Just found this thread a couple of days late. - the system is that the body meets and decides . They try to pretend that it is the action of the H Spirit , but only the gullible believe that. The human elements of friendship and family ties have far more to do with it.
They check that you will accept it , and ask if you have any secret vices that would bar you from serving, then recommend you, and the Society usually rubber stamp the appointment. thus starts a lifetime of elders meetings, hobnobbing with the C/O and generally working your socks off with items,assembly admin, clerical duties and practising an air of pomposity.
When I was first appointed in the 70's, I was sat at the meeting one Thursday (Searching under my seat my songbook at the vital moment) and I heard the speaker announce that I had been appointed an elder!. I swear that it was the biggest shock of my life. In those days no one asked you first. I had never ever considered myself elder material and that particular body was made up of very experienced men of great presence and ability and I felt totally out of my depth. I wish I had had the presence of mind to refuse it , but I was stilll in my 20's and of course you never turned down an assignment, since at that time I believed that it must come from God
Gradually I found my feet and got on with it but I was never totally happy and over the years I suffered a lot of unnecessary grief due to being an elder. I tried to resign on a couple of occasions but was persuaded to stay. Eventually , in 1997 having by then lost the faith I formally resigned , or was I removed ? that is a moot point.