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Guidelines to Church Election

29 Jul

The term for the present session members will expire in August 2012. Therefore, the church has set the election date on 12 August 2012 to choose your church leaders for another 3-year term of service. The church is looking for men and women who have the requirements listed in 1 Timothy 3:1-13, Titus 1:5-9 and Acts 6:2-6. This is to preserve the dignity and effectiveness of the church which the apostle Paul called “the pillar and ground of the truth” (1 Tim. 3:15).

Stating the qualification for leadership is relatively easy. Finding, enlisting and evaluating leaders can be difficult. How do we address some of the practical problems we encounter?

What happens if there is a shortage of qualified candidates? The biblical issue is not how many but who will lead.  Churches are often tempted to lower the spiritual qualification to accommodate the need for a greater number of people to serve as church leaders. Our church should never fall to this temptation.  God in His divine wisdom set the qualifications because the work of the elder and deacon is spiritual in its nature and requires men who are mature Christians.

Paul indicated that a person should already have attained the required spiritual qualifications prior to election. He said, “Let these also first be proved”(1 Tim. 3:10). Before the individual is considered for election, he should already has proved himself to be committed to ministry and to service.

A person who cannot work with others will probably not serve ably as a deacon or an elder. Much of the work in the church calls for a double portion of patience and understanding. The church leader must have the ability to disagree in an agreeable tone and manner. When a final decision is made by the church session, he will give his full support even though he may have voted against the recommendation.

If after studying the biblical qualifications for leaders, you conclude that one or more of the current leaders in the 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.

It is your privilege to nominate a candidate whom you know 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 to suggest candidates in strict confidentiality to the Board of Elders. Their duties are to screen, select, interview and enlist suitable candidates to stand for election, (1 Tim. 3:1-5; 1 Pet. 5:1-3).

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.

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.

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).

In accordance to the Governing Instruments for the Charities in Singapore, the nominee needs to declare that:

  1. I have not been disqualified as a company director;
  2. I am not convicted of an offence involving dishonesty or deception;
  3. I am not an undischarged bankrupt; and
  4. I have not been disqualified from being a governing board member, key officer or trustee for a charity by an order made by the Commissioner.
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