Lowering Standards for Leadership Roles in the Church

Piper on lowering standards to fill church leadership roles:

The acceptability of a church lowering its standards in order to fill leadership roles is this: "low" is partly relative, isn't it?

If you have a church that's made up mainly of long-term, seasoned, wise, mature, Bible-knowing Christians, your standards of who should lead in that group are going to be high, because in order to lead you have to be ahead of somebody.

In a church made up of newer believers or just simpler non-studying believers who don't know as much about their Bibles, what it will take to be ahead of others in that situation will not be as far ahead in Bible knowledge as in another kind of church. So for that to be called "lower" is, I think, fitting.

So, yes, there is an appropriate way to adjust our expectations. Like when it says that an elder must be apt to teach, OK? He must be a good teacher. Well, how good? How skillful does he have to be in handling his Bible to take people from where they are to where they need to be? In one kind of church he has to be really skillful, because these people know a lot. And in another church, if he has been a Christian for five years and knows where Romans and Psalms are, he might be ahead.

So, there is a good deal of relativity that comes into assessing the qualification of elders. We want them to be qualified with biblical qualifications, and that's a relative judgment in some of the cases.

Read or listen to Piper’s response from 2009.