We seek, recruit and select elders, whose task it is to facilitate, maintain and supervise house feasts.
Appointing (installing) an elder
You can start a house feast as soon as a family member has been appointed an elder. This can for example be the father of a family, or another man age 50 or up. When he meets the criteria of the Titus-check (see below), a council of elders or an apostle installs him as an elder and officially sends him and his family out.
Why is the appointment by an apostle required? Romans 10:14–15 explains that you can only preach when you have been sent. In other words, the appointing is a prerequisite to preach. By celebrating a house feast, a family reaches the end of their world with the gospel of Yeshua the Messiah. An elder has the spiritual responsibility over at least one house feast that is celebrated on a weekly basis.
Romans 10:14–15: How, then, can they call on the one they have not believed in? And how can they believe in the one of whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone preaching to them? And how can anyone preach unless they are sent? As it is written: “How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news!”
Responsibility of an elder
The role of the elder can be compared with that of a referee. His task is to ensure that the teaching (doctrine) remains biblical, to retain and safeguard the apostles' teaching, and to encourage others to do the same (Titus 1:9). Like a government agency that has the responsibility to keep close watch over the safety of food based on legislation in order to protect citizens against contaminated or poisoned food, the elder must be able to guarantee the quality of the spiritual food on a Biblical basis at all times.
It is important for the elder to realize that although he has an important job, he needs to be modest and humble. Just like the referee does not own a football match, the house feast is not owned by the elder. The head of the house feast is Yeshua the Messiah (Ephesians 1:22–23), and the participants to the house feasts are the members. This means the elder has a supportive role: he keeps watch and controls, and only intervenes if the circumstances so warrant.
The elder must also apply himself to the spiritual growth of all participants, including his personal development as an elder. As soon as someone is ready to operate in a particular ministry, the elder may appoint (install) this person to become operational. An elder may not appoint another elder; that is the role of the apostles or a council of elders.
Tools and resources for the elder
To perform his responsibilities during the house feasts, he has three tools at his disposal so he can safeguard the Biblical doctrine:
- Controlling: When someone makes a statement, continually being able to ask “Where does the Bible say so?” to make sure the discussion remains Biblical
- Warning: Issuing a "yellow card" in case someone claims something unbiblical
- Intervening: Issuing a "red card" in case of sin, so that this ceases immediately
An elder can also employ the following resources for carrying out his tasks:
- Documentation: The House Feast Network makes in-depth documentation available to elders about the Biblical rules concerning sacraments such as as baptizing, marrying, appointing ministries, burying, anointing with oil, and other topics.
- Discussion: The elder can discuss topics with other elders in a Facebook group that is only accessible to elders, which allows for consulting one another on a basis of equality.
- Ministries: If necessary, an elder can also be assisted by a specialist in the House Feast Network who has a specific ministry.
- Gatherings: three times a year (during Passover, the Feast of Weeks, and the Feast of Tabernacles), special workshops for elders are organized. In addition, there is a seasonal council of elders, where discussion and alignment takes place.
Accountability of an elder
An elder is accountable to Yeshua the Messiah, and may be called to order by a council of elders (1 Timothy 4:14). In addition, he can be removed from his office as elder when troubles and sin have come into his family. It is the responsibility of the elder to prevent sin by deploying the tools that are at his disposal. If he has failed to do so or has insufficiently done so, he may be disqualified. This only affects the elder, just like the original sin in the garden of Eden primarily affected Adam. When removed from office, the elder cannot be reinstated as an elder; it remains possible for him to engage in a ministry.
1 Timothy 4:14: Do not neglect your gift, which was given you through prophecy when the body of elders laid their hands on you.
Titus 1:5–9: The reason I left you in Crete was that you might put in order what was left unfinished and appoint elders in every town, as I directed you. An elder must be blameless, faithful to his wife, a man whose children believe and are not open to the charge of being wild and disobedient. Since an overseer manages God’s household, he must be blameless—not overbearing, not quick-tempered, not given to drunkenness, not violent, not pursuing dishonest gain. Rather, he must be hospitable, one who loves what is good, who is self-controlled, upright, holy and disciplined. He must hold firmly to the trustworthy message as it has been taught, so that he can encourage others by sound doctrine and refute those who oppose it.
The Titus-check is a checklist with the 18 criteria that are enumerated in Titus 1:6–9, describing the core tasks and competencies associated with being a spiritually mature person or an elder. To ensure traceability, each question contains a reference to the corresponding verse in Titus. Indicate for each criterion whether it needs improvement (n.i.), is sufficient (suff), or is good. Did you circle “n.i.” or “no” somewhere, then briefly explain why you did so and determine for yourself what you intend to do about this, and by when.
We recommend you to also let two other persons (for example, your children) fill out this checklist for you, so that you become a 360º-observation on where you stand. Answer the questions truthfully. You are personally responsible for the consequences of falsely representing the way things are.
1 Peter 5:1–4: To the elders among you, I appeal as a fellow elder and a witness of Christ’s sufferings who also will share in the glory to be revealed: Be shepherds of God’s flock that is under your care, watching over them—not because you must, but because you are willing, as God wants you to be; not pursuing dishonest gain, but eager to serve; not lording it over those entrusted to you, but being examples to the flock. And when the Chief Shepherd appears, you will receive the crown of glory that will never fade away.