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1938 - Theocratic Procedures are introduced for the appointment of elders

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    • By The Librarian
      "We do not have a paid clergy in our organization. Instead, as was done when the Christian congregation got its start, qualified overseers are appointed “to shepherd the congregation of God.” (Acts 20:28) These elders are spiritually mature men who take the lead in the congregation and shepherd, “not under compulsion, but willingly before God; not for love of dishonest gain, but eagerly.” (1 Peter 5:1-3)"

      Each congregation of Jehovah's Witnesses has a body of unpaid elders, who are responsible for teaching the congregation. Elders maintain general responsibility for congregational governance, pastoral work, selecting speakers and conducting meetings, directing the public preaching work and creating "judicial committees" to investigate and decide disciplinary action for cases that are seen as breaching scriptural laws.

      There are no secular educational requirements for Witness elders. Elders are considered "overseers" based on the biblical Greek term, ἐπίσκοπος (episkopos, typically translated "bishop"). 

      "The word "overseer" is translated from the Greek word episkopos, which literally means "one who visits and inspects." It applies in Jehovah's organization to one who watches out for and takes care of the interests of God's flock. The apostle Paul says, at 1 Timothy 3 :1 (NW) :"If any man is reaching out for an office of overseer, he is desirous of a right kind of work." " - Qualified to be Ministers(1955)

      Before 2014 prospective elders were recommended from among ministerial servants and former elders by the local elder body for appointment by the branch; Now the Circuit Overseer appoints and deletes elders.(
      branch offices may also approve appointments to local Congregation Service Committees. As of September 2014, it will be the responsibility of circuit overseers to appoint the elders and ministerial servants, similar to how described by the Bible in Acts. This is in an April 2014 letter to congregations. Previously they were recommended for appointment by the local body of elders and then appointed by the Service Desk at HQ. Before that a congregation or company servant was appointed by the branch office. Before October 1932 (watchtower citation needed) such brothers were elected by the local congregations.
       
      Qualifications for Overseers
      The Apostle Paul set down the qualifications for overseers at 1 Timothy 3:1-7 and Titus 1:5-9


      Service Committee roles include:
      Coordinator of the Body of Elders: (previously known as the Presiding Overseer) chairs elders’ meetings, assigns duties and speakers for most congregation meetings, and oversees financial matters. (as of Sept 2014 he must be less than 80 years of age)
      Service Overseer: organizes matters related to public preaching, and oversees those handling Witness literature and territories.
      Congregation Secretary: maintains congregation records, reports congregation activity to the branch headquarters, advises the congregation about conventions and assemblies, and oversees those handling accounts.[1]
       
      Additional roles within the body of elders include:
      Watchtower Study Conductor: leads the weekly study of The Watchtower.[2]
      Theocratic Ministry School Overseer: conducts the Theocratic Ministry School, assigns student assignments, counsels students with a goal to improving their preaching skills, and conducts bi-monthly question-and-answer reviews.[3][4]
      Auxiliary Counselor: responsible for providing private counsel, as needed, to elders or ministerial servants that handle meeting parts.
      Operating Committee Members: responsible for the care of the building and property of Kingdom Halls that are shared by two or more congregations.
      Group Overseers: oversee groups for public preaching and pastoral care.[4]
      Public Talk Coordinator: schedules speakers and talks for the public meetings and co-ordinates traveling speakers from his congregation.
      Literature Coordinator: responsible for inventory, ordering, and distribution of literature for Kingdom Halls that are shared by two or more congregations.
       
      Additional roles outside the body of elders include:
      City Overseer
      Convention Overseer
      Rooming Overseer
      Headquarter's Representative ( Hello guest! Please register or sign in (it's free) to view the hidden content. ) (sometimes referred to as a Traveling Overseer)
      District Overseer (position deleted) (sometimes referred to as a Traveling Overseer)
      Circuit Overseer (sometimes referred to as a Traveling Overseer)

      (1 Timothy 5:17) 17 Let the older men who preside in a fine way be reckoned worthy of double honor, especially those who work hard in speaking and teaching.
       
      In Watchtower Publications elders are sometimes biblically referred to as:
      Teachers
      Glorious Ones
      Overseer
      Capable Men
      Stars in the right hand of Jesus (See Revelation)
      Dukes
      Gifts in men
      Princes (Not all elders, only GB Helpers, and Circuit Overseers)
      "Hiding place from the wind"
      Committee Chairman (or member)
      Zone Overseer (Term has been retired from use)
      Branch Committee member
      Presiding Overseer (Term has been retired from use)
      Coordinator of the Body of Elders COBE
      Congregation Servant (Term has been retired from use)
      "Spiritually qualified older men"
      Pillars in the truth
      "Those keeping watch over your souls.."
      Mighty men
      Sheiks
      Shepherds
       
      Historical Publications Referencing Elders
      The New Creation, Watch Tower, 1904, pages 289-290, "The administration of discipline is not the function of the elders only, but of the entire [congregation]. ... If the reproved one fails to clear himself, and continues in the error or sin, then two or three brethren without previous prejudice should be asked to hear the matter and advise the disputants. (Elders they may or may not be, but their eldership would add no force or authority in the case except as their judgment might be the riper and their influence the more potent.) If this committee decide unanimously with either party, the other should acquiesce and the matter be wholly at an end--correction, or restitution, so far as possible, being promptly made. If either of the original disputants still persists in the wrong course, the [accuser, a committee member] or, preferably, all of these together, may then (but not sooner) exercise their privilege of bringing the matter before the [congregation]. Thus it is evident that the Elders were in no sense to be judges of the members—hearing and judgment were left to the [congregation]. The two preliminary steps (above mentioned) having been taken, the facts being certified to the elders, it would be their duty to call a general meeting of the [congregation], as a court--to hear the case in all of its particulars, and in the name and reverence of its Head to render a decision. ... if the transgressor refuse to hear (obey) the decision of the entire [congregation], ... the [congregation] is to withdraw from him its fellowship and any and all signs or manifestations of brotherhood. [emphasis retained from original]
       
      Talks Regarding Elders
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      See also

      Kingdom Ministry School for the 2015 Service Year

      List of JW Terminology
      Bethel Elder (no longer used) 
      Traveling Overseer
      Kingdom Ministry School
      School for Congregation Elders 
      2011 Manual - School for Congregation Elders Hello guest! Please register or sign in (it's free) to view the hidden content.
       
      Publications referencing Elders
      2015 Amendments included in this 2012 printing of the "Shepherd the Flock of God"
      2014 Letters to Bodies of Elders

      July 13, 2014 Letter to Body of Elders (regarding appointment and deletion of elders and ministerial servants)
      2005 - Organized to do Jehovah's Will
      2013 Kingdom Ministry School Videos (Elders only viewing please)
      1991 - ks-91E * "Pay Attention to Yourselves and to All the Flock"
      2010 - ks-10E * 'Shepherd the Flock of God' (Revised version)
      1977 - "Pay Attention to Yourselves and to All the Flock"
      1961 - Kingdom Service Questions
      1955 - Qualified to be Ministers
      1961-2010-Elder-Manuals-Combined-R.pdf References
      Our Kingdom Ministry 10/98 p. 7 par. 1-2 Overseers Taking the Lead—The Secretary, "As a member of the Congregation Service Committee, he cares for the congregation’s communications and important records. ... He directly oversees those handling accounts and subscriptions as well as all convention-related matters." Our Kingdom Ministry 12/98 p. 8 Overseers Taking the Lead—The Watchtower Study Conductor Our Kingdom Ministry 11/98 p. 8 Overseers Taking the Lead—The Theocratic Ministry School Overseer Our Kingdom Ministry'10/07 p. 3 Theocratic Ministry School Schedule for 2008' The Congregation Book Study—Why We Need It, Our Kingdom Ministry June 2004, p. 4 pars. 4-5.
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