What is the Bethel Elder Arrangement?
Branch Organization Manual pp 2-1, 2-2
6. BETHEL ELDERS: Bethel elders are those who
qualify to serve in a special capacity in Bethel in addition
to their assignment as elders in a congregation. They are
appointed by the Governing Body from recommendations
made by the Branch Committee. The qualifications
of all brothers in Bethel who have served as congregation
elders for at least three years should be reviewed at
least once each year to see if they qualify to be recommended
as Bethel elders. Recommendations to the
Governing Body by the Branch Committee should show
the date of birth of those recommended, date of baptism,
and the reasons why those recommended should be
7. Qualifications of all elders are found in 1 Timothy
3:1-7; Titus 1:6-9; 1 Peter 5:2, 3, and in other scriptures.
A Bethel elder not only meets the Scriptural qualifications
for elders in a congregation, but does so in a fuller and
more complete way, so that he is equipped to handle
more exacting responsibilities in the realm of Bethel
8. The qualifications as stated in 1 Timothy 4:12 to be
“an example to the faithful ones in speaking, in conduct,
in love, in faith, in chasteness” should be applied when
recommending a Bethel elder. This would include his
conduct in the home, at work, at the table, and in all of
his affairs, even those outside of the congregation. Does
he build up and support the operation of the Bethel
home, or is he unjustly critical and a complainer? Does
he take his assignments cheerfully and is it pleasant to
work with him? Is he approachable and one whom the
brothers would want to go to with their problems? If married,
does he fulfill the Scriptural requirements of a
Christian husband? Is he a good example for all in the
9. Very young brothers or those new in the Bethel family
who have not demonstrated their qualifications long
enough would most likely not be recommended. The
Branch Committee should not be hasty in making its
recommendations even though some persons may qualify
in their local congregations. (1 Tim. 5:22) If in doubt, it
is best to wait. But all who do qualify should be recommended.
Circuit and district overseers who become
members of the Bethel family may be recommended
whenever it is felt appropriate, perhaps after a short period
to adjust to Bethel service, if it appears they qualify.
One who is a Bethel elder would not usually be removed
unless guilty of serious misconduct. Older brothers who
are elders may not be able to speak as well and do as
much in the field service as some of the younger brothers,
but there is no reason to remove them if they do
qualify Scripturally and their judgment is good. These
older ones do serve as fine, loyal examples in the congregation
of God and at the Bethel home where they live
10. It may be that a brother qualifies as a Bethel elder
because of his good judgment and is well respected and
can give wise counsel to the brothers and sisters. However,
he may not have all the qualities of a public
speaker who could be assigned out to serve other congregations.
The Branch Committee could recommend
him as a Bethel elder, but he would not be used for
speaking assignments. Later on he may improve and
could be used as a public speaker also. The Branch
Committee will decide this when appropriate.
11. In some larger branches it may be advantageous to
have elder groups made up of Bethel elders to share in
the responsibility of assisting the Branch Committee as
they take care of the brothers and sisters who are members
of the Bethel family. (Titus 2:6, 7) The elder groups
may help in making recommendations or with any problems
that individuals may have. In this respect they do
not decide on the every-day operation of the branch or
changes that are to be made. They principally assist in
giving commendation and in caring for personal problems.
Of course, the Branch Committee is free to seek
information or suggestions from such elder groups.
12. Branches should arrange to have a Bethel elders’
meeting twice a year. Responsible Bethel elders can be
asked for their suggestions on subjects to be discussed.
Thereafter, the Branch Committee can assign committee
members or selected Bethel elders to develop outlines
and present these in brief talks to the assembled elders.
This regular communication with the Bethel elders is
helpful in keeping them well informed and provides an
opportunity to encourage them and assists them to fulfill
their responsibility within the branch arrangement. The
Branch Committee may request sample outlines from
the Personnel Committee for such meetings if they desire.