Reassurance for New Elders
One of the most common reactions that new elders have at being selected for this position is a feeling of unworthiness. After all, we're giving a man the responsibility of watching over the eternal souls of hundreds of people. This is quite a responsibility, and a certain hesitation and sense of humility is natural.
In order to provide reassurance and encouragement, I believe the Lord has included several ways to reassure the new elder that his selection to this role is according to His will and purpose.
1. The new elder's own spirit confirms his role.
Paul the Apostle says,
If any man aspires to the office of overseer, it is a fine work he desires to do.
- I Timothy 3:1
In other words, to want to serve in this way is a good thing and not a sign of pride. When a man begins thinking that he could serve the church well as an elder, he is thinking godly thoughts pleasing to the Lord and according to his calling. To aspire to this role is a confirmation that a man's spirit is in tune with God's plan for the church.
2. The Word of God confirms his role.
An honest desire to serve is commendable, but God in His wisdom has also provided the qualifications necessary to serve as an elder. This ensures that the man chosen is spiritually capable of exercising this high calling. Those who meet these qualifications may feel that they still need to grow, but through these instructions, men can be assured that they have the type of character and maturity that God is seeking for His church leaders.
3. The church confirms his role.
Shepherds are called to serve the sheep and cannot fulfill their ministry unless the sheep are willing to follow. For this reason, the church is instructed to choose carefully those who will serve in special roles (Acts 6:3, I Timothy 5:22).
In conclusion, a man who desires to serve and is approved by the church in light of God's Word can be assured that he is truly suited for this ministry. You know there are always moments when leaders in any enterprise doubt if they are the right person for the job. Thankfully, for the role of Elder, God has provided many ways to confirm one's calling to service so that our leaders can serve with confidence, assured that God and the church support them in their ministry.