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Elders, Part 5: Appointment

Elders are not hired or elected, but called and appointed. When Paul left Titus on Crete, one of his jobs was “to appoint (kathistemi) elders in every town” so as to “put into order” the work of God on that island (Titus 1:5).

When Paul and Barnabas “appointed elders… in every church” they had planted in Galatia (Acts 14:23), Luke use3d a different Greek word for “appointment” than Paul.

This word (cheirontoneo) mean “to stretch out the hand”. Although it appears that this verse is referring to the laying on of hands in ordination, another Greek word was typically used for that act (epitithemi—see I Timothy 5:22; II Timothy 1:6). Luke’s verb choice shows us that the congregation received the elders being recommended to them by raising their hands in approval and acceptance.

The New Testament teaches us that three groups were involved in making important decisions in the life of a church: the elders, the congregation and the apostolic (or tarns-local) authority (Acts 15:22). Furthermore, such decisions were made according to a principle of government we might term “Holy Spirit Unity”, which is summed up by James when he said, “It seemed good to the Holy Spirit and us” (Acts 15:28). Since one of the most important decisions a local congregation can make is the appointment of elders, these same three groups work together on this matter and according to this principle.

After careful study of these short teachings and after prayerful consideration, we are inviting each committed member of this congregation to use the enclosed Elder Recommendation Form to put forward the names of one to three suitably qualified men according to the criteria we have discussed over the last few weeks. The present elders will do the same and our firm conviction is that as we all seek to hear from God, His choice will become clear and we will be able to say, “It seemed good to the Holy Spirit and us to appoint these men to serve as elders in Gateway Church”.

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