קהילת תלמידי ישוע
Talmidei Yeshua Fellowship
95 Milvan Drive, North York, Ontario

Eldership Process

It is extremely important that a person does not pursue a position in the community for the sake of esteem or power, but rather to obey a calling from God and to serve in that calling wholeheartedly to bring glory to God. All positions within the community are of equal importance. The office of elder is not superior! Nevertheless, positions will differ in the level of responsibility and the office of elder certainly has the highest level of spiritual responsibility within the body. 

We at the Talmidei Yeshua Fellowship will not rush the process of building a Council of Elders. We will take our time to properly evaluate, observe, and pray for individuals who are qualified for eldership. We believe it is far better to have no elders at all rather then have Biblically unqualified elders even if it should take years to establish a proper Council of Elders.

Elders hold an extremely important office in the community. The role of an elder must not be taken lightly. In that position, a believer is responsible for many hearts and souls of the flock of God that are a part of the community. An elder shares this responsibility with the other Elders according to the clear model presented in the New Testament. Inspired by the Holy Spirit, the talmidim established this process of governance for three obvious reasons, to:

  1. Balance out the weakness of different people
  2. Share the work amongst a group of qualified men
  3. Have accountability within the eldership and thus protect one another
  4. Provide consistency of leadership if one decides to go to another community.

God holds a very high standard for this office and it must not be compromised. The qualifications of an Elder are quite clear and we at Talmidei Yeshua Fellowship will comply with Scriptures in this appointment. If a man is interested in becoming an elder at the Talmidei Yeshua Fellowship, the process is as follows:

Step #1 Review the Qualifications - Every interested man must read these qualifications and discuss it with his wife and other trusted colleagues to ensure he meets the requirements as described in Titus 1:5-9 and 1 Timothy 3:1-7. The criteria are very specific and never to be compromised out of convenience.  
  1. Blameless - Elders must behave in such a manner that people in their life will not be able to point out significant sins that they do without restraint. One example would include a person who possesses a proud and outwardly boastful attitude. As an obvious sin that ranks number one of the seven deadly sins, such pride would render the man unfit for eldership. After all, to be an elder, one should become a strong example of servanthood and humility - a prideful man would fall dangerously short of this Biblical responsibility.  
  2. Husband of one wife - The Scripture refers to a man that is married to one wife and doesn't have another living woman that was once his wife. The Scriptural reference is Matthew 19:6 "What God has joined together, let man not separate". The scripture does not apply to a man that was divorced before salvation, only to a man divorced after salvation.
  3. Rules his house well, and having his children in subjection - Just as the Talmidei Yeshua Fellowship will be a community of many different believers so the home is a community of different believers, only smaller! Thus if a man wishes to help lead the community at large, he must show himself capable and effective at leading his own home.
  4. Believing children that cannot be accused of loose behaviour or unruly - Children must not act in a worldly manner or participate in loose behaviour which is clearly laid out in 1 Peter 4:3-4 "For we have spent enough of our past lifetime in doing the desire of the nations, having walked in indecencies, lusts, drunkenness, orgies, wild parties, and abominable idolatries, in which they are surprised that you do not run with them in the same flood of loose behaviour, blaspheming." An Elder must be able to lead the members of his household to live in a godly and united manner in order to lead the Community at large. 
  5. Not self-pleasing - A candidate for eldership cannot be considered selfish. He should show a natural inclination to serve others and put their interests above his own.
  6. Not wroth - A quick tempered man will never  have the patience to deal with the frustrations of conflicts in the community, nor have the patience to teach the young to nurture them to mature level of faith.
  7. Not given to wine, sober - Scripture makes clear that it is perfectly acceptable to drink wine in moderation. Problems arise when too much alcohol is imbibed. Ephesians 5:18 "And do not be drunk with wine, in which is loose behaviour, but be filled with the Spirit". Since an elder must be exemplary in all his conduct, a man must not be given to wine.
  8. Not a brawler - A brawler is one who constantly fights either or both physically or verbally. Some express their quarrelsome nature outwardly and can thus be easily disqualified. On the other hand, some hold in their anger and maintain a calm front. It is important that an elder should possess a strong grasp of Scripture and be able to effectively and humbly defend against the threats of false doctrine. The contentious spirit of a brawler would entirely fail in this respect for he would revert to mere emotional and illogical arguments, not constructive discussion. A man with an interest in eldership should ask at least three different (preferably close but reputably honest) people to rank him on a scale of one to ten with respect to this criterion. If the man scores excellently he should continue his evaluation. If not, he should consider another role in the community.
  9. Not a new convert - A man who is a new believer can hold many positions or roles in a community according to his ability but helping to lead the Body of Messiah requires a great deal of seasoning, experience, and knowledge of the ways of God. Furthermore, his own personal relationship with God will likely not be sufficiently strong to enable him to resist pride and the fleshly desires for power. Holding the responsibility of an elder would be far too dangerous at such a point.
  10. A good reputation from people outside the assembly - It is important for an eldership candidate to consider the opinion of those in the world on his example. If a man owns a business, for example, the Council of Elders would ask his employees if he was sufficiently responsible and exemplary to be an elder in a community. Coworkers, siblings, neighbours, etc should be able to give their approval on the basis of these fifteen criteria.
  11. Not greedy for filthy gain or a lover of money - Greed is a powerful weapon of the enemy. An elder can be in a position where they will be handling money that was given by members. The position is one of trust to handle the money wisely and ensure it goes to the needs within the community and to pay the bills of our infrastructure. A person that is greedy and a lover of money will be tempted with the money of our community and for their own protection they should not be an elder. 
  12. Able to teach - An elder is required to be gifted in preaching and teaching the community. Since this is one of the fundamental roles of an elder, a man should be very comfortable in this area.
  13. Kind to and gentle with strangers - As one of the leaders of the community, an elder must be kind to strangers as many will come into the community to observe. Elders must set a strong, good example of talmidei (disciples of) Yeshua through kindness and hospitality.
  14. A lover of what is good, sensible, righteous, holy, self-controlled - A candidate for eldership must deeply desire to serve God in all his ways, and his heart must wholeheartedly pursue the Spirit. These qualities should be explicit not only in his word but in his fruit.
  15. Clings to the trustworthy word, according to the teaching, in order to be able to encourage by sound teaching, and to convict those who oppose it. - A man seeking to be an elder must be sound in Scripture and able to defend against the attacks of false doctrine or heresy. An elder must act as a wall of protection from the wolves that wish to intrude and kill. Nevertheless, he must be open to challenging his beliefs entirely on the basis of Scripture, not on opinion, historical evidence, extra-biblical literature, etc. 
The above criteria suggest that this person would be older (e.g., they must have children old enough and capable enough to encounter and resist loose behavior). It also assumes the elder is older as "wisdom is with aged men, with long life comes understanding" (Job 12:12, 1 Kings 12:8,13). 

Indeed, the qualifications are both comprehensive and difficult to attain. Certainly, though, it does not mean that a person who is interested in being an elder must be perfect but one should stand out in these areas as strong and capable for the responsibility is tremendous.

Step #2 - Reading and Understanding

We expect you to purchase and read the book, Biblical Eldership, An Urgent Call to Restore Biblical Church Leadership, by Alexander Strauch, which can be purchased online, such as on Amazon. The book excellently describes the full details of the task and responsibility that a person will incur should he become an elder based upon significant passages of Scripture. They will be able to fully consider them before holding the office of elder.

The role of an elder that the candidate would be expected to fulfill is to:
  1. Teach and preach within the assembly (Titus 1:5-9, 1 Tim 3:1-7).
  2. Reprove members of the assembly when sin appears in the life of a congregant (1 Tim 5:20-21, Acts 18:26, 1 Thess 5:14).
  3. Vigilantly protect the community when false doctrine or strange teachings arise (1 Tim 6:3-5, 2 Tim 2:16-17, Tit 1:10-16).
  4. Promote peace, love, and unity in everything; and to prevent contentious, gossiping, and divisive people from corrupting the loving environment we strive so hard to build and maintain (1 The 5:13b). 
  5. Build relationships with all members of the community. Proverbs 27:23 says "Know well the condition of your flock, and pay attention to your herds." Elders need to be constantly caring for the spiritual welfare of the community because the worth of those souls are of infinite value in the eyes of God. (1 Tim 3:28-31).
Upon completion the candidate must fill out the application for the position of Elder (see attached).

Step #3 - Meeting and Review

The Council of Elders will review the application for eldership and a meeting will be called with the candidate and his wife. The meeting is to ensure Steps 1 and 2 were completed and the candidate and his wife are completely comfortable with signing up to the office of elder. The wife needs to be a part of the process as it is important she is able to support the elder in the times when the position is demanding.

Step #4 - Council takes out time to Pray and Fast

Acts 14:23: "And having appointed elders in every assembly, having prayed with fasting, they committed them to the Master in whom they had believed". It is evident that the appointment of an elder is a serious appointment and it to be taken to prayer and fasting. 

Once the step #3 is completed and the Council of Elders unanimously agrees to take this candidate forward they will take out time to independently pray and fast and come back together and take a final vote of approval. If successfully approved the Council will take the candidates interest forward to the congregation for a vote.

Step #5 - Congregational Approval

1 Timothy 3:10 "And let these also be proved first". It is important if an Elder meets all the requirements for the first 4 steps and is going to lead the community that the community is ready to accept that leadership. A vote by secret ballot will be conducted to ensure the vast majority are comfortable with this man's nomination. The Council of Elders will review the results with the candidate and if any significant issues are raised or problems pointed out both the Council and the candidate can discuss. If the Council and candidate are comfortable with the results and the vast majority of the community agrees with the decision then the candidate is nominated to the office of Elder.

Step #6 - Appointed to the office

The Council of Elders will bring the candidate forward in the next service after the approval for nomination and they will lay their hands on the candidate and pray for him and present him to the community as an Elder.

The 6 step process to becoming an Elder may appear arduous, difficult, and long, but it is essential for the community to have a solid foundation of leaders that meet the test of eldership. A good community, grounded in love, respect and honour will have a Council of Elders that embody the Titus and Timothy requirements and the importance of this office cannot be understated.

Office of Elder

The office of Elder is not necessarily a secure position, that is, it might not be one that is held forever. An elder must continuously meet the requirements of the position and if he lets himself fall into sin, become lazy in the responsibilities, or finds need of a sabbatical then the position can be revoked for either a temporary or permanent period of time.

Scripture also allows members of the community to bring claims to the Council against an elder with 2-3 witnesses (1 Tim 5:19). The Council is bound by duty to investigate the accusation that is brought forward and make a decision on the validity. If the accusations are valid and serious then the Council must decide the discipline. If it is not found to be valid then the Elder is exonerated and all discussions about the situation within the community must cease so as to preserve unity and give double respect to the man in the position of elder (1 Tim 5:17).

Following are important verses about the eldership process and office of elder:

1) Elders – How are the elders are to act.

a. Now I call upon you, brothers (speaking to elders) watch out for those who cause divisions and stumbling, contrary to the teaching, which you learned, and turn away from them. Rom 16:17

b. Brothers, if a man is overtaken in some trespass, you the spiritual ones, set such a one straight in a spirit of meekness, looking at yourself lest you be tried too. Bear one another’s burdens, and so complete the Torah of Messiah. Gal 6:1-2

c. In order to command some not to teach differently, nor to pay attention to fables and endless genealogies, which cause disputes rather than an administration of Elohim, which is in belief. Now the goal of this command is love from a clean heart, from a good conscience and a sincere belief, which some, having missed the goal, turned aside to senseless talk, wishing to be teachers of Torah, understanding neither what they say nor concerning what they strongly affirm. 1 Tim 1:3-7

d. For sovereigns and all those who are in authority, in order that we lead a calm and peaceable life in all reverence and seriousness, for this is good and acceptable before Elohim our Saviour. 1 Tim 2:2-3

e. Is anyone among you sick? Let him call for the elders of the assembly, and let them pray over him, having anointed him with oil in the Name of the Master. James 5:14

f. Shepherd the flock of Elohim which is among you, serving as overseers, not by compulsion but voluntarily, not out of greed for filthy gain, but eagerly, neither as being masters over those entrusted to you, but being examples to the flock. 1 Peter 5:2-3

2) Elders – What qualifies one to be an elder.

a. Trustworthy is the word; If a man longs for the position of an overseer, he desires a good work. An overseer then, should be blameless, the husband of one wife, sober, sensible, orderly, kind to strangers, able to teach, not given to wine, no brawler, but gentle, not quarrelsome, no lover of silver, one who rules his own house well, having his children in subjection with all reverence, for if a man does not know how to rule his own house, how shall he look after the assembly of Elohim? Not a new convert, lest he become puffed up with pride and fall into the judgment of the devil. And he should even have a good witness from those who are outside, lest he fall into reproach and the snare of the devil.  1 Tim 3:1-7

b. And appoint elders in every city as I commanded you; if anyone is unreprovable, the husband of one wife, having believing children not accused of loose behaviour, or unruly. For an overseer has to be unreprovable, as a managing one of Elohim, not self-pleasing, not wroth, not given to wine, no brawler, not greedy of filthy gain, but kind to strangers, a lover of what is good, sensible, righteous, holy, self-controlled, clinging to the trustworthy word, according to the teaching, in order to be able both to encourage by sound teaching, and to convict those who oppose it. Tit 1:5-9

3) Discipline – What types of things constitute discipline and how is it done.

a. Apollos was corrected by Aqulas and Priscilla on his message to the congregation. Acts 18:26

b. And we appeal to you, Brothers, warn those who are disorderly, encourage the faint-hearted, uphold the weak, be patient with all. 1 Thess 5:14

c. Do not receive an accusation against an elder except from two or three witnesses. 1 Tim 5:19

d. Reprove those who are sinning in the presence of all, so that the rest also might fear. I earnestly witness before Elohim and the Master Yeshua Messiah, and the chosen messengers, that you watch over these matters without prejudice, doing none at all with partiality. 1 Tim 5:20-21

e. If anyone teaches differently and does not agree to the sound words, those of our Master Yeshua, and to the teaching which is according to reverence, he is puffed up, understanding none at all, but is sick about questionings and verbal battles from which come envy, strife, slander, wicked suspicions, worthless disputes of men of corrupt minds and deprived of the truth, who think that reverence is a means of gain – withdraw from such. 1 Tim 6:3-5

f. But keep away from empty babblings, for they go on to more wickedness, and their word shall eat its way like gangrene. 2 Tim 2:16-17

g. And a servant of the Master should not quarrel but be gentle towards all, able to teach, patient when wronged, in meekness instructing those who are in opposition, lest somehow Elohim gives them repentance unto a thorough knowledge of the truth, and they come to their senses, out of the snare of the devil, having been taken captive by him to do his desire. 2 Tim 2:24-26

h. For there are many unruly men, senseless talkers and deceivers, especially those of the circumsion, who mouth have to be stopped, who upset entire households, teach what they should not teach, for the sake of filthy gain…Therefore rebuke them sharply, in order for them to be sound in the belief…They profess to know Elohim, but in works they deny Him, being abominable, and disobedient, and unfit for any good work. Tit 1:10,11,13,16

i. But keep away from foolish questions, and genealogies, and strife and quarrels about the Torah, for they are unprofitable and useless. Reject a divisive man after the first and second warning, knowing that such a one has been perverted, and sins, being self-condemned. Tit 3:9-11

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