Election in the Church
March 17, 2016 | by: Dale Thiele | 0 Comments
This Sunday Oak Hills will hold her annual congregational meeting for officer election. It is not an election in the vein of the political elections we are hearing so much about this year. There is no choosing one candidate over a different candidate. Instead it is more of an affirmation of the work of God in preparing some to serve in these offices. Hear how the New Testament speaks about the appointment of elders and deacons in the church.
Peter charges the Jerusalem church to select seven men to serve as deacons in Acts 6:3, “Therefore, brothers, pick out from among you seven men of good repute, full of the Spirit and of wisdom, whom we will appoint to this duty.” The selection process was based upon God’s work already occurring the in the lives of these men (full of the Spirit and of wisdom). The leaders of the church would then appoint these men to serve in this capacity.
In Acts 14:23, we learn that part of Paul’s church planting efforts was to appoint elders for each of the churches. “And when they had appointed elders for them in every church, with prayer and fasting they committed them to the Lord in whom they had believed.” We can assume from Paul’s instructions to Timothy on the qualifications for the offices of elder and deacon in 1 Timothy 3 that the people of the church were involved in selecting those who would be appointed to serve. Before appointing an elder, Paul would have selected men based upon the evidence of God’s work in preparing that man for the office.
Again, in Titus 1:5, Paul explains the process and importance of appointing elders for the church. He tells Titus, “This is why I left you in Crete, so that you might put what remained into order, and appoint elders in every town as I directed you.” He then explains criteria for selecting who may serve as an elder.
Based upon these (and other) New Testament examples and teachings, we hold an officer election each year to select those men who have been equipped and matured by God to serve as elders and deacons. The church helps in the selection process. The elders will then appoint (ordain) those selected to serve in those capacities.
There are two other values I want to highlight regarding this process.
1. This is a part of how Jesus builds his church (Matt. 16:18). The New Testament pattern and teaching of the apostles shows that God has planned for his church to be led and served by elders and deacons (cf. Eph. 4:11-12). This is how God has chosen to build his church. The fact that there are men in our midst who are equipped and gifted to serve as elders and deacons is evidence that God cares about Oak Hills and that God is committed to building up Oak Hills. Praise God for His work among us!
2. The selection process does not make a man serve as a deacon or elder. The selection process is meant to affirm God’s work already happening in the life of a man to use him as an elder or deacon. In other words, the men who are presented for “election” on Sunday have already been serving in deaconing and eldering roles. The selection and appointment to the office of elder or deacon acknowledges God’s work and provides greater opportunity for using their gifts.
Praise God for an election process that exalts God’s sovereignty and Christ’s sufficiency in building his church! Pray with us for the continued well-being of our church under the leadership God provides.