Good evening from Scotland. I was hoping to share some thoughts through this question tonight as a means to get some feednback and opinions on this meaty subject. This is a little more of serious one than I'd normally post however, I pray a reader will sense the tone of my thoughtlife and I hope those of you who are beginning to know us more know we're not extreme Christians or ranters. This is just some genuine thought of mine and I hope you enjoy the content of the article. God bless Would you allow an unqualified surgeon to operate on your child or a family member? Then why would we allow unqualified men oversee and shepherd men, women and children within the body of Christ? The above, is a statement which has stuck with me throughout my life as a Christian as I've observed and partook in the activities surrounding church and Christianity and it's not a thought put forward to provoke anger, suspicion or start witch-hunts, but rather to allow a deep consideration of the question with the wonder of, is this the problem with some Christian assemblies today? When you consider it in the light of a surgeon, you could ask yourself quite plainly, would I allow an unqualified individual operate on my child, a person who 'kind of knows' what they're doing, one if you were to ask the question 'have you much experience?' with the reply being, 'no not really but I'll manage once I get in there'. Would you say 'yes, on you go, I'm sure it will be fine' or would you say 'sorry no, I'd rather you didn't perform surgery on my child and we'll only consider a fully qualified, experienced surgeon'. So with that in mind, how much more important is it with God and the things of God, as we're not dealing with the possibility of death or faulty work, we're dealing with the ultimate finality of God's Word and Heaven and Hell, not to mention the hearts and minds of adults, youth, children and the Elder. Think on it for a moment, how much damage has been done from unwise decisions having been taken, immature or tactless words being spoken and actions, which have torn an assembly in two and damaged the gospel message. Many experienced Christians will I'm afraid, agree that the these situations are highly common in some assemblies and the problems and consequences of the result, often run deep causing many other issues and hurt in others. Now just to clarify, I believe the true Body of Christ has thousands upon thousands of great godly Pastors, overseers and elders both known and unknown, who are not just hirelings but true shepherds loving and caring for the individuals in which they are responsible. There are on top of that, millions of true Christians operating in various ways through different outlets to build the body and preach the gospel, so I hope by the this article I'm being very clear and balanced however, the issues raised above are far too common to ignore and dealing with symptoms, will only ever put plasters (band aids) over wounds, which need dealt with at their root. So, I'd like to put forward a very brief teaching of that root for you to consider today, to see if you'd agree and what your viewpoints might be on this crucial subject. One universal truth concerning the New Testament scriptures is that each and every book was written to churches or overseers of churches and the latter has a tremendous example of not just an overseer but an overseer of overseers, Paul's Son in the Faith Timothy. Timothy at the point of these two books had been given the oversight of Ephesus by Paul the Apostle and when you read through all of Paul's precepts and encouragements, you find that all are directed toward the correct mode of church and assembling as believers (mirrored in Titus). You also find that for the overseer, these precepts were not if you want to or if you wish, it was this has to be done whether you agree or not. Paul even said at one point to his beloved son, 'I command you in the name of the Lord and elect Pastors do these things without preferring one before the other'. It was these statements which gave this book an overtone of seriousness and responsibility and not one where you could hide behind, these things were required by the Lord Jesus Christ to care for the assemblies in the correct manner. In this, Paul gave a detailed description of what a Bishop (Greek Ep-is-kop-os overseer) was required including, an individual who took care of his own house well and, not a novice, lest he be lifted up in pride and fall into the condemnation of the devil. The interesting aspect of this passage was Paul’s Words, they MUST be, this statement was in the same vein of you MUST be born-again, it’s not you can kind of be born again or sort of, you MUST. So there was a real black and white list of requirements set forth for the overseer. I have to say, when you look at the list, it’s not that complicated or unattainable given the correct growth in the Lord but according to his Word, it is required. This was though the requirement and the only passage other than Titus in which Paul gives clear instructions to the overseers to not appoint men to positions without first proving them. Paul went on to say to ‘lay hands on no man suddenly’ that is, don’t put an individual forward rashly or you’ll be approving of his sin. So, I would ask you what do you think? I realise this is a bit of a meaty subject and I would really like to stress again, that this is applying to a certain few, not the Lord’s appointed and anointed, I fear the Lord too much to speak out of turn however there is a time where we need to be honest and see things plainly for what they are. This isn’t for the sake of ourselves, it’s for the sake of the congregations of believers young and old who can become extremely hurt through the actions of an unqualified overseer and it’s something I believe requires some thought. One last thought – After having his road to Damascus experience, spending three years in the wilderness, serving the church as a missionary for many years, the spirit of the Lord finally spoke requiring Saul be separated for the work he was called to do (Acts 13) . Now you’d think the overseers at the time would have put him through and forward no problem given his past however, they fast and prayed beforehand confirming the words of God and finally, they laid hands on him and set him forth not as Saul, but Paul the Apostle. This was how serious the early church took the ordination of overseers, do we? Qualified Called of God – 1st Corinthians 12 – as it has please him.... Qualified – 1st Timothy 3 – An overseer must be.... Fruitful – You will know them by their fruits... God bless…..