Anyone considering nominating a member of First Presbyterian Church of Johnson City, TN to the position of ELDER is asked to familiarize yourself with this document of instruction as to the kind of individual that we believe God calls to this esteemed position of service to our church. We ask that you would keep this in mind as you consider putting forth the name of someone for this important role.
Likewise, anyone considering allowing their name to be put forward in consideration as an Elder is also asked to familiarize yourself with this document so that you fully understand the full measure of the expectation of anyone who holds this position of honor and responsibility within our church.
The following information derives from the BOOK OF ORDER 2019 – 2021 from the Constitution of the Presbyterian Church (USA) Part II
G-2.01 ORDERED MINISTRIES OF THE CHURCH
G-2.0102 Ordered Ministries
The Church’s ordered ministries described in the New Testament and maintained by this church are deacons and presbyters (ministers of the Word and Sacrament and ruling elders). Ordered ministries are gifts to the church to order its life so that the ministry of the whole people of God may flourish. The existence of these ordered ministries in no way diminishes the importance of the commitment of all members to the total ministry of the church. The government of this church is representative, and the right of God’s people to elect presbyters and deacons is inalienable. Therefore, no person can be placed in any ordered ministry in a congregation or council of the church except by election of that body. Ordination to the ministry of deacon, ruling elder, or minister of the Word and Sacrament (also called teaching elder) is unique to that order of ministry.
G-2.0103 Call to Ordered Ministry
The call to ordered ministry in the Church is the act of the triune God. This call is evidenced by the movement of the Holy Spirit in the individual conscience, the approval of a community of God’s people, and the concurring judgment of a council of the Church.
G-2.0104 Gifts and Qualifications
To those called to exercise special functions in the church—deacons, ruling elders, and ministers of the Word and Sacrament—God gives suitable gifts for their various duties. In addition to possessing the necessary gifts and abilities, those who undertake particular ministries should be persons of strong faith, dedicated discipleship, and love of Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord. Their manner of life should be a demonstration of the Christian gospel in the church and in the world. They must have the approval of God’s people and the concurring judgment of a council of the church.
G-2.03 RULING ELDERS: THE MINISTRY OF DISCERNMENT AND GOVERNANCE
G-2.0301 Ruling Elder Defined
As there were in Old Testament times elders for the government of the people, so the
New Testament church provided persons with particular gifts to shareg in discernment of
God’s Spirit and governance of God’s people. Accordingly, congregations should elect persons of wisdom and maturity of faith, having demonstrated skills in leadership and being compassionate in spirit. Ruling elders are so named not because they “lord it over” the congregation (Matt. 20:25), but because they are chosen by the congregation to discern and measure its fidelity to the Word of God, and to strengthen and nurture its faith and life. Ruling elders, together with ministers of the Word and Sacrament, exercise leadership, government, spiritual discernment, and discipline and have responsibilities for the life of a congregation as well as the whole church, including ecumenical relationships. When elected by the congregation, they shall serve faithfully as members of the session. When elected as commissioners to higher councils, ruling elders participate and vote with the same authority as ministers of the Word and Sacrament, and they are eligible for any office.
G-2.04 GENERAL PROVISIONS FOR RULING ELDERS AND DEACONS
G-2.0401 Election of Ruling Elders and Deacons
Ruling elders and deacons are men and women elected by the congregation from among its members. The nomination and election of ruling elders and deacons shall express the rich diversity of the congregation’s membership and shall guarantee participation and inclusiveness (F-1.0403). Ruling elders and deacons shall be nominated by a committee elected by the congregation, drawn from and representative of its membership. Congregations may provide by their own rule for a congregational nominating committee. The rule shall meet the following criteria: (1) the minimum size of the committee as specified in the rule shall be at least three persons; (2) at least one member of the committee
shall be an elder currently serving on session; and (3) a majority of those persons on the committee who are eligible to vote shall consist of persons not currently serving on session. The pastor shall serve ex officio and without vote. When elections are held, full opportunity shall always be given to the congregation for nomination from the floor of the congregational meeting by any active member of the congregation. A majority of all the active members present and voting shall be required to elect.