When looking at the structure of the ancient gatherings of followers of Christ, we can see that certain people got the responsibility of certain matters. Though those responsibilities or tasks were never given to infinity. The roles of the persons working for the community of believers could change regularly.
When forming an ecclesia it is important that those in charge of forming the meeting possibilities are people of faith and are suitably qualified men to take certain charges or duties unto them.
those interesting to create an ecclesia should look for like-minded people who are willing to serve the community. “Serving” has to be the first word on their lips. We can not know what is deep into the heart of a person, but God knows the heart of each individual.
Each person chosen to lead the ecclesia or to help to construct the ecclesia has to show by his attitude that he or she is with his or her heart by God. Their praise should testify of the Glory of God and the willingness to be a Child of God, prepared to call others and to help them to come closer to God.
God’s most precious treasure is “Your Heart”, not your money, offerings or tithe. What you do for Jehovah God is not what touches His heart, but the simple fact that it is You doing it for Him makes it so valuable to His sight. Coming to work for an ecclesia should not be to work for getting some title or honour but to serve God. In a way, we should know that the works that we do can be done by anybody. Fasting, praying, kneeling down, paying your tithe, helping the needy, visiting the sick and the prisoners, waking up early, sleeping late, reading the Bible; all these things should not be done to impress God and are not impressive before God. Making an ecclesia might be as building a house, but this time it is about building a House of God.
“1 «A Song of Ascents; of Solomon.» Except Jehovah build the house, They labor in vain that build it: Except Jehovah keep the city, The watchman waketh but in vain. 2 It is vain for you to rise up early, To take rest late, To eat the bread of toil; For so he giveth unto his beloved sleep.” (Ps 127:1-2 ASV)
Like Cyrus the Persian became aware that God had instructed him to do certain matters, we today also should feel what God wants from us and follow it up like Cyrus did. Cyrus recognised that all he did was not of his own purpose, but the God of Israel had commanded him to do it — to let the Jews go to Jerusalem, and to build the house of the Lord which was in Jerusalem. Here today we do not have to go personally to Jerusalem to build a temple over there, but we have to construct a house for God in our midst.
We do have to present ourselves as workers for God, willing to take on the workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.
“ For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God afore prepared that we should walk in them.” (Eph 2:10 ASV)
From the people who present themselves for creating an ecclesia those with the most experience in the required matters could best take the lead or act as elders. There is required certain maturity to be able to lead a group of people. Therefore an older person could be best suited.
When going to appoint certain people for a position we should be careful not to end up appointing men whose character falls short of the criteria laid out in scripture. Equally if we appoint people based on their ‘skills’ or know-how, without taking into account how much they know about Scripture it can well be that the group also can go to wander into problems. Also, when certain time-terms are used, an unqualified elder can cause plenty of damage for example during a 5-year term.
So, let’s just be clear from the front end, without qualified men in post, we are going to have problems come what may.
When there are people interested in building an ecclesia, we should be pleased that they want to co-operate in such an important job. When there are suitably qualified men, gifted for eldership, we should be pleased and thankful that we can and/or may utilise their gifts.
For sure, every elder should behave in a godly way and not only should be a good example for the community but also for outside the community of believers. We also should know that those who are godly will step down should the need arise and those who are ungodly should be removed by the members who appointed him. Building in the arbitrary provision of terms is ad hoc at best.
In the created ecclesia there should also be adequate mechanisms to remove those whom the majority of the church believe have disqualified themselves or no longer have the capacity to serve. It would be entirely wrong to remove terms of service and then provide no means whatsoever for the church to remove and errant leader.
If an elder would be in sin, this would make him no longer qualified or unable to serve, adequate mechanism for the church to actively remove them from office are far better than simply allowing a term of service to lapse. Indeed, we hardly serve those in sin well by simply allowing a term to lapse rather than confronting their sin. By contrast, we make service harder for those who are properly qualified and rightly love their people, especially when they can be used by members to lord it over their leaders in an exercise of power.
You can have limited or indefinite terms for elders and neither stands against scripture. But wisdom and previous experience tell us that indefinite terms, coupled to robust mechanisms that allow churches to remove their elders as necessary, is the way we would go on it.
Read further: Qualifications of a Presiding Brother
- God doesn’t call the qualified
- God make us holy
- Matthew 12:1-8 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: Something Greater than the Temple
- Matthew 21:12-14 – From a den of thieves to a house of prayer
- Matthew 24 about temples or Houses of God and the end of the age
- Cyrus the Persian
- a City full of the Pride of life
- Good or bad preacher
- Only once and with consequences