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Stating the qualifications for leadership is relatively easy.

Finding, enlisting, and


evaluating leaders can be difficult. This section will address some of the practical
problems you may encounter.

1. Shortage of qualified candidates. Don't lower the standards. Only qualified


individuals should lead. Revise the church constitution if necessary so that it does not
require a difficult-to-fulfill minimum number of elders or deacons. Develop leadership
through active discipleship training (2 Tim. 2:2). The biblical issue is not how many but
who will lead.

2. Qualified men are not willing to be leaders. In order to encourage qualified men to
accept leadership positions, emphasize the truth that a person who desires the role of
church leader "desires a good work" (1 Tim. 3:1). Extol the rewards both now and in
eternity of serving the Lord and laying up treasures in heaven (Matt. 6:19-21; 1 Tim.
3:13; 1 Pet. 5:4).

3. Deacons who function as elders. If deacons in a church are functioning as elders in


teaching, spiritual oversight, and decision-making, make sure that they measure up to the
qualifications of elders. Study the biblical pattern of leadership: Deacons are to assist the
elders to free them for prayer and the teaching of God's Word (Acts 6:3,4). Deacons can
serve in a wide variety of ways--but it is to be service that assists the elders.

4. Current leaders who aren't qualified. If after studying the biblical qualifications for
leaders, you conclude that one or more of the current leaders in your church fail to pass
the test, apply the principles of Matthew 18:15-17, Galatians 6:1, and 1 Timothy 5:19,20.
Do the courageous and loving thing--go to the person privately first and discuss the
biblical standards with him. Make sure you have the right attitude and accurate facts
before you approach him.

If a person does not express a willingness to deal with his sin, find another church leader
who will go with you again to the individual. If that fails, then present the case to the
entire church leadership for their investigation. An unrepentant person or someone who
has destroyed his reputation should be removed from leadership.

5. Leaders who want to rule but not serve. During the teaching and training of
leadership, emphasize the principles of being an example and being a servant (Matt.
20:20-28; 23:8-12; John 13; Acts 6:1-4; 1 Tim. 4:12; 1 Pet. 5:3). A deacon or an elder
should be assigned a clearly defined area of responsibility in the church. Effective
leadership is involved leadership.

6. How do you know that a man is qualified? If your church allows nominations from
the congregation, a candidate should be suggested for consideration by someone who
knows the person well and genuinely believes that the nominee is qualified according to
the standards of 1 Timothy 3 and Titus 1.
In order to protect nominees from possible embarrassment and to prevent potential
discord, it would be wise first to suggest candidates in strict confidentiality to current
church leaders. Because elders have the responsibility to oversee church doctrine and
practice (1 Tim. 3:1,5; 1 Pet. 5:1-4) and are usually aware of matters not known to the
congregation at large, they should play an important role in the nominating process.

In addition, it would seem wise to ask the candidate to examine himself according to
biblical qualifications prior to any public announcement. He should withdraw from
consideration if in good conscience he does not feel he is qualified. And in the case of
nominations for elders, thorough interviews would be appropriate.

If when a candidate's name is announced, members of the congregation know of any


concrete, verifiable facts that could disqualify him on the basis of the scriptural
requirements for the office of elder or deacon, they should seek him out in accordance
with the pattern set forth in Matthew 18:15-17. The body of Christ is responsible to
maintain internal discipline and to keep unqualified individuals from being elected.

7. What if strong disagreement arises about an individual's qualifications?


Determine if the disagreement is based on the biblical criteria or if it is a personality
issue. Any serious accusations should be carefully examined by church leaders to
determine whether or not the nominee is qualified, and to protect him from subjective and
unfair charges. (If an accuser is unreasonable or bears a personal grudge, he should be
confronted.)