NEW OFFICER ELECTIONS
As our church grows, so do our needs.During 2018, we would like to nominate, train, elect, and install new elders and deacons
As our church grows, so do our needs. The elders believe this is the right time for Grace to nominate, train, elect, and install new elders and deacons. We invite you to nominate candidates to both offices.
What is the role of church officers?
There are two kinds of ordained officer at Grace: elders and deacons. The elders oversee the spiritual life of the church, and the deacons support the congregation in serving. Within the elders, we distinguish between two types: teaching elders (i.e., pastors), who are ministers ordained to preach the Word and administer the sacraments, and ruling elders, who care for the spiritual needs of the congregation.
Our process will be governed and guided by the Book of Church Order. This document will give you an overview of the various parts of the process.
Now to April 1 Nomination Period
April 8 to September 23 | Officer Training
September 30 to October 14 | Examination Period
November 18 | Election
December 2 | Ordination and Installation of New Officers
From Now to April 1 (Easter)
During the month of March, we invite you to consider prayerfully which of your fellow members ought to serve as ordained officers.
Who can nominate a candidate for office?
Any communicant member of Grace is eligible to make a nomination.
What are the qualifications for office?
The Book of Church Order states that “each prospective officer should be an active male member who meets the qualifications set forth in 1 Timothy 3 and Titus 1.” You can read 1 Timothy 3.1-7 and Titus 1.6-9 for details. Here are summaries of the qualifications for each office from the BCO:
“Ruling Elder (8-2): He that fills this office should possess a competency of human learning and be blameless in life, sound in the faith and apt to teach. He should exhibit a sobriety and holiness of life becoming the Gospel. He should rule his own house well and should have a good report of them that are outside the Church.”
“Deacon (9-3): To the office of deacon, which is spiritual in nature, shall be chosen men of spiritual character, honest repute, exemplary lives, brotherly spirit, warm sympathies, and sound judgment.”
One of the responsibilities of Grace’s elders will be to confirm the qualification of candidates, so if you have any doubts, we suggest that you go ahead and make the nomination you have in mind.
How should a nomination be made?
Complete the form below to the best of your ability, then click 'Submit.' You can make as many nominations as you like.
From April 8 to September 23
Once we have nominated our candidates, an in-depth training process will begin. The elders will contact candidates and invite them to participate in the training. The training process will consist of three stages, lasting from April 8 to September 23, 2018.
(1) To give candidates an opportunity to discern an inward call,
(2) To prepare candidates for examination,
(3) To equip candidates to serve well as ordained officers.
While the focus will be on equipping officers, the training will be open to anyone who would like to sit in and follow along. The process consists of three parts: basic training, a reading period, and confessional training:
Basic Training (Vision, Office, Duties)
From April 8 to May 27
During this period, we will focus on the unique vision of Grace, our philosophy of ministry, the nature of ordained office, and the duties of elders and deacons.
From May 27 to August 12
Over the summer, candidates will complete the assigned readings and meet to review and discuss them. In addition to the Westminster Confession of Faith, the Larger and Shorter Catechisms, and the Book of Church Order, candidates will read the following books:
The Creedal Imperative, by Carl Trueman
Deep Church, by Jim Belcher
Confessing Our Faith, by Chad Van Dixhoorn
Shorter readings will also be assigned throughout the training process.
Confessional Training (Theology)
From August 12 to September 23
The final period will focus on theology, working through themes from the readings and preparing for examination.
From September 30
to October 14
Once training is complete, the elders will examine the candidates, focusing on five particular areas of knowledge.
(1) To ensure the qualification of each candidate,
(2) To assess whether the inward call has outward confirmation,
(3) To present the congregation with qualified candidates for election.
These examinations will be open to the public. You are invited to attend.
What are candidates examined on?
The five areas of examination are listed in the Book of Church Order, which states:
“Each nominee shall then be examined in:
1. his Christian experience, especially his personal character and family management (based on the qualifications set out in 1 Timothy 3:1-7 and Titus 1:6-9),
2. his knowledge of Bible content,
3. his knowledge of the system of doctrine, government, discipline contained in the Constitution of the Presbyterian Church in America (BCO Preface III, The Constitution Defined),
4. the duties of the office to which he has been nominated, and
5. his willingness to give assent to the questions required for ordination. (BCO 24-6)”
What happens next?
Once the examinations are complete, the Session will announce the roster of qualified candidates who have passed examination. According to the BCO, this must take place thirty (30) days prior to the actual election.
On Sunday, November 18, 2018, Grace will hold a congregational meeting for the purpose of electing new officers. The goal of this meeting is for the people of Grace to choose their own officers.
Who can vote?
“All communing members in good and regular standing, but no others, are entitled to vote in the election of church officers in the churches to which they respectively belong.” (24-3)
How many votes are required to elect an officer?
“A majority vote of those present is required for election.” (24-3)
What if a minority of members opposes an officer’s election?
“On the election of a ruling elder or deacon, if it appears that a large minority of voters are averse to a candidate, and cannot be induced to concur in the choice, the moderator shall endeavor to dissuade the majority from prosecuting it further; if if the electors are nearly or quite unanimous, or if the majority insist upon their right to choose their officers, the election shall stand.” (24-3)
Ordination and Installation
On December 2, the officers elected by the congregation will be ordained and installed as part of a special worship service.
(1) For our officers to be launched in their new ministry well.
Each officer will affirm these six ordination vows:
Ordination Vows (from BCO 24-6):
- Do you believe the Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments, as originally given, to be the inerrant Word of God, the only infallible rule of faith and practice?
- Do you sincerely receive and adopt the Confession of Faith and the Catechisms of this Church, as containing the system of doctrine taught in the Holy Scriptures; and do you further promise that if at any time you find yourself out of accord with any of the fundamentals of this system of doctrine, you will, on your own initiative, make known to your Session the change which has taken place in your views since the assumption of this ordination vow?
- Do you approve of the form of government and discipline of the Presbyterian Church in America, in conformity with the general principles of biblical polity?
- Do you accept the office of ruling elder (or deacon, as the case may be) in this church, and promise faithfully to perform all the duties thereof, and to endeavor by the grace of God to adorn the profession of the Gospel in your life, and to set a worthy example before the Church of which God has made you an officer?
- Do you promise subjection to your brethren in the Lord?
- Do you promise to strive for the purity, peace, unity and edification of the Church?