How does an assembly recognize its elders?

How does an assembly recognize its elders?

Paul gives the qualifications for men who will join an existing oversight in Ephesus (1 Timothy 3:1-7; Acts 20:17). These still guide an assembly in recognizing its elders. In God’s design, an assembly operates on theocratic, not democratic, principles; it is subject to God’s will, not the people’s. The Lord, the Chief Shepherd, is supreme in each assembly. To produce this subjection to God, He supplies the assembly with a plurality of shepherds. By their own example and by divine enablement, these shepherds lead (1 Timothy 5:17, "rule," lead, attend to, WEV) the flock in recognizing elders the Lord provides for them. Elders affirm the Spirit’s work in making men overseers (Acts 20:28); they do not authoritatively make overseers. Unitedly dependent on the Spirit of wisdom (Isaiah 11:2), they communicate to the assembly their perception of God’s choice. In this way, the assembly recognizes its elders.

Overseers encourage the spiritual development of every young believer, perceive when a shepherd’s heart develops in some, and discern when that work has reached appropriate maturity in individuals. The Lord doesn’t "graduate" a class of new overseers. God’s work in each soul reaches maturity in its own time.

D. Oliver