First a congregation must recognize the authority, purpose and need to fill the roles of elders and deacons.
The New Testament certainly addresses those issues.
I Timothy 3:1-3, Titus 1:5-9, Acts 14:21-23, Philippians 1:1, Acts 6:1-6
After congregations have successfully installed elders and deacons then the question arises, when do we add to or replace men that can no longer serve for whatever reason.
Years ago many of us that are now members of the Franklin Church were part of another congregation. We had four spiritually strong, qualified elders. They were men of leadership and vision.
In a relatively short period of time, one elder had a heart attack and died at a seemingly young age. One elder became gravely ill and was admitted to a nursing home and was never able to resume his duties as an elder. One elder was stricken with cancer and died.
Selecting men to serve as elders in an “emergency” puts the congregation and the men asked to serve in a stressful situation. The congregation feeling pressured to appoint elders may approach men who are not fully qualified. Men may agree to serve who do not meet the qualification or who do not have the desire at that time to serve.
When is the time right to appoint elders and deacons ? N O W !
As a congregation we should always be watchful for men that are qualified to serve as elders. We should always look to men qualified to become deacons, when there are specific task to be accomplished.
Men of the congregation should be constantly working to prepare themselves to meet the qualifications to become an elder or a deacon. This should be a natural part of spiritual growth.
Brethren, let’s not wait for an “emergency” situation to occur. Let’s prepare our congregation and help our brothers prepare themselves to serve in whatever area of the Lord’s work that they are qualified and have the heart felt desire to serve.
– David Coleman