(How Can I Know If I’m Ready To Serve As An Elder?) Bible Question.
Question: “We are adding elders at our congregation. I have been asked to consider serving, but I am not sure I am ready. I want to serve, but how can I know if I am ready?”
“It is a trustworthy statement: if any man aspires to the office of overseer, it is a fine work he desires to do.” – 1 Timothy 3:1 (New American Standard Bible)
The first characteristic of a shepherd is the desire to serve. So, you already know that your heart is ready to take on this role. I would urge you to go through the rest of the qualities the apostle Paul mentions here and in Titus chapter 1. Also study the apostle Peter’s teaching in 1 Peter and Paul’s sermon to the elders from Ephesus in Acts 20. After you have investigated all those passages, you will have a better idea of your readiness.
If others are asking you to serve, then carefully consider what they say. Are they mature believers? Do they generally make good spiritual choices? Do they understand what it means to be an elder? If you can trust them, then you have a second opinion you can rely on.
Finally, know that no Christian of any age or maturity, perfectly fulfills all the expectations of the Lord. “So you too, when you do all the things which are commanded you, say, ‘We are unworthy slaves; we have done only that which we ought to have done'” (Luke 17:10).
Even if you could be a perfect Christian, you would still only be doing what God expects. And no one is perfect, including elders. So, don’t think you can’t be an elder unless all your flaws are removed. That will never happen.
Again, trust the church’s judgment. If the people there are confident in you, you should listen to them. This is what happened in Acts 6:1 – 6. The apostles laid down the qualities these new servant-leaders (probably deacons) should have. The church picked seven men who the church believed were qualified to lead.
I suppose one or two of these men doubted they were ready for an important ministry like this. They may have wondered if they were as good as they should be. Still the church picked them, they took on the job, and the problem the church was facing was resolved. Trust your heart and trust your brothers and sisters.