When I was growing up I was told that the " Holy Spirit " assisted in the selection of elders. Thinking back, it seemed pretty political to me. For those who are/were elders or have/had close relationships with them, how are elders really selected?
How are elders really selected?
A recomendation is made by the BOE in ameeting prior to the CO's visit.
The service group overseers will nominate who they think qualifies in their group.
The body will discuss using the scriptures in Timothy along with the Organised book, whether they feel the nominated brother qualifies. This often gets very petty. They look at the FS hours the brother does. What example he as well his wife and family are in the congregation.
I have even heard what style of shoes someone wears being debated!!!!!!
If the brother is deemed suitable by the body his recomendation will be discussed in the edlers meeting during the CO's visit. He will ask if the recomendation is really unanimous and if anyone in the body has any reservations. Again a debate may ensue.
If the CO agrees with the body he will write "I agree" on his congregation report.
That letter goes to the branch who "rubber stamp" the recommendation.
No Holy Spirit, just petty ill educated men on an ego trip.
I'll tell you-
First off, you have to be a MS of course.
Next, the PO, now COBE and the secretary get together a summary of the field service hours. A person's monthly excel spreadsheet for Jehovah is the number one factor in making someone an elder. In the past, you had to average 10 or more hours, not sure if this has changed much in the last two years since they stopped printing the national average.
If you make the first cut, then you are up for discussion. Points in your favor include if you are a good speaker, a good dresser (seriously, I was in a meeting where one elder didn't like a prospects fashion sense) a brown-noser, don't drop your parts on short notice, and as you mentioned have someone in your corner like a relative or even a close friend in the hall.
Points against you can include not being "visible" (This one ticked me off, as your hours could be great but if they didn't see you then they are questioning your FS methods), dropping parts on short notice, having a wife that doesn't meet the approval of other elders, having kids that aren't quite "perfect enough" or being a poor speaker.
Being a pedophile was OK in the past, but now they take a little closer look at that...
The elder body (sometimes with/sometimes without the C.O.) will debate the most petty things about a guy. Does he or his wife argue, dress improperly, miss regular field recruiting or meetings, go out of their way to help people? Are his shirts too colorful? Is he sweating bullets when he gives a talk?
If he has a minivan for recruiting, it's huge.
If he socializes with elders on a regular basis, it helps big time. Especially if he picks up a tab most of the time at restaurants.
If his wife is hot and dresses conservative, that helps. (If she dresses unconservative, that hurts.)
If his kids are baptized early in years, or at least regular publishers, that's huge.
If his wife is a regular pioneer, it's huge.
If he volunteers regularly for stuff at the KH and at assemblies, that's really huge.
Mostly, he's at the hall all the time and comments at least once every meeting, anyone in his immediate family has close to or more than 10 hours a month in recruiting, he accompanies elders on shepherding visits and makes some kind of effort to be out in recruiting during the C.O. visit, he wears a nice suit on the platform, he's been a ministerial servant for a few years. He's typically in.
This is very interesting to me. It makes a lot of sense now. All my mother ever wanted in life was to be an elder's wife. My dad only made it to M.S. (which wasn't exactly good enough for her). My dad did all of the "right things" for a number of years. However, once my parents started having severe financial problems it seemed like the elders were on my father's case more and more for some reason. So becoming an elder was out of the question.
Based on the info provided, in certain ways the selection process seems very corporate to me.
That's because it's a publishing cult as much as it is a religion.
Side bar about their "processes"... makes me laugh. Kinda like the praying before the Judicial Committee hearing when a person's fate is already planned. Maybe the Holy Spirit told them what decision to make before you arrive.
I had a better shot of being an elder at 14yrs old than I do now. Now that I'm all grown up, I have no one to MAKE ME go to a meeting, or field service or be on time when I do go.
I know of one brother who really reached out. Any help needed at the kh he would do. But he was never appointed. The boe thought he was too much a country boy instead of urban. He was in the cong for about 10 years and moved to another cong. He was immediately made a ministerial servant and a year later an elder. What was the difference between the 2 cong. The PO (COBE) in the new cong was a very, very close friend of his.
I imagine a rousting game of "One Potato, Two Potato" is involved...