Elder Examination Questions

Discussion in 'Church Office' started by Blue Tick, Apr 16, 2008.

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  1. Blue Tick

    Blue Tick Puritan Board Graduate

    For Pastors, Ruling Elders, and everybody else.

    Upon examination what questions would you (or do you) ask a potential ruling elder candidate?
  2. Gage Browning

    Gage Browning Puritan Board Freshman

    I would start off by asking an elder RE or TE to outline the book of Romans for me- the main theme of the book and then do the same with the Psalms. Men who shepherd will find great help in doctrine and comfort from Romans and the Psalms when their sheep are in times of great need. If a man who aspires to the office doesn't know Romans like the back of his hand then...well you know. It's a good way to start to see if he truly knows his Bible.

    1Tim 4:16 Watch your life and doctrine closely. Persevere in them, because if you do, you will save both yourself and your hearers.
  3. fredtgreco

    fredtgreco Vanilla Westminsterian Staff Member

    Send me an email and I'll send you our exam.
  4. Gage Browning

    Gage Browning Puritan Board Freshman

    That's a great quiz. I once knew a man (standing for ordination) who couldn't name the books in order. Hard to imagine.
    Last edited: Apr 16, 2008
  5. smhbbag

    smhbbag Puritan Board Senior

    How is the above pastoral exam "graded"?

    What is the minimum standard most would apply for passing?
  6. raekwon

    raekwon Puritan Board Junior

    I was not examined individually, but as one of a slate of candidates, so the dynamics were a bit different for my examination.

    Anyway, the first set of questions pertained to our lives and personal Christian experience -- our "testimony", how our relationship with God and the church currently looks, our relationships with our wives and children, etc etc etc. As obvious as it sounds, a man can have quite an acumen of biblical and theological knowledge and still have his home and life as a total shambles.

    Second was Bible knowledge, and the first question was "have you read the Bible". :lol: Most of this section of the exam consisted of each of us being asked to give overviews a particular book or section of books of the Bible, how portions of the OT relate to the NT, where we would take a someone in Scripture if they were dealing with such-and-such an issue, etc.

    Third was theology, which was essentially Westminster Standards, Book of Church Order, and views on certain hot-button issues in the PCA and wider evangelicalism.

    We were then asked to leave the room as a group and called back in individually to be asked to state and defend any exceptions or scruples we had to the denominational standards, and then asked if there were any particular areas of the biblical qualifications for office that we struggle with. After a nerve-wracking . . . five minutes . . . we were called back in collectively and informed that we were all found by the Presbytery to be qualified and competent for the office of Ruling Elder. Two months later we were all elected and two months after that, we were ordained and installed.
  7. danmpem

    danmpem Puritan Board Junior

    Thank you for that. It's true that I have no intention of being in pastoral ministry or an elder of any kind, but that showed me in a huge way, by the sections where I got most of the Biblical questions wrong, that I really need to major in the majors and minor in the minors.
  8. Pergamum

    Pergamum Ordinary Guy (TM)

    For many churches there are plenty of theological questions and not enough life-testimony questions. I have seen several very smart and nit-picky pastors dot all the i's right but alienate their flocks and other pastors.

    Personality, dealings with family, what unbelievers think of a candidate, and areas of life practice seem to hold a heavy place in the apostle Paul's criteria...but not many churches' pastoral examinations.
  9. Pergamum

    Pergamum Ordinary Guy (TM)

    I'll quote Jambo from another thread:

    The congregation should apply the teaching of Paul in 1 Tim 3, Tit 2 etc to each person they are considering.

    Assuming candidates have met the qualifications from Timothy and Titus there is much more. Do they display the fruits of the Spirit? Are they humble? Do they hunger and thirst after righteousness? Are they merciful, pure in heart etc? Do they pursue godliness? Are they men of prayer etc? Will they shepherd the flock or lord it over the flock (1 Pet 5.1-3)?

    None of these elements are found in any written exam or even oral exam.

    And give him a hearty amen.
  10. TimV

    TimV Puritanboard Botanist

    Joshua's quiz is a good one. My favorites, though are those quizes who's most important question is Do you agree with the direction the Session is taking the church?
  11. fredtgreco

    fredtgreco Vanilla Westminsterian Staff Member

    They are found in mine.
  12. Blue Tick

    Blue Tick Puritan Board Graduate

    Pergamum, I think the elder examinations are given after the session has determined that the candidate is fulfilling the requirements in 1 Timoty 3, Titus 2. A session would be foolish to consider a man for the office if these practices aren't evident. The biblical and theology exams are given because an elder is required to teach.

    Any examples? What does being smart have to do with neglecting the flock? I've seen plenty of "not so smart" pastors do the same thing.

    In order to make this statement this person would have to be exposed to every written and oral exam given. Which I assume they haven't.
  13. hollandmin

    hollandmin Puritan Board Freshman

    Man that's a day I just soon not remember!!

    Not because it turned out bad but the process was gruling for me.

    We covered all of the required questions (call, conversion, educational prepardness, etc)Then came the questions. . . just about everything that I could imagine. . . . . it was twice that. I was under the microscope for 6 hours. There were 12 Ministers on my council, I thought I was in court.

    The one question that stuck in my mind was if I knew what the Kenosis Theory was and if I could explain what it suggested. I could remember reading something about it, but at that point in the council (About 5 hours in) I was done, mentally, physically exhausted. Granted later I looked it up and then remembered, but at the time, for get it!!

    Sometimes its not the hard questions that get you its the ones that are obvious!

  14. TimV

    TimV Puritanboard Botanist

    Ah! But you were discerning enough to see his genius, so there's at at least a bit of credit due you :detective:

    The only problem that I have with it is that I could pass it in a couple hours. There should be a "are you a grumpy, cynical guy with a bad temper" question to weed out people like me.
  15. servantofmosthigh

    servantofmosthigh Puritan Board Freshman

    Our church doesn't have a Pastor/Elder "quiz," but interviews the Pastor/Elder with these sample questions in these sample subject areas:

    1. Theology. (Define the Trinity; Explain the Substitutionary Atonement of the Cross; Explain Inerrancy and Sufficiency of Scripture; Differentiate General and Special Revelation; Explain the Gospel message in 1 minute or less).

    2. Church History. (Brief Overview of the Birth of the Reformation & Puritanism; Explain the birth of Baptists; What Role, if any, did Anabaptism have to Baptist History; Give a brief bio of one English Puritan and one American Puritan; Explain the birth and evolution of creeds and confessions).

    3. Ecclesiology. (Define Baptism; Define Lord's Supper; Define the office of the Elder; Define the role of women in the church; Explain Regenerate Church Membership and the role Baptism play to it).

    4. Leadership. (Define biblical leadership; Who's one historical leader outside the Bible and one contemporary leader who has shaped and modeled you; what are the characteristics of a pastor/elder).

    5. Personal. (Identify two gifts that you sense the most fruitful in your life and ministry; conversely, identify two gifts that you sense are the least fruitful in your life and ministry; what talents do you have; what sins are you praying for deliverance (share at least two); how many people have you shared the Gospel message with this week/month and share the events from it).
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