Mercy Presbyterian Church OFFICER NOMINATIONS

Click here to download the nominations packet, or you may read through the packet contents below.

Follow the link to nominate: https://mercydallas.formstack.com/forms/mercy_nominations

Officer Nominations Packet

The leadership of the church by elders is as important today as it was in the first century. It is God’s design to feed and lead His Body and Bride through elders. Since becoming an elder in our domination is a perpetual (life-long) calling, identifying, preparing and electing men for church office must be a genuinely Spirit-led process.

The office of deacon is one of loving, sacrificial service after the example of the Lord Jesus himself. A deacon ministers the mercy of God to the lonely, the sick, the elderly, the orphaned, the widowed, the dying, the poor, and the deprived. The office of deacon is designed to meet the physical needs of people and yet it is very much a spiritual ministry as it arises from spiritual motives and accomplishes a spiritual purpose. Although some deacons may later become elders, it is not a secondary office but a high calling that is absolutely critical to the life of the church.

These two callings are not solely based on an individual’s natural abilities, gifts, business skills, or personality type. In addition, no one can unilaterally decide that he is an elder or deacon. Rather, these callings involve the power and wisdom of God at work in an individual’s life and require recognition not only by the individual (internal calling), but also by the church (external calling). Identifying elder and deacon nominees involves selecting men in whose lives God is clearly at work, and through whose lives God is working in the lives of others. In other words, we don’t make someone an elder or a deacon. We identify someone who, by the grace and calling of God, is already functioning as a shepherd or a servant.

This material is meant to assist the members of Mercy in this important nomination process. Every member is urged to carefully read through this information and prayerfully evaluate nominees before submitting the name of any man for nomination.

GUIDELINES FOR NOMINATION

The first step is for members of Mercy to nominate men whom they deem biblically qualified to assume the office of elder or deacon. Please read and pray from 1 Timothy 3:1-13 and Titus 1:5-9.

1. We have the responsibility to follow the steps and procedures in the Presbyterian Church in America’s Book of Church Order. Therefore you must be a member in good standing at Mercy Presbyterian Church in order to nominate an individual for an officer position. You are asked to nominate only men who are members of Mercy who have attended for at least one year.

2. Before making a nomination, you should speak with the person you’d like to nominate to see if he is willing to consider serving as an officer of the church.

3. We want to make every effort to avoid partisanship in the nomination process. Therefore, you are asked not to nominate family members for church office.

4. Each man must receive at least 3 nominations from different families in order to be considered for an officer position.

THE RESPONSIBILITIES AND MINISTRIES OF ELDERS AND DEACONS FROM
THE BOOK OF CHURCH ORDER

Responsibilities and Ministries of Elders

“It belongs to the office of elder, both severally and jointly, to watch diligently over the flock committed to their charge that no corruption of doctrine or of morals enters therein. They must exercise government and discipline, and take oversight not only of the spiritual interests of the particular church, but also the church generally when called thereunto. They should visit the people at their homes, especially the sick. They should instruct the ignorant, comfort the mourner, nourish and guard the children of the church. They should set a worthy example to the flock entrusted to their care by their zeal to evangelize the unconverted and make disciples. All those duties which private Christians are bound to discharge by the law of love are especially incumbent upon them by divine vocation, and are to be discharged as of official duties. They should pray with and for the people, being careful and diligent in seeking the fruit of the preached Word among the flock.”

PCA Book of Church Order 8.3

Responsibilities and Ministries of Deacons

“It is the duty of the deacons to minister to those who are in need, to the sick, to the friendless, and to any who may be in distress. It is their duty also to develop the grace of liberality in the members of the church, to devise effective methods of collecting the gifts of the people, and to distribute these gifts among the objects to which they are contributed. They shall have the care of the property of the congregation, both real and personal, and shall keep in proper repair the church edifice and other buildings belonging to the congregation. In matters of

special importance affecting the property of the church, they cannot take final action without the approval of the Session and consent of the congregation.

In the discharge of their duties the deacons are under the supervision and authority of the Session. In a church in which it is impossible for any reason to secure deacons, the duties of the office shall devolve upon the ruling elders. To the office of deacon, which is spiritual in nature, shall be chosen men of spiritual character, honest repute, exemplary lives, brotherly spirit, warm sympathies, and sound judgment.”

PCA Book of Church Order 9.2

The following questions are helpful in recognizing and discerning both the gifts and calling of an elder:

1. Is the nominee a servant of others and does he minister to people in a spirit of love and humility? How have you seen this demonstrated?

2. Would you go to the nominee for spiritual wisdom or comfort and encourage others to do the same? Why or why not?

3. In what ways have you observed the nominee exhibit leadership in the church?

4. How have you seen the nominee exhibit a love for the Lord Jesus Christ, His Gospel and His Church?

5. What spiritual gift(s) have you seen present in the nominee? Please give examples of how you have seen his gift(s) used.

6. If he is married, is his wife a godly woman who loves God and loves His Church? Is she humble, honorable, respectful, and faithful?

PASSAGES ON ELDER & DEACON QUALIFICATIONS

1 Timothy 3:1-8 ESV

1The saying is trustworthy: If anyone aspires to the office of overseer, he desires a noble task. 2 Therefore an overseer must be above reproach, the husband of one wife, sober-minded, self- controlled, respectable, hospitable, able to teach, 3 not a drunkard, not violent but gentle, not quarrelsome, not a lover of money. 4 He must manage his own household well, with all dignity keeping his children submissive, 5 for if someone does not know how to manage his own household, how will he care for God's church? 6 He must not be a recent convert, or he may become puffed up with conceit and fall into the condemnation of the devil. 7 Moreover, he must be well thought of by outsiders, so that he may not fall into disgrace, into a snare of the devil.

8 Deacons likewise must be dignified, not double- tongued, not addicted to much wine, not greedy for dishonest gain. 9 They must hold the mystery of the faith with a clear conscience. 10 And let them also be tested first; then let them serve as deacons if they prove themselves blameless. 11 Their wives likewise must be dignified, not slanderers, but sober- minded, faithful in all things. 12 Let deacons each be the husband of one wife, managing their children and their own households well. 13 For those who serve well as deacons gain a good standing for themselves and also great confidence in the faith that is in Christ Jesus.

Titus 1:5-9 ESV

5 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. 6 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. 7 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. 8 Rather he must be hospitable, one who loves what is good, who is self-controlled, upright, holy and disciplined. 9 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.

Acts 6:1-6 ESV

1 Now in these days when the disciples were increasing in number, a complaint by the Hellenists arose against the Hebrews because their widows were being neglected in the daily distribution. 2 And the twelve summoned the full number of the disciples and said, “It is not right that we should give up preaching the word of God to serve tables. 3 Therefore, brothers, pick out from among you seven men of good repute, full of the Spirit and of wisdom, whom we will appoint to this duty. 4 But we will devote ourselves to prayer and to the ministry of the word.” 5 And what they said pleased the whole gathering, and they chose Stephen, a man full of faith and of the Holy Spirit, and Philip, and Prochorus, and Nicanor, and Timon, and Parmenas, and Nicolaus, a proselyte of Antioch. 6 These they set before the apostles, and they prayed and laid their hands on them.

EXPLANATION OF BIBLICAL QUALIFICATIONS FOR ELDERS AND DEACONS

All the qualities below need to have stood the test of time, making recent converts ineligible for office (1 Tim. 3:6). Please understand that a man called to serve as elder or deacon has not “completed the course”; rather, he is in process, living a life of repentance and faith, growing and maturing in these traits by God’s transforming grace.

REPUTABLE

He is blameless, i.e. there is no occasion or reason to charge him with any sin or offense. He keeps short accounts with others.

1. Husband of one wife (1 Tim. 3:2, 11-12; Titus 1:6) – Reputable in his marriage. Literally, a one-woman man. Devoted to loving and serving his wife as Christ does the church. Not a flirt nor sexually promiscuous in any way.

2. Above reproach (1 Tim. 3:2; Titus 1:6) – Reputable in the church. His living does not generate speculation about his personal moral choices. He “lives well” in front of others.

3. Well thought of by outsiders (1 Tim. 3:7) – Reputable in the community. He has a reputation of integrity, fairness and service in the community. Is involved enough to be “known and respected” in his neighborhood and broader community.

GODLY

He loves all things that are good, hating sin and evil.

1. Humble (Titus 1:7) – Not self-willed or arrogant but dependent upon the grace of God.

2. Gentle (1 Tim 3:3) – Equitable, fair, moderate, approachable, not insisting on the letter of the law.

3. Hospitable (1 Tim. 3:2; Titus 1:8) – Literally, a lover of strangers. His home is often opened to people who are not his closest friends.

4. Upright (Titus 1:8) – A righteous and just man. Sensitive to the laws of God and man.

5. Holy (Titus 1:8) – Released from slavery to sin, he strives to live in accord with God’s will. Knows he is “set apart” for God himself.

6. Dignified (1 Tim. 3:2, 8) – Someone who is decent, modest, respectable, and well ordered (not in appearance, but in their inner life); this is evident in his behavior and conversation.

CONTROLLED

He is a master of himself, keeping under control that which God has made him a steward.

1. His family is under control (1Tim. 1:5, 12; Titus 1:6) – Places a very high value in attending to the care and nurture of his family.

2. His emotions are under control (1 Tim. 3:3; Titus 1:7) – He is not prone to anger or violence. He is gentle, patient and understanding.

3. His tongue is under control (1 Ti m. 3:3, 8) – He is not contentious or quarrelsome with others and he does not lie.

4. His appetites are under control (1 Tim. 3:3, 8; Titus 1:7) – He does not over-drink and is not addicted to drugs or alcohol.

5. His money and possessions are under control (1 Tim. 3:3; Titus 1:8) – He is a man without covetousness, content with what God has provided. He is a responsible steward of money and possessions. And what he possesses, he has acquired honestly.

SKILLED

(Required for Elders but not for Deacons)

He has a firm grasp and knowledge of the Word of God and is able to minister the Word to others with obvious insight and ability.

1. Skilled to teach (1Tim. 3:2) – He is able to teach the unblemished truth of God’s Word to the saints.

2. Skilled to exhort (Titus 1:9) – He is able to come alongside others to encourage individuals and appeal to them with the unblemished truth of God’s Word.

3. Skilled to refute (Titus 1:9) – He is able to use the Word of God to convince or convict someone who contradicts or opposes the unblemished truth of God’s Word.

ORDINATION VOWS FOR OFFICERS

1. Do you believe the Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments, as originally given, to be the inerrant Word of God, the only infallible rule of faith and practice?

2. Do you sincerely receive and adopt the Westminster Confession of Faith and the Catechisms of this Church, as containing the system of doctrine taught in the Holy Scriptures; and do you further promise that if at any time you find yourself out of accord with any of the fundamentals of this system of doctrine, you will, on your own initiative, make known to your Session the change which has taken place in your views since the assumption of this ordination vow?

3. Do you approve of the form of government and discipline of the Presbyterian Church in America, in conformity with the general principles of biblical polity?

4. Do you accept the office of ruling elder (or deacon, as the case may be) in this church, and promise faithfully to perform all the duties thereof, and to endeavor by the grace of God to adorn the profession of the Gospel in your life, and to set a worthy example before the Church of which God has made you an officer?

5. Do you promise subjection to your brethren in the Lord?