It is troubling to me that becoming a pastor is more reliant on completing a seminary education than many years of faithfully following God. It seems to me that years of faithful obedience, through times of trial and testing, is a better teacher than years of study. After all, how old was Jesus when he began his public ministry?
And Jesus himself began to be about thirty years of age, being (as was supposed) the son of Joseph, which was the son of Heli, — Luke 3:23 (KJV)
Jesus faithfully did all God’s will from the time he was conceived. God, himself, gave his complete approval of his son.
And the Holy Ghost descended in a bodily shape like a dove upon him, and a voice came from heaven, which said, Thou art my beloved Son; in thee I am well pleased. — Luke 3:22 (KJV)
The qualifications for deacons and elders (bishops) are clearly laid out in Scripture.
This is a true saying, if a man desire the office of a bishop, he desireth a good work. A bishop then must be blameless, the husband of one wife, vigilant, sober, of good behaviour, given to hospitality, apt to teach; Not given to wine, no striker, not greedy of filthy lucre; but patient, not a brawler, not covetous; One that ruleth well his own house, having his children in subjection with all gravity; (For if a man know not how to rule his own house, how shall he take care of the church of God?) Not a novice, lest being lifted up with pride he fall into the condemnation of the devil. Moreover he must have a good report of them which are without; lest he fall into reproach and the snare of the devil. — I Timothy 3:1-7 (KJV)
Likewise must the deacons be grave, not doubletongued, not given to much wine, not greedy of filthy lucre; Holding the mystery of the faith in a pure conscience. And let these also first be proved; then let them use the office of a deacon, being found blameless. Even so must their wives be grave, not slanderers, sober, faithful in all things. Let the deacons be the husbands of one wife, ruling their children and their own houses well. For they that have used the office of a deacon well purchase to themselves a good degree, and great boldness in the faith which is in Christ Jesus. — I Timothy 3:8-13 (KJV)
In the book of Acts, we are told of the standard applied in selecting those to serve tables and minister to the widows.
Wherefore, brethren, look ye out among you seven men of honest report, full of the Holy Ghost and wisdom, whom we may appoint over this business. — Acts 6:3 (KJV)
The seven chosen are then listed. Of that seven, we are told more about Stephan who was later martyred for his faith. Why were such men chosen? It is because taking care of widows is important work to God!
Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father is this, To visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, and to keep himself unspotted from the world. — James 1:27 (KJV)
Many churches today are more concerned about reaching the culture and youth. There are many accounts of elderly leaving the church because of these changes. Some churches view this as necessary to fulfill their calling to reach the lost. The Church is a place of ministry to God’s people. It is not a business! The Christians are the ones who reach out to the lost through ministering to physical needs and sharing the Word of Truth.
Why has the church lost its way? Perhaps it is in how we pick church leadership. Perhaps we are not looking at leaders the way God does. It is His Church, after all!