Our Pastors serve as Teaching Elders in the church, while lay-leaders serve in ordained leadership positions. Elders and Deacons are elected annually and, in general, serve three-year terms. The PC(USA) has “ordered ministries,” and more information about these ministries, including who in the church is currently serving, can be found below.
From the Book of Order, 2013/15, G-2.0102
The Church’s ordered ministries described in the New Testament and maintained by this church are deacons and presbyters (teaching elders 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.
From the Book of Order, 2015/17, G-3.0201
The session is the council for the congregation. It shall be composed of those persons elected by the congregation to active serviced as ruling elders, together with all installed pastors and associate pastors. All members of the session are entitled to vote. The pastor shall be the moderator of the session, and the session shall not meet without the pastor or designated moderator…The session shall have responsibility for governing the congregation and guiding its witness to the sovereign activity of God in the world, so that the congregation is and becomes a community of faith, hope, love, and witness…
In light of this charge, the session has responsibility and power to:
- Provide that the Word of God may be truly preached and heard;
- Provide that the Sacraments may be rightly administered and received;
- Nurture the covenant community of disciples of Christ.
RULING ELDERS – THE MINISTRY OF DISCERNMENT AND GOVERNANCE
From the Book of Order, 2015/17, G-2.0301
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 share 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 teaching elders, 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 teaching elders, and they are eligible for any office.
DEACONS – THE MINISTRY OF COMPASSION AND SERVICE
From the Book of Order, 2015/17, G-2.0201
The ministry of deacon as set forth in Scripture is one of compassion, witness, and service, sharing in the redeeming love of Jesus Christ for the poor, the hungry, the sick, the lost, the friendless, the oppressed, those burdened by unjust policies or structures, or anyone in distress. Persons of spiritual character, honest repute, exemplary lives, brotherly and sisterly love, sincere compassion, and sound judgment should be chosen for this ministry.