It’s easy to ordain someone as an elder. It’s much harder to live with the consequences of that decision if a person is unqualified. Just because someone says he is elder material, doesn’t mean he is.
There is a reason why the Bible says… "Lay hands on no man hastily” (I Timothy 5:22) and “… know them who labor among you” (I Thess. 5:12). In other words, don’t be so quick to ordain someone as an elder… get to know the person first – really know them deeply - before you turn them lose on the church. Hanging out together in the gym is not the right environment for making that kind of decision – anyone can talk the talk. It is only in the context of church work, after they have proven their fruitfulness and contribution to the church, that they can be trusted and ordained. Otherwise, you’ll live to regret it.
What are the crippling effects of an unqualified elder?
- The church will not grow
- His ministry area (or department) will not grow
- If he does draw new people to your church, they will people who have come from other church's, and therefore will eventually leave
- There will be political infighting and plenty of backroom conversations
- His ministry will flounder in mediocrity
- A non-producer becomes empowered
- He will attempt to hijack the direciton of the church
- There will be a decline in membership or attendance
- He will possess a total inability to reach new people for Christ
- There will be an obvious lack of fruitfulness and multiplication
- He will be emotionally draining to you and your family
- There will be stress in the pastors home
- If given a budget, he will blow through it and have nothing to show for it
- He will cause, or bring, more trouble to the church that he is worth
The proof is in the pudding – don’t you think?