And when they (Paul and Barnabas) had appointed elders for them in every church with prayer and fasting they committed them to the
Lord in whom they believed—Acts 14:23.
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 [deaconing]—Acts 6:3.
Our Biblical Approach to the Calling of Officers
From the book of Acts, the Lord provides us with guidance on how the early church selected its officers. Most importantly, it started with “prayer and fasting” to give us a sense of the serious magnitude of this important decision. Second, the persons being considered demonstrated the Spirit’s gifts and graces to rightly manage this sacred trust among those the Lord had entrusted to them.
“Compromise on leadership is the most suicidal act a church can commit” (Charles Spurgeon, December 1889). This statement, while provocative, gives us a sense of the sobering realities of our church life if we are not diligent in collectively seeking the Lord’s will in determining potential officers of the church. So, how are Tenth’s elders, deacons, and deaconesses selected? Tenth uses the Nominating Committee, which includes members who are elected by the church, along with actively serving elders, deacons, and deaconesses, to: pray for the Lord’s wisdom and guidance; to identify members who may demonstrate qualities of an officer; and, to pursue these nominees to determine if they have received God’s calling. These nominees are then presented to the congregation for election at the congregational meeting in December of each year.
What You Can Do
As your Nominating Committee, we work to find those whom the Lord is calling to serve in these roles through praying together; discussing congregational needs with the elders, the diaconate, and parish councils; and pooling our individual knowledge of Tenth’s members. But we realize that despite these efforts there will still be significant gaps in our knowledge of a congregation of our size and scope as a regional church. That’s where you come in.
We are asking you—the members of Tenth Church—to submit to the Nominating Committee the names of prospective candidates for these positions for our consideration. When suggesting someone to us, remember the qualifications described in 1 Timothy 3: 1–13:
…an overseer (elder) must be above reproach, the husband of one wife, sober-minded, self controlled, respectable, hospitable, able to teach, not a drunkard, not violent, but gentle, not quarrelsome, not a lover of money.
Deacons likewise must be dignified, not double-tongued, not addicted to much wine, not greedy for dishonest gain. They must hold the mystery of the faith with a clear conscience.
Their wives (or women) likewise must be dignified, not slanderers, but sober minded, faithful in all things.
Pray about your suggestion and for the nominating process as a whole. Be aware of the elders’ and the diaconate’s responsibilities in shepherding and caring for the congregation. Please tell us something about why you are suggesting a particular person; i.e., what qualities/gifts you observe; where is that individual currently serving, etc., so we can get a head start on our evaluation. Also, it is best if you do not tell the person whom you are recommending to us that you have done so. Since the nominating process is confidential and
since there are a limited number of vacancies on these boards each year it is possible the person will never hear from us at all this year, but your recommendation will be valuable to us for future consideration.
Thank you for your partnership in this important effort for our church; we look forward to hearing from you.
© 2020 Tenth Presbyterian Church.
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Please include the following statement on any distributed copy: By Bert Fink and Phil Scribano. © 2020 Tenth Presbyterian Church. Website: tenth.org