Dear Church Family,
This letter contains important information regarding deacon/elder nominations. It will be long but we ask that you read all of it. I will be thrifty with my words and try to organize it in a way that makes it less laborious. (Physical copies will be made available in the foyer of the church.)
NOMINATION PERIOD OPENS SEPTEMBER 29!
- We will kick off the nomination period with two sermons:
- September 22 - Mike Ford will preach a sermon on the work of deacons
- September 29 - I will preach a sermon on the work of elders
PROCESS & TIMELINE:
- The nomination period will run from September 29 to October 13
- In the second half of October, we will meet with each nominee to see if they will accept the nomination and become a candidate for ordination.
- Officer training will go from November to March. We will meet regularly to study: biblical interpretation and content, theology, spirituality, duties of the office, church/Presbyterian history, and PCA polity. (This training is not open to the church at large… sorry.)
- Written and oral examinations will take place during the month of April and will be conducted by the Session. We will announce who is eligible for election after these exams.
- Election by secret ballot will take place at a congregational meeting in May.
- Ordination and installation of new officers will take place at a special worship service on a Sunday evening in June.
- NOTE: Clearly, these are rough estimates, the timeline may change depending on various factors.
PARAMETERS & IMPORTANT MISCELLANEA:
- Only members can submit a nomination (though you do not have to nominate anyone).
- Any male member of the church can be nominated.
- If non-members are nominated we will communicate with each party individually.
- Regarding election, only members can attend the congregational meeting and elect officers.
- The human side of our church is in the hands of our congregation. Please consider joining the church to help us become the church God is calling us to be. Email me if you would like to join.
- We will not provide a list of male members, simply nominate those who seem well suited.
- We will only announce the names of those who are eligible for election, which means you will not hear any “results” from the nomination period. This will allow candidates to devote themselves to training with as little external compulsion as possible.
AN IMPORTANT PROCESS:
It is a significant undertaking to be ordained at Christ the King. Since ordination is perpetual and cannot be “laid aside at pleasure,” as our constitution states, being ordained is in many ways committing to a lifetime of service in the Bride of Christ. Ordination is a sacred and holy calling and we will pursue it with the appropriate level of solemnity.
A COLLABORATIVE PROCESS:
- This process is about discerning a call. This is a work of asking questions and discovering answers. There are no “rubber stamp” officers.
- Before training begins, each nominee will have the opportunity to accept or decline the nomination.
- Each man that proceeds will spend ample time in self-examination and considering the work. We will work with the candidates to discern whether each man is being called by God.
- We do not expect each nominee to stand for election. One candidate might withdraw because it’s not the right time of life, or he was unsure when he began training. Another may discover his theological beliefs keep him from subscribing to the Westminster Standards. We will work through all of that together. But each man will need the freedom to pursue this without the fear of what people will think if he withdraws.
- It may go without saying but I should say it anyway: just because someone withdraws, it does not mean that there was a problem. In fact, that will almost never be the case.
- Lastly, if during the training process, we feel someone is better suited for a different office, we will speak with the man, and the one who nominated him, to consider switching the office he is pursuing.
HOW TO MAKE A NOMINATION:
- Nominations must be emailed to a member of the Session. You are welcome to speak with an elder before making a nomination, but we will only receive nominations via email (for the sake of records).
- You must include his name and specify which office.
- We request that you include the rationale behind your nomination.
- Below are the qualifications from Scripture and a description from the Book of Church Order.
TRUST & GOODWILL:
We, the Session, have the utmost faith in our congregation during this time, yet we know that churches are most susceptible to spiritual attack during times of transition and growth. If you have any concerns about this process, please contact a member of the Session. Yet we would ask everyone to refrain from disturbing “the purity and the peace” of the church. In all my years, I’ve not known a more kind and loving congregation, but we certainly don’t have a kind and loving enemy! We must all be vigilant, “that no root of bitterness springs up and causes trouble” (Hebrews 12:16).
WHAT TO PRAY FOR:
Our greatest hope is that God’s Spirit will lead, protect, and strengthen his Bride as we go about building his kingdom. Pray for these candidates-to-be, that God will give them wisdom and confidence as they consider his mysterious will. Also pray that God will use this process to equip our church for many more years of fruitful ministry. Pray for our Session, as we seek the wisdom of God and as we shepherd these men through the process. Particularly, ask God to protect our elders, the candidates, and all of our families, from attacks against the devil.
ELDER (qualifications from 1Timothy 3):
- If anyone aspires to the office of overseer, he desires a noble task.
- An overseer must be above reproach
- The husband of one wife
- Able to teach
- Not a drunkard
- Not violent but gentle
- Not quarrelsome
- Not a lover of money
- He must manage his own household well, with all dignity keeping his children submissive, for if someone does not know how to manage his own household, how will he care for God’s church?
- He must not be a recent convert or he may become puffed up with conceit and fall into the condemnation of the devil.
- He must be well thought of by outsiders, so that he may not fall into disgrace, into a snare of the devil.
ELDER (exhortation from 1Peter 5):
“So I exhort the elders… shepherd the flock of God that is among you, exercising oversight, not under compulsion, but willingly, as God would have you; not for shameful gain, but eagerly; not domineering over those in your charge, but being examples to the flock. And when the chief Shepherd appears, you will receive the unfading crown of glory.”
ELDER (description from the Book of Church Order):
It belongs to those in the office of elder, both severally and jointly, to watch diligently over the flock committed to his charge, that no corruption of doctrine or of morals enter therein. They must exercise government and discipline, and take oversight not only of the spiritual interests of the particular church, but also the Church generally when called thereunto. They should visit the people at their homes, especially the sick. They should instruct the ignorant, comfort the mourner, nourish and guard the children of the Church. They should set a worthy example to the flock entrusted to their care by their zeal to evangelize the unconverted and make disciples. All those duties which private Christians are bound to discharge by the law of love are especially incumbent upon them by divine vocation, and are to be discharged as official duties. They should pray with and for the people, being careful and diligent in seeking the fruit of the preached Word among the flock.
DEACON (qualifications from 1Timothy 3):
- Deacons likewise must be dignified
- Not double-tongued
- Not addicted to much wine
- Not greedy for dishonest gain
- They must hold the mystery of the faith with a clear conscience.
- Let them also be tested first; then let them serve as deacons if they prove themselves blameless.
- Their wives likewise must be dignified, not slanderers, but sober-minded, faithful in all things.
- Let deacons each be the husband of one wife
- Managing their children and their own households well
- Those who serve well as deacons gain a good standing for themselves and also great confidence in the faith that is in Christ Jesus
DEACON (description from the Book of Church Order):
The office of deacon… is one of sympathy and service, after the example of the Lord Jesus; it expresses also the communion of saints, especially in their helping one another in time of need. It is the duty of the deacons to minister to those who are in need, to the sick, to the friendless, and to any who may be in distress. It is their duty also to develop the grace of liberality in the members of the church, to devise effective methods of collecting the gifts of the people, and to distribute these gifts among the objects to which they are contributed. They shall have the care of the property of the congregation, both real and personal, and shall keep in proper repair the church edifice and other buildings belonging to the congregation. In matters of special importance affecting the property of the church, they cannot take final action without the approval of the Session and consent of the congregation.
Thank you for taking the time to read this. We praise God that you are our partner in this ministry.