Ask Your Preacher

Ask Your Preacher

“Too Young For Elders”

     It is clearly the will of God for local churches to be scripturally organized with elders (and deacons).  Is a local church that is not scripturally organized with at least qualified elders still pleasing to God?  Is such a church sinful?  How can we know (scripturally)?

By The Book

Dear By The Book,

It is definitely God’s desire for congregations to appoint elders and deacons, but if a congregation doesn’t yet have elders, that doesn’t necessarily mean they are unfaithful.  In Tit 1:5, Paul instructed Titus to appoint elders in the congregations in Crete, but it is also worth noting that there were already congregations in Crete!  The congregations needed elders, but they were already faithful.  When Paul and Barnabas preached together, they didn’t appoint elders in the churches of Lystra, Iconium, and Antioch until they were on the return trip (Acts 14:21-23).  That means that each of those cities were originally without elders.
A congregation that refuses to put elders in place is fighting against God’s will, but many congregations are too young or too new to have qualified men who meet the requirements for elders found in 1 Tim 3:1-7 and Tit 1:5-9.  The question is whether a congregation is working toward an eldership or whether they are disregarding the command.