Ryan Hagey

Become an Elder Before You Are Elderly

I’d like to challenge the younger men in our assemblies to give serious thought to becoming an elder. The role isn’t for everyone, but I fear most men in my age group (I’m 36) have not even given it any serious contemplation. I think this is a mistake, as there is definitely a need for younger men to be on the oversight. Below are three reasons I believe younger men need to consider entering into leadership roles in their local assembly.

Relating to Younger Generations

First, younger men are needed as elders because they can better relate to a younger generation and the issues impacting them. Some of the issues facing young people today didn’t even exist a decade or two ago, and it may be difficult for some of the older men in leadership roles to identify with them. After all, some of them would be able to remember the first person on their street to get a black and white television, and may still be somewhat uncomfortable using a computer.

In comparison, today’s youth are growing up in a world of increased connectivity, where they can find out what is happening all over the world just by looking on their phone. The use of technology is just one example of the differences between the generation leading most assemblies and the younger generation.

Fresh Ideas

Second, younger men are needed as elders because they are willing to do things differently. I’m not suggesting they would want to do anything that is clearly against the teaching of the Bible, but some changes could be beneficial. This could take many forms, such as introducing newer songs, a greater use of technology in the meetings, or even looking at the meeting times and format. These changes may seem radical to some, so any changes would have to be handled with a great degree of graciousness so as not to offend.

I am not advocating change solely for the sake of change, but I also believe that staying stagnant is not a viable solution. There seem to be fewer and fewer young people staying in assemblies, and I believe one of the reasons for this is that the young people don’t feel like the meetings are keeping up with the times. If an assembly insists on continuing to do things exactly the same way for 50 years, it may find there aren’t many people under 50 in the congregation.

Working with Wisdom

Third, younger men are also needed as elders because there is a great deal of wisdom that could be passed along to them by the older elders. If the younger men wait too long to take part in the leadership of the local assembly, they may miss valuable opportunities to learn at the feet of those who have already walked that road. Years of experience can go a long way towards avoiding potential pitfalls. I can personally vouch for this as I have been the beneficiary of some wise counsel from men who have been in a leadership role since before I was even born. This kind of guidance has greatly helped me as a young elder and may be available to you in your local assembly.

Younger men need to consider taking on a leadership role in their local assembly. Their ability to relate to the younger generation, their willingness to do things differently, and the opportunity to be taught by an older generation should not be wasted.

Ryan Hagey


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    Well said brother! Couldn’t agree more. Excellent and precise.
    At the risk of becoming less precise, just one thing came to mind. In regards to relating to the younger generation, there is also a need in the Church for young elders due to the onslaught of online opinions weakening the Church. There is a war for the minds of the users of cyber space and without knowledge or connectedness the Church will be taken unawares. Great is the need for godly young men as elders (and young women as mentors) to step into the online world if anything to prevent problems and protect the flock.
    Thanks again Ryan. Blessings to you and your family.


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    Very good article Ryan and a good challenge to younger men to get involved. It seems also from other articles that there is a big divide between the older and the younger but this is not always so. If you ask the older men at what age they became an elder in the Assembly it would surprise you when they started. I would say most were in their mid thirties to early 40’s. In my home Assembly in Scotland I became an elder age 32 after being in the assembly since age 15. It is not a matter of how old you are but what commitment and experience you have gained in the Christian life. When Paul says “not a novice” he is not relating to age but to experience. When I became an elder along with another brother age 30 we came on the oversight because the present elders in their 80’s could not continue by reason of age. They were good men and their help behind the scenes was so valuable
    and having passed on the baton gave tremendous support even though we did things differently from them. Jim Paul


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    I agree with Jim and Graham. Us older guys need to step back out of the way. On the Biblical Eldership Resources team, the three oldest guys (all in our 60’s) have stepped down as elders in our respective assemblies – so as to make room for younger view-points without our overriding influence controlling things.
    Great article.


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    Eldership is not an honorary position. It is a working job, and it is a vigorous job. When we consider candidates for eldership we may point to 1 Tim. 3:1 and ask “do you desire the work?” To become an elder a man must be determined to do the work. If a person has been in the position of an elder for some time and discovers that he no longer likes doing the work, no longer has the energy for the work, nor intends to do the work should he stay on in that position? The obvious answer is that he should step aside and let those that are willing and able step in.


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    I like the idea driving the article. I believe the younger men should be challenged to step up and seek the wisdom to lead as an elder. My issue with the article is that it seems instead of being addressed to the younger men, to challenge them, it is addressed to the older men, the elders, to plead your case. I would encourage you to rewrite with the point of view as to educate someone on how to seek the wisdom to be an elder. With points about whom to and not to seek wisdom from, like the most popular or the one that can quote the most scripture or the ones that pray the longest are not always the wisest. And to pray earnestly to see if God wants them to be an elder at all. You do make some valid points for having younger elders, especially in the changing world. I just think that it is addressed to the wrong crowd.


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      Hi Chris, thanks for the comment. I didn’t see Ryan’s article as being written to older men. I think he was just stating the truth about why younger men are needed to challenge the younger men to consider this role. We will be having many articles on leadership and some of them will be about the things you mention.


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    All the generations need to do the work together.

    I’m an elder’s wife and a mother of three sons in their 20’s. One point I was making to my sons just this week is that the assembly needs each generation to participate and do the work. We have a great mix of ages and good participation in the breaking of bread. But, those in their 20’s can also handle the technology, the heavy lifting or cleaning, the maintenance and ministering to others. Everyone should be doing something. Everyone should be serving one another.

    Obviously all generations need to be studying the word and praying to develop wisdom and guidance from the Lord. It’s important that they are serving their families first.

    Then the issue is that the younger generation needs to learn to take the initiative and see things through. Jump right in there! If you say you will do something, do it. As they say, 90% of the work is done by 10% of the people. It should never be that way in an assembly.

    If those in their 20’s and 30’s are doing their part, the elders have more time to minister to the spiritual needs. Plus the younger generation is involved and learning through that process, preparing to be more and more involved in the work of the Lord, serving others, and loving God. Preparing themselves to become elders and mentors.

    There really is no shortcut.


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    Here is the interesting thing. Most roles in an assembly, young men are encouraged to volunteer for. It’s great for a young man to offer to lead singing, pray, teach Sunday School, do maintenance and repair around the building, but there are two where it usually taboo to volunteer yourself, you should wait to be asked: to preach from the pulpit and to be an elder. If a young man comes to leadership and says something like, “I would like to be an elder” or “I would like to deliver the sermon”, he will be looked at suspiciously.


    • Bernadette Veenstra

      Bernadette Veenstra

      About those two things…it’s so true. But, the Bible teaches that it is a good thing to desire to be an elder. We need to change our thoughts on the process, bring them in line with scripture. And we need to stop judging hearts.


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    Gave some teaching on that subject recently, encouraging older elders to encourage younger brethren to be exercised about this responsibility and bring them on board to learn from their experience in guiding the assembly and shepherding the saints.


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