Large resource Church seeking Reformed, Evangelical men, no pet projects…
I was serving in Tuscumbia as the “youth guy” and we were in the midst of officer nominations. Our senior pastor said something I had never heard before, “Do NOT nominate men who you think would make good Deacons and Elders, nominate men who already are!” He said the Biblical paradigm for ordination was to lay hands upon men who already displayed an aptitude and passion for serving and shepherding not a process for men who we thought showed potential for the same. It forever changed the way I thought about this process.
So what should you look for? Our nomination form will give an exhaustive list of qualifications for office, but I want to suggest to you ten things to consider as you think about men you might nominate. You should be looking for men who are:
1. Chief Sinners We need men who are deeply aware of their own sin. These men must mistrust their own motives and hearts. Men like that will tenderly handle sin issues with grace and mercy issues with humility because they will always see themselves as brothers to the broken and not above any manner of sin or failure.
2. Chief Repenters It is one thing to see your sin; it is another to see your Savior! Our sin drives us to Jesus and there we are free to repent! Men serving as officers at Southwood should be the chief repenters in the pews, at home and in personal relationships. Ask yourself, “Is this man’s repentance as public as his sin?”
3. Knowledge of the Triune God (and that they aren’t Him!) Humility is a litmus test. Is this a man who honestly believes that God will have to work at Southwood in spite of Him, not just through him? Does he love to hear his own opinions? Is he willing to take on responsibilities that don’t necessarily grab the attention of others, but does catch the eye of God?
4. Teachability Who is speaking into his life? Does he have all the answers? If married, does he actually listen to his wife and her counsel or just humor her? Ask him the question: What has God taught you in the past 2 years of your life? Quietly wait for his answer.
5. Correctability Does he bristle when corrected? Sometimes we can avoid correction by choosing to operate in spheres of our own strength where we can be the “expert.” Have you ever seen him fail? Does he then fall into grace or into a creative “explanation”?
6. Love of God Ask him to tell you about his relationship with his Heavenly Father. Just listen. Is the relationship defined by duty or is it defined by devotion? When he talks about God is there a constant theme of Amazing Grace? The old hymn, How Great Thou Art, says, “And when I think, that God his son not sparing, sent him to die, I scarce can take it in!” Can he “scarcely take that in”?
7. Love for Neighbor Does he genuinely care for others? If you say “Yes” then think of three examples you’ve personally noticed. A nomination is a personal endorsement. If the Session asked you to justify your endorsement what would you say?
8. Ability to say, “I’m sorry…I was wrong” with no breadcrumb trails What is an apology from him like? Are there alot of breadcrumb trails to others? Is he a victim of misunderstanding and misperception or of his own wicked heart? Is there anything other than “Sin and Jesus” in his repentance?
9. Wisdom and discernment Does he use good judgement? Does he have the reputation of a man who can be trusted? Would you trust him to determine whether or not you were in sin EVEN IF you didn’t think you were?
10. Commitment to the worship and work of Southwood Is he on board with the vision and mission of Southwood? Remember, as congregation members we vow to “support this church in its worship and work” and to “submit to the government and discipline of the church.” Those vows enjoin the general congregation against contention, how much more then should they bind our officers? Ask him: Do you LOVE Southwood? Do you LOVE where we are headed? If the answer to either of those has a disclaimer, then ask this question: Why would you want to serve as an officer of a church you are already hoping to change?
The ethos of Southwood and the future of our mission to “experience and express” grace must be championed by these men. These are men who you are going to nominate. This is a sobering process for a high and holy calling. Take it seriously, God does.