The design and purpose of appointing leaders in the church is not to pay them a compliment; not to do a friend a favor; not to give status; but to secure people who are truly devoted to the local church who will ultimately become overseers. To this end, such persons must meet God’s criteria and standards for selection.
The Bible defines the qualifications of pastor-elders in two primary places (I Timothy 3:1-7 and Titus 1:5-9), and the lists are virtually identical. Three important factors stand out:
1. Such persons must be good Christians and firmly grounded.
2. Qualification for church leadership is due, in large part, on how successful such a person has been in the home with their family skills, and in his extended world of neighbors and coworkers.
3. Establishing whether a person meets the criteria requires relational time in the church over a long season of observation because ones character must be proven.
A person is qualified for church leadership by what he IS, not by what he or she does or the talent they possess.
The best rule of thumb for elders and all other leaders is to appoint slowly and terminate quickly. Unfortunately many churches do it exactly the opposite – putting people into position too quickly and unable to remove them without a church-wide fight – which is devastating to church unity and momentum.