Church & Conference Election
In view of the responsibilities of church officers and the character of work required of them, the electing of church officers is an important work. This duty should be entered upon in prayer, well-ordered, and serious manner. Only such persons should be chosen who fully expect to fulfill the specific duties of the office for which they have been elected.
Choosing officers for the church or conference is an important matter. The prosperity of the work depends largely upon its leadership. The greatest care should be exercised in calling men and women into positions of sacred responsibility. The following qualifications should be earnestly sought in those who are nominated for church office.
Moral fitness. “Moreover thou shalt provide out of all the people able men, such as fear God, men of truth, hating covetousness; and place such over them, to be rulers of thousands, and rulers of hundreds, rulers of fifties, and rulers of tens.” Ex. 18:21.
“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.
“Moreover he must have a good report of them which are without, lest he fall into reproach and the snare of the devil.” 1 Tim. 3:7.
“The things that thou hast heard of me among many witnesses, the same commit thou to faithful men, who shall be able to teach others also.” 2 Tim. 2:2.
ELECTION OF DELEGATES
“He God has so arranged matters that chosen men shall go as delegates to our Conferences. These men are to be tried and proved. They are to be trustworthy men. The choosing of delegates to attend our Conferences is an important matter. These men are to lay the plans that shall be followed in the advancement of the work and therefore they are to be men of understanding, able to reason from cause to effect.” Test. For the Church, Vol. 9, p. 262.
“Every member of the Church has a voice in choosing officers of the Church. The Church chooses the officers of the state Conferences. Delegates chosen by the state Conference choose the officers of the Union Conference, and delegates chosen by the Union Conferences choose the officers of the General Conference. By this arrangement every institution, Church and individual, either directly or through representatives, has a voice in the election of the men who bear the chief responsibilities in the General Conference.” Test. for the Church, vol. 8, p. 236-237.
It is customary in the Church for the officers to be proposed by a Nominating Committee. Only members in good standing who are faithful, possessing good judgment should be elected as members of the Committee. If possible, former officers should not be elected to the Nominating Committee, but rather neutral, spiritual brothers and sisters who make proposals in an unbiased manner.
The Committee must impartially propose the brothers and sisters for offices as will best serve for the blessing and progress of God’s work.
This Committee brings its report to the church which then acts on the names presented. This procedure enables the Church to give careful study to each name prior to election, and avoids the public competitive element that may arise when nominations are made from the floor.
The Nominating Committee shall study the needs of the Church and make careful inquiry into the fitness of members to serve in the different offices. “It will be far better to criticize the man before he is put into office than afterward, better to pray and counsel before taking the decisive step than to labour to correct the consequences of a wrong move.” Test. for the Church, vol. 5, p. 618.
DUTY OF DELEGATES
“In carrying forward the Lord’s work at home and abroad, those in positions of responsibility must plan wisely so as to make the best possible use of men and of means.” Counsels to Parents, Teachers, and Students, p. 524.
“Wise planning is needed to place each one on his proper sphere in the work, in order that he may obtain an experience which will fit him to bear increased responsibility.” Letter 45, 1889 (E.V. p. 95)
A delegate to a Conference Session or Constituency meeting is not chosen to represent merely the Church or Conference electing him. When he is seated he should view the work as a whole, remembering that he is responsible for the welfare of the work in every part of the field. It is not permissible for Church or Conference delegations to organize or attempt to direct their votes as a unit. Nor is it permissible for the delegates from a Church or Conference to claim preeminence in directing affairs in a Conference Session. Each delegate should be susceptible to the direction of the Holy Spirit and cast his vote according to his personal convictions. Any Church or Conference officers or leaders attempting to control the votes of a group of delegates would be considered disqualified for holding office. Nothing of a political nature should be allowed to come into this work.
Acts 1:21-26. (v.24-26) “And they prayed, and said, Thou, Lord, which knowest the hearts of men, shew whether of these two Thou hast chosen, that he may take part of this ministry and apostleship, from which Judas by transgression fell, that he might go to his own place. And they gave forth their lots, and the lot fell upon Matthias; and he was numbered with the eleven apostles,” by the working of the Holy Spirit. “When the Holy Spirit works the human agent, it does not ask in what way it shall operate. Often it moves in unexpected ways.” TM 64.
“Never educate men to look to men, to trust in men; for man’s wisdom is not sufficient to decide as to their right to engage in the Lord’s work. When God lays a work upon individuals, men are not to reject His sanction.” TM 95.
“Ministers, do not dishonour your God and grieve His Holy Spirit, by casting reflections on the ways and manners of the men He would choose. God knows the character. He sees the temperament of the men He has chosen. He knows that none but earnest, firm, determined, strong feeling men will view this work in its vital importance, and will put such firmness and decision into their testimonies, that they will make a break against the barriers of Satan.” TM 412, 413.
“God is at the head of the work, and He will set everything in order. If matters need adjusting at the head of the work, God will attend to that, and work to right every wrong. Let us have faith that God is going to carry the noble ship which bears the people of God safely into port.” 2 SM 390. AMEN.
Golden Kayawa Hingabantu