Author Archive

“Timothy” Blogs

November 21, 2008


We are simply proponents of an idea, that we believe is biblical, and hope to be a tool in the reform of the way ministers are raised up in the Church.  There are many “Timothys” out there who have been practicing the concepts that we advocate for a longer amount of time and with more consistency than us, and we want to promote their success.  We are a few of many “Timothys”, and we are simply serving as a mouthpiece for the many.

Simply put, we want your blog.  We want your voice.  Add your blog to our new “Timothy” blog roll!

If you blog, and you are a “Timothy” who is engaging in mentorship, theological education, pre-eldership ministry and the development of character as preparation for leadership in tomorrow’s Church, we want to promote your blog.

Or, if you are not a “Timothy” per say, but are an ardent supporter of the Paul & Timothy concept (and you blog about it!), we want to promote your blog.

Simply comment in response to this post and we will add you to the new “Timothy” blog roll.  To view our mission page, click here.

Preach The Word :: The Paul and Timothy Guys

What are we to do?: Email from an Irish Timothy, and Public Response

September 18, 2008

We received an email from a brother from Ireland who stumbled upon the Paul & Timothy Website. He sent us an email that contains very relevant and pertinent questions for young men, aspiring to eldership and preparing for the rest of their life. We have asked him if we could respond to his email in the form of a blog post. Here is his email:

I came across your site and I have no idea if this email gets to the guys who started ‘paul and timothy’ or to some other people, but I thought I would get in touch anyway as your vision really resonated with me. I would really appreciate any random advice or insight you may have on my situation (if you have the time to give it).

I am 23, married with two small kids and a pregnant wife and I currently live in Northern Ireland employed by a church to coordinate the youth work. I have been doing that for a couple of years straight after I left seminary and feel compelled to preach, pastor, and we want to church plant. The issue I am now facing though is the exact one you guys are raising – I am not going to be a ‘career youth worker’, yet I know I need to gain more wisdom and experience before I could ‘elder’. So the choice I am facing is to either a) cut my hours in the church to part time in order to work a job half the time and ‘ministry’ half the time or b) get a full time regular job and put the pastor-esque ministry work slightly more in the backburner for a few years. My church leaders have affirmed God’s call to plant, pastor and preach – we are now just trying to work out the route God wants us to take before we get there! When I saw your site I thought it was so relevant to me I would drop you guys a line – wisdom from an abundance of counselors….Any general perspective or advice from yourselves would be great – though I’m sure you’re all busy.

Really appreciate your time to read this and I will be in prayer for you guys and the conference. Blessings.

Here is our response:

Dear Brother,
Thank you for taking the time to email us. Your story resonates with all of us on the Paul and Timothy Team, and we believe, thousands of other young ministers around the globe.

We experience your same desire to preach and plant churches. Because of God’s Sovereign kindness toward us sinners, the Kingdom of God has been made manifest in our lives in a way that brings us great joy. How can we aspire to anything else but to work for the propagation of this gospel that has liberated us and brought us peace with our Maker? We want to preach about the blood of Christ that has made atonement for our sins at every opportunity! We want to do everything we can to help the Church to treasure the gift they have been given, as they ought to, for their joy and for God’s glory! We want them to carefully guard the doctrines that have been entrusted to them and fend the wolves that would seek to devour them. We have a desire to preach, to teach, and to shepherd.

These same impulse seems to be present in your life as well: a zeal and a sense of call to pursue a life of ministry to the Church and reaching out to the lost. These impulses, from the Holy Spirit, must be responded to. We must serve the Church and evangelize the lost; it is a matter of obedience. But the question is… how?

Our youth and inexperience do not adequately compliment our zeal. A careful look at the qualifications for elders/pastors, given to us in Titus and Timothy, show us that we do not yet have the character for the task, even if we do have the skill set.

We see four different routes that one could go when faced with this dilemma. We have described what those four routes look like, below. They are in order, starting with what we believe is the least desirable option, and ending with we believe is the best option one could take when faced with this dilemma.

1. One option would be to take up the office of elder, even though we may seem under-aged and under-qualified through the lens of the Pastoral Epistles. Because more and more of evangelical churches are looking for educated men, even if they are not biblically qualified, it is possible for a young man in his twenties to procure a pastoral position at a church, right out of Seminary or Bible College. We believe that the church has suffered greatly because of this. Young men in this position are pressured to make the ministry a vocation while the verdict is still out on their leadership ability, as will be later witnessed by the fruit from their children, and in the home. They are often taken away from investing in their family, their primary responsibility, in order to invest in the church. We believe that this has contributed to the destabilization of the Christian family, and can often lead to moral failure. Elders are to be examples, and above reproach on how to cultivate a Godly family life. God has chosen to call the office “eldership” because it is not intended for “youngsters”.

2. Another option is to take up a youth pastoring position as a stepping stone for eldership. Many young 20 somethings have chosen this route. However, we see danger in using youth ministry as a stepping stone for “something greater”. Not only does it communicate that our youth are the experimental training grounds of unproven pastors, but it causes ministers not to take ministry to youth as seriously. We should put our best into teaching and discipling young people. If your heart is in youth ministry, then minister there with your whole heart and die a youth pastor. But being a youth pastor doesn’t necessarily prepare you to be an elder. People should minister to young people because they have a burden for the youth, not because it is the way to become the lead pastor of a congregation. Paul says that a man who is an exemplary householder is also the man who possesses the qualities of an elder. The household is the primary training grounds for eldership. Focus on discipling your wife and your children. Be a federal husband and father. Take responsibility for your family and learn to shepherd them. By leading, shepherding, loving, caring, and laying your life down for them, God will prepare you to lead His bride.

3. Yet another option is to ignore the call of God for a later time, seeing that we currently not character qualified for the ministry. We can then pursue an unrelated career and fail to improve in the necessary skill sets that are often useful to eldership. Many young men who choose this option lose their vision for leadership in the Church, and never fulfill their God given desire for eldership.

4. A final option (and the one we recommend most!), is to seek to be bi-vocational and active in a mentored ministry. Look for a steady job that is either very flexible or will help you in the development of your gifts (something that involves entrepreneurial activity or public speaking). Along with this, express your desire to your elders to use your gifts in service to the church, or as a church planter in a neighboring city, under their care… as a kind of intern or missionary. If you are an asset to the body in this way, it is likely that they will be open to supporting you part time. Being bi-vocational is a very honorable thing to do. Do not view it as less than ideal. Paul the Apostle was bi-vocational. God uses our current stage of life to prepare us for the next. The right thing at the wrong time is the wrong thing. When the time is right, there will be a gradual move into eldership. Because you will already have one hand deep in ministry to the church, you will likely already be functioning as an elder in many ways before you are formally recognized as one.

Be patient, but be obedient to the call of God on your life. Don’t try to grow old too fast, and don’t let others despise you for your youth. We are in a unique season of life. While elders can have very effective ministries, God has a role for us to fulfill in this stage of life. We must learn to embrace the stage we are in, and be thankful to God for it. Let us strive to be in a partnership with older men in the gospel while taking heed to our own households!

Our pastor, Gregg Harris has a seminar called Seasons of Life Seminar that might be helpful to use in addition to what we have written.

Our prayers are with you and the many others in your position.

In Christ,
the Paul and Timothy Team

Public Response to 2 Pertinent Comments

September 16, 2008

Recent comment:

“If a young man is permitted to plant a church and can do so effectively; and he is given responsibility to appoint men into eldership… How is it that the young man himself is not qualified for office of elder/pastor?”

This is a question that we are often asked, so we thought it would be helpful if we made a public response in the form of a blog post. 

We believe church planting is a viable ministry for young “Timothys”. We also encourage “Timothys” to wait for a different season of life to take up the office of elder/pastor. Many think that these two positions are in opposition to each other.

First, we need to make some qualifying remarks concerning church planting. We strongly endorse a mentored ministry approach to church planting, being sent out and in intentional accountability to the elders of a church. This will look different in different church planting contexts. A young Timothy being involved in pioneer missions (church planting overseas) will look different than a young Timothy being sent out to be involved in a church plant across town. In either case, we hope that while the Timothy will often be making day to day judgment calls, ultimately he is carrying out the wishes of his elders, acting as an arm of the local church he was sent from.

In a Pioneer church plant scenario it is more difficult for the elders to be active in the church plant. However, in a local church plant, there is opportunity for more hands on mentorship. The best option for either of these scenarios would be if the Timothy was a part of team that was accountable to the same elders.

For us it’s an issue of authority. When a young Timothy is sent out, he is operating with a commission from the local elders. He is like a Marine who has been commissioned by a commanding officer. Here is an example: If I tell my daughter to go tell her sister to come to the table because dinner is ready, her sister has to obey. Not because the daughter who I commissioned has authority, or is now qualified to be a parent, but because she carries my authority with her.

While we are planting a local church we may be exercising authority that is reserved for an elder, but we are operating as an arm of our local elders. Just as Timothy was operating under Paul’s authority in all he was doing.

Another related comment that was made:

“I suppose my suggestion is that the very case of Timothy-and many other mature and gifted young men-demonstrates that Paul’s regulations regarding elders has more to do with maturity and character than with meeting a certain age requirement.”

We agree. Age doesn’t have much intrinsic value regarding the qualifications for elder. Rather, gaining the necessary qualities of an elder takes time. One interesting thing to note is that an elder is expected to have believing children. The biblical writers assume that men who would be considered for eldership would be of the age that, if they have children, they are old enough to be “believing”. Again, it is not our quest to pick an arbitrary age and say, “anyone younger than this should not be an elder!” We are more than happy to concede that there may be young men out there who meet the qualifications for eldership. We praise God for that! However, as we face the text and examine our own lives, we know that we are in a different season of life. We are calling out to other young men to examine themselves in the light of God’s Word along with us, obeying their sense of call to the ministry while refusing to compromise the requirements of eldership.

The Aim of this Blog

May 8, 2008

This blog is authored by 4 pre-eldership guys, in the hopes of stirring a vision for the reformation of pre-eldership ministry and mentorship.

It really is quite simple.  We aspire to the office of an elder, refuse to compromise the biblical qualifications for such an office, and have a passion to magnify Christ through the use of our giftings in the Church until we meet such qualifications.  This is a space and a sounding board where we can brainstorm how to bring the greatest glory to Christ in trying to walk such a narrow path…