- There are two offices in the Presbyterian Church in America (our denomination) to which candidates may be nominated and elected: namely, elders and deacons. The elders are responsible for the government and spiritual oversight of the church, including teaching. Only those elders who are gifted and called by God to preach, who are also seminary trained as well as approved and ordained by a PCA presbytery, may serve as “teaching elders.” Those elected by churches to aid in the governance and leadership of the church are called “ruling elders.” Deacons serve the spiritual and physical needs of the people, as well as oversee the maintenance of all church property. In accordance with Scripture, these offices are open to men only.
- Each officer (elder or deacon) at LMPC serves for a three-year term and then automatically rotates off for a year of inactive service. Having rotated off, an officer may then be re-nominated and go back through training and then be re-elected to serve another three-year term following his year of inactive service.
- In September of each year, a nominating committee is formed. It is composed of eight voting members:
- the vice-moderator of the Session along with three elected members from the present Session,
- the moderator and vice-moderator from the present Diaconate,
- two women elected by the Women’s Leadership Team from a Session-approved slate of 4-6 nominees. In order to preserve continuity, one woman will be elected per year, and she will serve for two years.
- Note: No voting member may serve on this committee for more than two consecutive years. The senior teaching pastor and senior associate pastor serve in an advisory capacity as non-voting members of the committee.
- In September of each year, the church office sends out a list of all those eligible to serve as elders and deacons and asks the members of the congregation to prayerfully review the biblical qualifications and then make their nominations.
- The primary task of the nominating committee is to prayerfully review the names submitted by the congregation with a view toward the formation of a slate of nominees who, in the opinion of the nominating committee, meet the biblical qualifications found in I Timothy 3:1-13, Titus 1:5-9, and I Peter 5:1-4. Those who may be viewed as leaders in other walks of life may or may not meet the biblical qualifications of a church officer. The committee must also consider the needs of the congregation and the duties of officers as outlined in the PCA Book of Church Order.
- After the committee makes a list of potential nominees, the senior associate pastor and senior teaching pastor talk to the individuals nominated to ask that they prayerfully consider if they are willing to serve and if they believe that God is calling them to serve.
- The slate of nominees prepared by the nominating committee is presented to the congregation in early December. The congregation must then prayerfully consider the slate of nominees and vote on the slate at the December congregational meeting. Note: this is not the election to office—it is simply the vote for those who will become “officer candidates” and who will proceed through the training process described in the following point.
- From January through March, the pastors provide intensive officer training to all officer candidates. Following successful completion of training and a successful interview with the Session, the election of officers by the congregation takes place in April or May. After election, the new officers are ordained (if they have never served in the particular office to which they have been elected) and installed as active elders or deacons to begin their three-year term of service in June.
- The nominating committee will also nominate a member for the LMPC Board of Trustees who will serve a three-year term as an officer of the corporation. The corporation is set up as a holding company for all church property.
Officer Nomination Process by Month
SEPTEMBER: The nominating committee is formed (see point 3 above). Mailing to resident congregation members of a list of male resident members age 21 and above who are eligible for nomination as an elder or deacon. This mailing also includes a cover letter from the moderator and vice-moderator of the Session, nominating ballots, and a list of frequently asked questions and answers.
OCTOBER/NOVEMBER: Nominating committee meets and prepares slate of candidates.
DECEMBER: Congregational meeting to approve nomination of officers. Members have the option to cast a single vote (yes or no) on the entire slate, or they may choose to vote individually on each nominated candidate for office.
JANUARY: Officer training class occurs from January through March.
APRIL/MAY: Following the completion of training and the Session interviews with all officer candidates, the entire slate of nominated officers is brought before the membership at another congregational meeting. As in the December congregational meeting, members may vote to elect the entire slate, or they may choose to vote yes or no on each individual candidate.
MAY: Elders and deacons are installed and ordained, beginning their terms of service in June.