As I mentioned in Sunday's post, I appointed elders at the Wilsonville church this past Sunday. It was the result of years of labor extending back to the time before I even arrived here.
I believe that it is the role of the evangelist to set things in order according to Paul's instructions by appointing (ordaining) elders. That does not mean arbitrarily choosing men and forcing them on the congregation. Following the example of the selection of the Seven in Acts 6, the congregation put forward men in keeping with the Scriptural qualifications. Although that example is not identical to the selection and appointment of elders, there we find guiding principles. An office, in that situation a temporary one, was created by the apostles, qualifications were given and the church put forward men in keeping with those qualifications. The apostles then appointed them to the work. We emulated that process in our appointment of our elders.
On Sunday I spoke to the congregation about our duties to submit to the leadership and example of the men selected. I then spoke again of the roles and duties of the elders themselves. I then asked the men to come forward, read a list of those roles and duties and asked them if they would fulfill them. Upon their agreement, I said the following:
In accordance with my role as an evangelist, in keeping with the considered selection of this congregation consistent with the revealed qualifications of Scripture, I appoint and ordain you overseers of the Lord's church in Wilsonville, Alabama, and commend you to the Lord in whom we believe.I know there have been times when the installation of elders in some places has only gained a mention in the opening announcements of a church service. I believe it's a more significant event than that, and we would do well to mark the occasion of overseer appointment with some solemnity.