Recommendations to the Governing Body
1 The elder arrangement has been functioning in a fine manner in the congregations as in apostolic days. That Jehovah’s blessing has been richly upon it is indicated by the unity among the elders, ministerial servants and publishers, and also the increases that continue to take place. We do enjoy our increased spiritual prosperity! So that further improvements might be made in the arrangement here are some suggestions that undoubtedly will benefit the elders.
2 When elders or ministerial servants move, the committee should notify the governing body of this departure so that the names can be deleted from our records for that congregation. When deletions are recommended for other reasons, then the committee, writing for the body of elders, should send complete and specific reasons for the recommendation. For example, a brother may request that he be removed, doing this for personal reasons. Of course, in such a case the elders should discuss the matter with the brother. Is he really disqualified Scripturally? Or is it simply that there are circumstances that hinder him from doing as much as he would like? Can the elders be of any help? If, after this discussion, he still feels he should be deleted, then the governing body should be notified, with sufficient information given so that the reasons are made clear.
3 In recommending other deletions, the Scriptural requirement that the brother fails to meet should be specified and then information as to what he has done, or failed to do, to warrant deletion ought to be given. (1 Tim. 3:1-13; Titus 1:5-9) Sometimes a letter recommending deletion simply says it is because the brother now devotes little time to the field service. This really is not sufficient information. The Bible does not specify a certain minimum hour requirement or specify certain times or manner of spreading the good news in order to qualify as an elder. It is certainly to be hoped that all elders and ministerial servants will do whatever they can to aid the congregation to have a large share in the Kingdom proclamation. But individual circumstances vary and each one must do what he feels he can, as his faith and love move him.
4 When a brother’s field activity shows some decrease or he misses some meetings, rather than recommend his deletion as an elder or ministerial servant, the elders should consider his circumstances. Possibly his health or that of some member of his family has not been good. It could be that he is on a different shift in his secular work or has a new job. He might have debts that he must care for and so is working overtime temporarily, though not being materialistic in this. Or maybe he has been discouraged or spiritually low for a time and would benefit from some encouragement. Of course, if he were to downgrade or minimize to others the importance of the witness work or of the meetings, this could be serious. But simply that his activity is not equal to that of some others would not in itself be a basis for his removal.
5 Sometimes letters recommending deletion are received stating it is because of “improper conduct.” Here, too, it would be good to provide further information. What did he do? Was he really involved in serious wrongdoing requiring reproof with a restricting of privileges? Or possibly he just made a mistake, using poor judgment on an occasion, with the congregation still having respect for him and confidence in him as an elder or ministerial servant. Maybe the matter has not become widely known, if at all. If he appreciates that what he did was not wise, has learned a good lesson from the experience and has a good attitude, wanting to improve, then he might be retained. These thoughts will help the body of elders to get a full and balanced view of the matter and then they will be able to report fully in their letter, setting forth their recommendations.
6 All of us appreciate very much the excellent work being done by the elders and ministerial servants as a whole in our congregations. Following these suggestions will make for a more smoothly operating organization as we work together in Jehovah’s service.