What minimum age should a ruling elder be?

Discussion in 'Church Office' started by Osage Bluestem, Feb 5, 2010.

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  1. Osage Bluestem

    Osage Bluestem Puritan Board Junior

    What is the minimum age for a ruling elder either official or in your opinion in your denomination? I'm PCA and I have no idea. However, I have heard of some ruling elders I thought might be a little less than elderly....I guess.
  2. louis_jp

    louis_jp Puritan Board Freshman

    Having had some negative experience with young elders, I would suggest about 40.
  3. Osage Bluestem

    Osage Bluestem Puritan Board Junior

    That's about what I was thinking. It would be hard to follow an "elder" who was under 40.
  4. Tripel

    Tripel Puritan Board Senior

    40 is too high in my opinion. If you're going to set a minimum age (and I don't think you should), I'd say 30
  5. SemperEruditio

    SemperEruditio Puritan Board Junior

    I take it you're under 40...?
  6. Tripel

    Tripel Puritan Board Senior

    Yep. Under 30.
  7. nasa30

    nasa30 Puritan Board Sophomore

    Hey Hey, Why are you picking on the Baptists? :lol:
  8. jambo

    jambo Puritan Board Senior

    I don't believe you can set a minimum age on an elder. A person can meet the qualifications outlined in 1 Timothy and Titus but still not be suitable for eldership. A person needs to be mature, experienced in the Christian life, provide wise counsel, be spiritual, prayerful, able to shepherd the flock etc. One does not become these things quickly but it takes a number of years. Paul states that a test of en elder is whether he can manage his own household well. This would imply that a person would probably be in his 30 s at least before he can demonstrate that he does manage his household well. I know some may argue that a household may be servants and a 20 year old can still rule servants well but by and large it would imply that this is something that is proved over a number of years. Paul also advises that elders should not be new converts and then exhorts Timothy to be an example to those who may look down on his youthfulness. It seems then that maturity and readiness for the office of elder can vary.

    I would say the minimum age for an elder is the age when the congregation recognises his spiritual maturity, can trust him to lead the church forward and to have confidence in his leadership during the difficult days the church finds herself in. For one person that may be at 60, for another it might be 30 something.
  9. PresbyDane

    PresbyDane Puritanboard Doctor

    Well considering that in the bibel you had to be 30 to be considered grown up and Jesus began his ministry at that age because they would look at him as credible.
    I would say 30 years of age + other qualifyers that are not age related

    And to Frank - I am under 30
  10. jambo

    jambo Puritan Board Senior


    I was trying to flick this fly of my screen before I realised it was your avatar. Good job I didn't use a fly swatter.
  11. AThornquist

    AThornquist Puritan Board Doctor

    At least Jesus apparently agrees with our view of baptism. :p
  12. SemperEruditio

    SemperEruditio Puritan Board Junior

    Good thing you didn't swat the computer, I would've felt pretty bad...but not as bad as your computer. :)

    We have an elder who just turned 30. He was ordained at 28. I'm 38 and think he's too young to be taken serious but he does not take himself serious which helps us in taking him serious.... It works but he would be the exception rather than the rule.

    I would say at least 30 to be an elder but I wouldn't disqualify someone under 30. It's just not too many men under 30 have had a life with enough experience to warrant eldership. Military guys or people coming from some 3rd world might fit the bill for under 30 eldership but I have a bias. :D
  13. N. Eshelman

    N. Eshelman Puritan Board Senior

    I'm an elder and only 32 years old.
  14. SemperEruditio

    SemperEruditio Puritan Board Junior

    You're either +2 or -8....haven't decided yet. :D
  15. TimV

    TimV Puritanboard Botanist

    Elder means old. There are exceptions, but elder means old. Deacon means to serve, but elder means old. 50 at least, normally. But there are exceptions. But they're exceptions.
  16. N. Eshelman

    N. Eshelman Puritan Board Senior

    So for most of the country- 65 years old. That is the beginning of old right? You have to have an AARP card.

    In Los Angeles it is 30. You are old and washed up if you are older than 30. :)
  17. lynnie

    lynnie Puritan Board Senior

    They say Timothy was maybe 32-34 and had spent a dozen years in ministry with Paul before he began the senior pastor type thing ordaining elders. I don't see how people can say it is OK to have a TE who just got ordained out of Seminary in his 20s pastoring a church and then say an RE must be much older. I would say the TE should ideally have far more wisdom and experience than an RE. Not sure of the Refomed history on this though.

    Tim...if they got married by 18 and had kids in bible days, they would be grandparents before 40. So that's old if you ask me!
  18. Rich Koster

    Rich Koster Puritan Board Post-Graduate

    I smell MANLAW brewing......
  19. raekwon

    raekwon Puritan Board Junior

    MANLAW (ie: man-made law), indeed.

    Those who think that there should be a minimum age -- what do you do in a church where almost everyone is under that age? Also, what of teaching elders? Should a man not be a (paid, vocational) pastor until he's 40 (or 50 or whatever)? Let's not build a hedge of legalism around God's Word, folks. Maybe it's just my youthful foolishness talking. ;-)

    (I was ordained as a RE at 29. I'm 31 now.)
  20. Edward

    Edward Puritan Board Doctor

    I speak only of myself here, and not of you or others who may have commented. But when I was 30, I was convinced that I was mature enough to be a ruling elder. Several decades on, I am quite convinced that I need a good more maturity before I would be suitable for the office.
    Last edited: Feb 7, 2010
  21. C. M. Sheffield

    C. M. Sheffield Puritan Board Junior

    Paul said to young Timothy,

  22. SolaScriptura

    SolaScriptura Puritan Board Doctor

    So, what about some of these Baptist boys getting ordained to preach at 12 or so? If you're not going to have a minimum, then you've got to be consistent.

    The reality is: I doesn't matter how smart or Godly a person is... there are simply somethings in life that require seasoning on the part of a person in order to give them perspective. Shepherding the Church of God is not to be given to tender young hands.
  23. raekwon

    raekwon Puritan Board Junior

    Absolutely, Ben! No one's arguing for the office of elder to be given into immature hands. Spiritual maturity is a requirement for office. Not only that, but a man must at least be at a point in his life where his househhold management skills can be examined properly. A 12-year-old is no doubt disqualified. But, to assign a numeric age a man must reach before he may be considered is to require more of him than God requires of him. Are we wiser than God?

    Look, I'm not going to kid myself. I know that younger guys like myself have areas in which we need to grow. In probably 95% of PCA churches, a guy like me wouldn't be given consideration (some reasons good, some bad). But the fact remains that God is calling younger men into this office where they're needed.
  24. au5t1n

    au5t1n Puritan Board Post-Graduate

    Jesus is already disqualified for eldership in my old denomination, the Southern Baptist Convention, because of his moderate alcohol consumption. :p
  25. LawrenceU

    LawrenceU Puritan Board Doctor

    This debate has gone on and will go on as long as we need elders in the church of Christ. All I know is there are not nearly enough men who are qualified to be elders in the church of Christ. That is the real shame.
  26. Romans922

    Romans922 Puritan Board Professor

    Wouldn't this be the same as a teaching elder? I was 26 when I was ordained.
  27. raekwon

    raekwon Puritan Board Junior

    The ages of the elders in our church . . .

    TE - 35; REs - 35, 31, 31, 27

    We're a young church. We're going to have young leaders. Now, should we all be elders in every other PCA church, just because we were ordained to serve in this one? Certainly not! Neither should every 40-60 year old elder in the PCA presume that they should be elders in ours. God puts the right men in the right place at the right time.
  28. jogri17

    jogri17 Puritan Board Junior

    If God has giving the gifts and there is a legtimate call, I don't see why a 19 year old man with a wife and kids and has been living independantly from his parents for x of his time couldn't be one if the situation called for it.
  29. kevin.carroll

    kevin.carroll Puritan Board Junior

    In classical usage, presbuteros referred to somone over 50. Interestingly, the Council of Neocaeserea (AD 314) set "canonical age" at 30.

    I have often wondered if we don't ordain men too young. Speaking of myself, I can look back and see that I am a completely different man (in terms of emotional and spiritual maturity) at 42 than I was at 24.
  30. Romans922

    Romans922 Puritan Board Professor

    Not arguing with you, but won't you say that same thing when you are 60 in reference to 42?
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