So I exhort the elders among you, as a fellow elder and a witness of the sufferings of Christ, as well as a partaker in the glory that is going to be revealed: 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. Likewise, you who are younger, be subject to the elders. Clothe yourselves, all of you, with humility toward one another, for “God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.”
1 Peter 5:1-5
We are currently in the beginning stages of the nominating process for church officers. The deadline for nominees to be submitted from the congregation to the Nominating Committee is Sunday, September 13, 2015. From there the Nominating Committee will submit a slate of candidates to the Session, which will then carry out a vetting process. Finally, the vetted slate of officers will be submitted to the congregation for their approval at our stated congregational meeting in December.
Here at First Presbyterian Church we have two church offices – Elder and Deacon. Elders are ordained to the purpose of governing and disciplining God’s people by guarding and promoting their spiritual welfare. Deacons are ordained to the purpose of overseeing ministries of mercy as well as the material assets of the congregation. We believe these two offices are Biblical and constitute God’s ordained means of leading and guiding His Church. With the nominating process in full swing, I would like to take this opportunity to encourage you to:
- Educate Yourself. Read passages such as 1 Timothy 3:1-12; Titus 1:5-9; and 1 Peter 5:1-5. In addition to these Scripture passages, consider also the words from our Form of Government, which expound the Scriptures in order to highlight the qualifications and purposes of each office. The applicable portions of the Form of Government are included on the nominating forms.
- Pray. Pray for the current elders and deacons, who have important roles of leadership to carry out, as they seek to fill their offices to the glory of God and the good of our congregation, community, and the Church as a whole. Pray also for the Lord to make evident to you those people within our congregation whom He has blessed with the qualifications to serve in one of these two offices.
- Nominate. Fill out a nomination form for each of those whom you feel called to submit as nominees to the Nominating Committee. Nomination forms can be found in the church office, the narthex, or on our website at the following link – http://firstpreslakewales.org/blog/church-documents/.
- Trust. Church leadership is at its best when the leaders are humble and dependent upon the grace, wisdom, and discernment of the Lord. Ultimately we are trusting the Lord to guide us by His Word and His Spirit to choose the right men and women to serve in these important offices. Part of that trust in the Lord is accepting the process that has been instituted by our denomination as found in the Form of Government. Another part of that trust is having faith that the Lord is working through His people on the Nominating Committee and the Session as these leaders seek to exercise the necessary humility, grace, wisdom, and discernment to identify our future officers.
- Rejoice. Give God the glory. It is no small wonder that God has seen fit to work in and through people, frail and broken as we are. Over the years God worked in and through the likes of Noah, Abraham, Joseph, Moses, Joshua, Deborah, Samson, Samuel, David, Elijah, Daniel, Peter, John, Paul, and Timothy among others to help lead and guide His people. He works similarly today, raising up men and women to serve His Church in various capacities. It is at times a frustrating thing as our human weaknesses and shortcomings are often most evident in our efforts to lead. But, it is also a beautiful exhibition of God’s grace that He delights in storing the treasure of His Gospel in jars of clay such as us who are called to church office.