In this book experienced pastor Thabiti Anyabwile writes three sections on how to find deacons, elders, and specify what their roles are in the church. Pastor Anyabwile gives the pertinent biblical requirements for deacons and elders, and gives numerous helps on biblical qualifications, traits to watch for, and questions and observations for examining whether or not those under consideration are wise choices for the respective offices of elder and deacon.
I think the best way to use this book is to use it as Thabiti Anyabwile intended it to be used:
“First, use it prayerfully. Pray for pastors and elders as they shepherd and serve the sheep. Pray for more men to be raised up in the congregation for this important work. Pray that the Lord would pour out his grace on those serving these tasks. Pray that the members of the church would show genuine appreciation, love, and care for their shepherds. Pray that all the men in the church would grow in the qualities that elders should possess. Pray that men would have a godly desire to give their lives in serving the body of Christ as servant-leaders.
Second, use this book practically. The book does not delve into a lot of detailed argumentation, hoping instead to make application easily and quickly. I want the book to help in actually doing something—identifying and training elders—not just considering something. Put the suggestions into practice, and improve them with the experience and wisdom that come from your particular church setting and other faithful leaders.
Finally, use the book pedagogically. That is, use it to teach and instruct. Perhaps a church needs to select its first elders after a period of planning and study. Pastors may wish to use these brief chapters to ‘flesh out’ for the average church member which qualities the congregation as a whole needs to be looking and praying for in their prospective elders. Examination and pastoral search committees may find similar help.”
Take it from my own experience in over twenty years of pastoring – you want to get all the help you can in the wise selection of, praying for, training of, and role implementation of your elders and deacons – because the church will ultimately rise to great heights or fall to low depths based on the quality, character, and biblical execution of it’s leaders.
I highly recommend this book for church planters, existing leadership teams, solo pastors, deacons, and elders. It serves as a concise handbook that you can use to strengthen your existing leadership, develop future leaders, and most certainly add health and value to Christ’s church as you seek to be a good steward of its most valuable resources.