God gives elders and deacons as gifts to the church. Our elders are responsible for the spiritual oversight of the church, while our deacons are responsible for encouraging and directing the congregation's generosity, as well as oversight of the wonderful property God has given us.
The process for becoming an elder or deacon is as follows:
1. The elders ask the congregation for nominations for either office. We encourage the congregation to study the requirements for the office of elder and deacon laid out in the Bible in 1 Timothy 3 and Titus 1. We also ask the congregation to seek out men who already doing much of the work of "eldering" and "deaconing" - are they caring for others? Are they serving humbly? Are they instructing others well? These are the types of men we are looking for to serve in these offices.
2. After receiving nominations, the Session will analyze them and then ask our Associate Pastor, Jeff Rendell, to begin training the nominees. The training time is one for both the church leadership and the candidate to wrestle with their calling to the office.
For elders, the training process begins by going through a book called Gospel Eldership. This book highlights the requirements for serving as an elder, and serves as a means of self-evaluation. It also gives us the chance to get to know the nominee at a deeper level.
Both elders and deacons also go through a six-part training class, usually one on one with the Associate Pastor. This class highlights character requirements, the distinctives that are important to our church, and any "hot topics" in our denomination. In addition, the candidate walks through the Westminster Confession of Faith to make sure they agree, in detail, with our system of doctrine.
After successful completion of training, the candidate will be interviewed by the Session and examined on their Christian experience as well as theology. The Session then votes on whether or not to place the nominee before the congregation for a vote. Once they are elected, candidates are ordained and begin serving in their office.
This process is lengthy (usually a year or more) and serves as a means of giving the candidate, the Session, and the congregation time to discern whether or not such service would be wise for the candidate and helpful for the church.