apostles - Ac 6:6
      2. The apostles then proceeded to "appoint" them - cf. Ac 6:3
         a. It involved prayer - Ac 6:6
         b. It involved the laying on of hands - Ac 6:6
            1) "The object of the imposition of hands, on this occasion,
               has been a subject of some dispute; some contending that
               it was merely to impart miraculous gifts to the seven,
               and others, that it was the ceremony of their induction
               into office."
            2) "Miraculous gifts were often conferred by the apostles in
               this way, and there is much probability, to say the
               least, that they were now conferred upon the seven; but
               the context forbids us to suppose that this was the only
               object of the ceremony."
            3) "The apostles had commanded the disciples to do one
               thing, and they themselves proposed to do another. The
               multitude were to 'look out' the men, 'whom,' say the
               apostles, 'we may appoint over this business.' The part
               performed by the apostles was their appointment to
            4) "But all the apostles did was to pray and lay on their
               hands; hence, this was the ceremony of their
            5) "It stands upon record as a precedent, and should be
               complied with in similar cases. The fact that men can not
               now confer a miraculous gift by laying on hands, does not
               relieve them from the obligation to impose hands as a
               ceremony of appointment to office. " - J. W. McGarvey,
               Commentary on Acts (Ac 6:6)
      -- While the congregation made the selection, the apostles made
         the appointment

      1. The congregation should make known ("set before") those they
         deem qualified as elders
      2. The appointment should include the following elements:
         a. Prayer
            1) As was done in the appointment of elders - Ac 14:23
            2) An appropriate action whenever God's blessings are
         b. Fasting
            1) This was done in every church (i.e., not just a Jewish
               custom) - Ac 14:23
            2) It also accompanied the sending out of Paul and Barnabas
               - Ac 13:1-3
         c. Laying on of hands
            1) The laying on of hands was utilized in several cases
               a) The appointment of the seven in Jerusalem - Ac 6:6
               b) The sending out of Barnabas and Saul - Ac 13:2-3
            2) In discussing elders, Paul cautions Timothy - cf. 1Ti 5:
               a) Not to lay hands on anyone hastily
               b) "All the old commentators, and the great majority of
                  modern ones, applies this to ordination. The meaning
                  is that no man must be ordained to office until his
                  fitness is surely known." - B. W. Johnson
            3) The purpose may be that of "commendation" to the Lord
               a) Which is why Timothy was to be cautious
               b) Which Paul and Barnabas did in the process of
                  appointing elders - cf. Ac 14:23
      3. The appointment to be done by preachers or evangelists
         a. Paul and Barnabas appointed elders in churches where they
            preached - Ac 14:23
         b. Paul left Titus in Crete to appoint elders - Tit 1:5
         c. May elders appoint others to be elders?  I wonder...
            1) There is no example
            2) There might there be a conflict of interest
            3) The Lord may have intended there be "separation of
               powers" (e.g., such as we see in the US government)
      4. The following procedure would accommodate the process of
         a. Prior to the actual appointment, some time spent by all in
            prayer and fasting
         b. In an assembly of the congregation...
            1) The men selected by the congregation are presented ("set
            2) An evangelist or preacher reviews the qualifications
               required by Scripture
            3) The evangelist or preacher lays hands on those being
               appointed, illustrating his own approval and commendation
               as men duly qualified to serve
            4) The congregation commends the new elders to the Lord with
      -- The actual procedure of appointment may vary, but it should
         respect the principles and examples found in the New Testament


1. The Lord has made His will known that He desires His sheep to have
   a. Through examples of elders being appointed in the churches
   b. Through precepts written by His inspired apostles as to their
      qualifications and work
   c. Through exhortations given to His sheep as to their duty toward
      their shepherds

2. He has also provided sufficient guidance as to their selection and
   a. The congregation select based on the apostles' doctrine
   b. The evangelists or preachers appoint those duly qualified

3. My prayer is that study will encourage..
   a. Men to grow in grace and knowledge to one day serve faithfully as
   b. Congregations to prayerfully work toward having elders and
      fulfilling their duties toward them
   c. Evangelists and preachers to appoint elders where the men are

And so we close, with the words of the apostle Paul to the elders of the
church at Ephesus:

   "So now, brethren, I commend you to God and to the word of His
   grace, which is able to build you up and give you an inheritance
   among all those who are sanctified." (Ac 20:32)
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