From time to time Grace Community Church will need additional officers. As the church grows and leaders take a break from active service for a season or as they move or retire, we will need qualified and dedicated leadership to replace them.
The process starts when a member of the church names or nominates someone who meets the requirements:
- Christian for at least three years
- Actively attending worship and involved at Grace for at least a year
- A member in good standing or willing to become a member
- gifted for leadership and service
- showing the character required as a leader
- Biblical requirements for office (see below)
- willing to serve.
The person nominating should first talk to the one they hope to nominate to be sure they are interested and agree. People should not be "blindly" nominated or caught by surprise. We want to pursue those who are interested.
Only men may serve as elders (meet our elders and learn about what they do), but both men and women may serve as deacons or associate deacons (meet our deacons and learn about what they do). Grace believes the Bible's teaching about church office identifies elders and deacons as being male although we also find sufficient warrant for females serving as deaconesses. We realize this issue can be confusing or even offensive to some so we welcome any opportunity to offer the reasoning behind our perspective and what measure we take to avoid any potential abuses.
Members may submit nominations through February 12 by filling out the provided paper nominating form and putting it into one of the collection boxes or by using the online form below.
After submitting a name, what comes next?
Pastors will meet those who are nominated in order to:
- see if they understand the work of the office
- answer initial question about process, service or doctrine
- review the informal job description
- make certain they meet the initial requirements
- ask again if they are willing to serve
- explain the training and process leading up to election and ordination.
The pastors will offer training for the qualified nominees. Training takes 1 year to complete.
- requirements of our denomination for serving in office
- doctrine and practices of the church
- mission and vision of Grace Community Church
- function, practice and work that the office requires
- reading/studying the Westminster Standards and some additional required texts
Training will also include some contact with the elders or deacons.
Following training, the pastors will present the nominees to the elders who will examine each candidate and approve them to be presented to the congregation for a vote. Typically elders' examination is brief in light of the months of training the nominees have been through.
The elders approve a list of nominees called a 'slate' that is presented to the congregation. Then members vote for each nominee at a congregational meeting. Each nominee must receive a majority of the needed votes at the congregational meeting.
Following the election, the new officers are ordained or commissioned and then installed to begin their ministry of leading and serving.
Reviewing Scripture Qualification
In the light of the need and importance of leadership the elders and pastors at Grace encourage members to pray and to consider their choices carefully if they desire to make a nomination so they will select people who meet the requirements for each office. An excellent place to start would be by reading the qualification listed in 1 Timothy 3 and Titus 1 for officers in the church.
"Here is a trustworthy saying: If anyone sets his heart on being an overseer, he desires a noble task. Now the overseer must be above reproach, the husband of but one wife, temperate, self-controlled, respectable, hospitable, able to teach, not given to drunkenness, not violent but gentle, not quarrelsome, not a lover of money. He must manage his own family well and see that his children obey him with proper respect. (If anyone does not know how to manage his own family, how can he take care of God's church?) He must not be a recent convert, or he may become conceited and fall under the same judgment as the devil. He must also have a good reputation with outsiders, so that he will not fall into disgrace and into the devil's trap.
Deacons, likewise, are to be men worthy of respect, sincere, not indulging in much wine, and not pursuing dishonest gain. They must keep hold of the deep truths of the faith with a clear conscience. They must first be tested; and then if there is nothing against them, let them serve as deacons.
In the same way, their wives* are to be women worthy of respect, not malicious talkers but temperate and trustworthy in everything.
A deacon must be the husband of but one wife and must manage his children and his household well. Those who have served well gain an excellent standing and great assurance in their faith in Christ Jesus."
"The reason I left you in Crete was that you might straighten out what was left unfinished and appoint elders in every town, as I directed you. An elder must be blameless, the husband of but one wife, a man whose children believe and are not open to the charge of being wild and disobedient. Since an overseer is entrusted with God's work, he must be blameless—not overbearing, not quick-tempered, not given to drunkenness, not violent, not pursuing dishonest gain. Rather he must be hospitable, one who loves what is good, who is self-controlled, upright, holy and disciplined. He must hold firmly to the trustworthy message as it has been taught, so that he can encourage others by sound doctrine and refute those who oppose it."
1 Peter 5:1-4
"To the elders among you, I appeal as a fellow elder, a witness of Christ's sufferings and one who also will share in the glory to be revealed: Be shepherds of God's flock that is under your care, serving as overseers—not because you must, but because you are willing, as God wants you to be; not greedy for money, but eager to serve; not lording it over those entrusted to you, but being examples to the flock. And when the Chief Shepherd appears, you will receive the crown of glory that will never fade away."