In addition to the twelve young men currently present in the congregation (and Lord
willing more to come), the value and need of the involvement of the older men cannot be stated enough. If the younger men are to be elders in the future, they will need the mentorship of those who are perhaps more knowledgeable and more experienced. Hopefully, some of these older men will themselves be able to mentor officially as shepherds of Central North. These men can share their experiences from their years of service as teachers, members, servants, and leaders in the church (albeit not as official elders). While there are many who might fall into this group and assist in the development of the young, the core individuals that come to mind are those who are
most active in the worship, teaching, and preaching. This would include: Joseph Lee, Quintin Le Roux, Rob Wilson, Boon Eng, Walter Chalupsky, Jaracz Heather, Joseph Lee (Singapore), Shane White, and Wally Crous. Leadership seminars and classes are important and likely part of the process; however, thorough development will come more from hands-on experience. When we think about those who were mentored by others in Scripture such as Joshua and Moses, there was no doubt teaching through verbal and written instruction. However, “Most of the development took place through challenging assignments that usually involved a great deal of ‘action learning’ … Moses realized that if Joshua was to lead the nation of Israel, he needed a series of progressively responsible developmental assignments” (Woolfe 205-206). This was truewith Joshua, it was true with the disciples of Jesus, and it is certainly true today. The more involved and the more active someone is, they more prepared they will be.
A word mentioned several times already, and one that is always a part of whether a man serves as an elder is “qualified.” God’s design for His church was to have it shepherded by men who meet certain qualities, conditions, and characteristics. Such aspects generally come from 1 Timothy 3 and Titus 1. When elders are needed, the church looks to these qualifications” as sort of a checklist to see if the potential candidates meet the requirements listed in God’s inspired word. What difference might there be, if instead of crossing our fingers and wishfully hoping that two or three men might qualify, there was a plan from an early age for men to actively strive to be the kind of men mentioned? What if there was training and mentoring in these areas, which assisted and encouraged young men to live as a man of God, with the goal in mind of being an
elder one day?
Such training could take shape in many forms. It could be one-on-one training from the
older men and other elders. It could certainly be from engaging in active learning by doing certain activities. There could also be seminars or training events. Such events are valuable in many ways. They show that elders are important and unique to the church, they bring young men together to build relationships, they can provide teaching on what brings success, they can give experience on making decisions, they can create opportunities for action learning (Byham et al. 230-231). All of these methods and others should be employed in the training process. Over a three to five-year period, the training will focus on four specific areas of development based on the description of the qualities listed in Scripture that an elder should have. Those areas are: Character, Community, Control, Competence.