Recommendations for New Elders and Deacons

Dear Catalina Foothills Family, 

Please join us in considering men who might have the hand of God on their life for leading as a future church leader. Prayerfully read the attached qualifications for the roles of elder and deacon. If—after you have prayerfully considered the qualifications for elder—you can recommend someone from our ministry at Catalina Foothills as a potential elder or deacon, please submit your recommendation to the church office. All recommendations will be passed to the Session for consideration.

In Acts 6 the apostles asked the Jerusalem church to select men who were full of the Holy Spirit to be leaders.  In the same way, the apostle Paul wrote to Titus, “Appoint elders in every town.” The same consideration would be true for deacons. The selection of spiritual men as leaders is one of the most important responsibilities of any congregation. 

As you consider possible recommendations for leadership at Catalina Foothills Church, reflect on the biblical input for each role. The standard for your evaluation should be the qualifications given to us in your Bible, as described in the attached descriptions. Please take each statement seriously as you reflect about possible recommendations for elders and deacons. 

The elders will interview and select a group of men from the recommendations of the congregation. These men will then be formally nominated for the role of elder or deacon to the congregation, who will vote on new leaders at a formal congregational meeting.  

Quite obviously, more men will be recommended than we actually nominate. God has raised many effective leaders in our church’s ministry. Yet God chooses only a few men at a time to lead as elders. The Lord is a God of order, and therefore His guidance is orderly. If a man is not chosen to serve as an elder at this time, it says more about the needs and vision of our church than about him. We will endeavor to honor the work of each potential leader, while at the same time we will prayerfully discern God’s leadership.  Therefore, please do not feel any personal affront if the Lord does not lead us to the man you have recommended at this time.  We are all trusting the Lord throughout this process. 

Consider the attached descriptions of elders and deacons. If the Lord places a man’s name on your heart, pray about it further, and then submit his name as a possible consideration for elder or deacon to the church office. You can email your recommendation—with your name as the person who recommended the man—to lynn@cfcpca.org. You can also submit a Recommendation Form that is found on the Receptionist Desk or Welcome Desk at the church.

 

Thank you for your help.

In His Name,

The Session of CFC

Choosing New Church Leaders

In Acts 6 the apostles asked the Jerusalem church to select leaders who were full of the Holy Spirit to be leaders. In the same way, the apostle Paul wrote to Titus, “Appoint elders in every town.” The same could also be said of deacons who were specifically chosen for their spirituality and support for the work of the church. The selection of spiritual leaders is one of the most important responsibilities of any congregation.

As you consider possible recommendations for leadership at Catalina Foothills Church, the standard for your evaluation should be the qualifications given to us in your Bible. So think about the following qualities when you consider men for elders and deacons. 

Elders are presented first in this description, followed by the qualifications of deacons.

Choosing New Elders

1. Qualifications from the Work of an Elder It is a leadership ministry. There’s certainly an element of authority to the work of elders. 1 Peter 5:2 describes an elder as “exercising oversight.” Many verses teach that the elder has a leadership and management ministry. As such, they are the guiding judges in matters of ministry, vision, faith, and patience.  Therefore, as you consider possible candidates, consider:

  • Does this person understand and appreciate the mission, vision, and strategy of the church? 
  • Has this person already been involved in various ministries in the church? Does he continue to invest himself in the work of the church?  Has he demonstrated faithfulness in ministry already, as the Lord has worked through him?
  • Do people normally appreciate and follow this person’s influence and leadership?
  • Has this individual exercised discernment, patience, wisdom, gentleness, initiative, and a stick-to-it nature in leading?

2. It is a discipleship ministry. One distinction of an elder is spiritual guidance, discipleship, and shepherding. Such passages as Acts 20:28 and Hebrews 13:17 describe this distinction of caring for souls.  Therefore, as you consider possible candidates, consider:

  • Has this person already shown a shepherding and discipling heart? Is he leading in a ministry and shepherding a group of people already? Is he discipling another person in an informal or formal way?
  • Has this person shown compassion and love for the body of Christ?
  • Has this individual demonstrated a commitment to the unity of the church? 
  • Does this person genuinely keep watch over his own integrity and spiritual life?

3. It is a ministry that models an example of Christ and grace.

  • Does this individual demonstrate a Christian character that is necessary for you to submit to his spiritual leadership at CFC? Has he consistently shown—openly and publicly—the character qualities of Christ, such as humility, submissiveness, compassion, graciousness, righteousness, and integrity?
  • Has he modeled a lifestyle that attracts people to the grace of God?
  • Has this person been spiritually broken before God? If he is still more wrapped up in his own self-world and personal concerns, he will only offer a small world to the church.  If he has been clearly broken (as Jacob was broken by God, and limped for the rest of his life as a reminder of his brokenness), then he will offer a spiritual mindset and passion.
  • Does this individual exhibit a prayer life that displays his love for the Lord and a dependence on God in faith?

4. It is a teaching ministry that assures the integrity of doctrine and belief. Teaching is clearly one of the purposes of the New Testament elder, as seen in 1 Timothy 3:2.  Therefore, as you consider possible candidates, consider: 

  • Does this person demonstrate a basic, if not even advanced, knowledge of God’s Word? Is he familiar with the doctrinal statement of the church, so that he understands what is both essential and nonessential to the faith at Catalina Foothills Church? 
  • Can this person communicate God’s truth in some group setting – whether it is a large group or small, private interaction – in a way that is clear and understandable? Can he take a person who is walking in error to the Bible and show God’s design for living?
  • Can this individual clearly share the gospel with an unbeliever?

Qualifications from the Character of an Elder

The Bible offers us a number of character qualifications for elders, in passages such as 1 Timothy 3 and Titus 1.  As we consider recommending various men as elders, keep in mind that:

  • He must be willing. Is this person serving willingly or voluntarily?  Is he committed to the mission and strategy of the church?  Does he aspire to being an elder? Is he willing to serve without any thought of obligation or constraint?
  • He must be above reproach. Does he carry a major blotch in his life that would cause people to not respect his spiritual leadership and counsel? Is there some past sin that would hinder him from admonishing another person in a given area?
  • He has a good reputation with unbelievers. Does this person turn off non-Christians? Is he faithful in paying his bills?  Is he respected in his social interactions?  Is he gentle and courteous, rather than brassy, when he converses with all people, especially with non-Christians?
  • He is a lover of God. Does this person gravitate towards doing good?  Does the individual already initiate in doing good, without being asked first?  Does he have a good character?  Is he willing to stand alone in support of good?  Is he a person of conviction and purity?
  • He is just. Is this individual righteous and seeking right living?  In his heart, does he love God’s standards?  Is he wishy-washy in his thinking, or is he consistent and mature?
  • He is devout. Is this person close to God?  Does he have a daily walk with the Lord, so that circumstances of life don’t break up his fellowship with God?  Is he concerned that he not stray from God? 
  • He is apt to teach. See above section on teaching ministry.
  • He is not a new convert. Has this individual walked with God for some time?  Is there a sense of maturity to this person?  Does the person exude a sense of stability to people?  Can people feel that they may trust him since he has experienced much of Christ himself?
  • He manages his own household well. No one is a perfect parent, but does the individual have his children under reasonable control at home?  Does he show a love and intimacy with his family and wife?  Is his wife—if he is married, though not required—a critical gossip or busybody?  Is she in support of his ministry?  If married, are they invested in the church?
  • He is a one-woman man. Is this person devoted to his wife?  Does the individual exhibit an intimacy with his wife in all areas of life – behavior, time, speech, humor, etc.?  Has the person demonstrated a purity and integrity in his marriage?  Has he handled temptation well by committing himself to obedience?
  • He is temperate. Is this individual in control of himself?  Does he stay calm and collected under periods of great strain and abrasion?  Does he act deliberately, not impulsively?  Does he stop to think before acting? 
  • He is prudent. Is this person sensible and objective?  Does the individual see life as it really is, with an emotional and relational maturity so that periods of high emotion don’t cloud or short-circuit his ability to think accurately?
  • He is respectable. Do other people look up to this person?  Do other people trust him?
  • He is hospitable. Does this person love strangers and visitors to the church?  Does he enjoy getting to know people?  Does he open his home and material resources to people?  Is the individual involved in hospitality and small groups?
  • He is not addicted to wine. Does this individual drink too much? Has he been discovered drunk?  Does he exhibit any addiction to alcohol, drugs, compulsive eating, workaholic, etc.?
  • He is not self-willed. Does this person become negative or defensive towards ideas that are not his own, or with other people who don’t agree with him? Is the individual a debater or arguer?  Does he always want his own way?  Does the individual want to get the last word in?  Does he yield and submit to the consensus of leadership?  Is he a team player? 
  • He is not quick tempered. Can this individual control his temper and anger, or does he fly off the handle?  Does he make thoughtless, unfeeling remarks?  Is the individual more helpful than critical? 
  • He is not a striker. Does this individual exhibit a physical restraint during times of great emotional upheaval? 
  • He is not contentious. Does this person avoid criticalness, argumentativeness, intolerance, and bitterness?  Is he judgmental or gracious?  Does he regularly find himself in the center of controversy, or is he a peacekeeper? 
  • He is gentle. Is the individual tolerant, patient, and respectful of others, especially those in authority?  Is the person civil in his dealings with people? 
  • He is free from the love of money. Are this person’s priorities on God’s Kingdom? Has this person demonstrated that he can easily and freely give from his financial resources to meet others’ needs? 

Choosing New Deacons

The primary purpose of deacons is to support the ministry of the church with extraordinary service and compassion. Catalina Foothills Church highlights deacons as one of the leadership flagships of merciful service. God created the role of deacon to honor the work of service in the Body of Christ (the word, diakonia, means “servant”). Elders focus on oversight; deacons assist by practical and exceptional service in specific ministries (Acts 6, “for this task”).

Although God raises extraordinary servants in every ministry of the church, CFC has chosen to assign deacons to crucial tasks in the areas of worship, benevolence, facilities, and care.

 

Qualifications of Deacons

 1. It is a ministry of mercy and care.

  • Does this man exhibit a heart of care and mercy for other people, especially for people who are hurting and different from him?
  • Has this man been involved in ministries that demonstrate a soft, yet discerning, heart? 
  • Has this man shown wisdom in helping the material and financial needs of other people? 
  • Does he have a heart of shepherding and discipleship? Is he already discipling another person, whether formally or informally?

2. It is a ministry of support and service.

  • Has this man already been involved in some ministry in a faithful way? Has he demonstrated fidelity to that ministry?
  • Does he work in a team environment with cooperative and healthy relationships, respecting other members’ giftedness and unique abilities?
  • Is he in full support of the overall vision and goals of the church? Is he willing to personally assist with the communication of them to the congregation?
  • Has this individual demonstrated a commitment to the unity of the church? 
  • Has he shown a heart for widows and orphans as examples of true religion (James 1)?
  • Is he willing to serve with diligence and good-hearted work?

3. It is a ministry of integrity and character.

  • Do people trust this man to handle their donations, needs, and concerns?
  • Does this individual exhibit a prayer life that displays his love for the Lord and a dependence on God in faith? 
  • Is he a man of dignity in his behavior and conversations? Do other people affirm his character of grace under fire, fidelity when tested?
  • Is he respected in his social interactions? Is he gentle and courteous, rather than brassy, when he converses with all people, especially with non-Christians?
  • Is his wife—if he is married, though not required—a critical gossip or busybody? Is she in support of his ministry?  If married, are they invested in the church? Is she respected by other people?