Nominations for the offices of Elder and Deacon are now open and will be received throughout the month of May. This year, for the first time, all nominations will be received digitally. A link at the bottom of this page will take you to the nomination form. Simply use the drop box to select the office for which you would like to nominate a candidate, fill the designated blanks with the name of the candidate you want to nominate, provide your name and email, and click submit.
We invite all members of Grace Covenant to submit nominations for offices of Elder and Deacon. But before making any nominations, we ask that please read through the information on this page.
Importance of Electing Qualified Men
The Apostle Paul teaches us that the desire to serve as an officer in the church is a worthy ambition. He heartily endorses it. He then goes on in 1 Timothy 3 to explain the demanding requirements needed to be an Elder or Deacon in the church of the Lord Jesus Christ. It’s sort of a good news-bad news approach. The good news is that the ambition to spiritual leadership is a worthy one. The bad news (which, of course is not really bad, only demanding) is that it is not for everyone who desires it. Those who aspire to office in the church must meet the highest standards, and must be examined and tested.
The reason for such high standards for Elders and Deacons, Paul says, is that the church is the very “household of God…the church of the living God, the pillar and support of the truth.” (1 Timothy 3:15) Paul had – and so should we have – an exalted view, and a vision for the church as the people of God (1 Peter 2:10), the new Israel of God (Galatians 6:16, 1 Peter 2:9), the temple of God (1 Corinthians 3:16), and the pillar and foundation of the great truths of the gospel, (1 Timothy 3:15) Therefore, it’s imperative that those who lead the people of God have the high qualifications listed by Paul in 1 Timothy and Titus.
Finally, Jesus entrusted the church with the “keys of the kingdom of heaven” (Matthew 16:19), meaning that by the preaching of the word and the exercise of church discipline, the church leadership has the authority to receive people into the visible kingdom of God, as well as put people outside the visible kingdom, if necessary. Hence, spiritually wise, discerning men are needed for this important responsibility.
Officer election is not to be taken lightly.
Qualifications for Officers in the Church
Sometimes there is confusion about what qualities and qualifications are required of those who will serve in the offices of Elder and Deacon. What is the difference between Elders and Deacons? And, though there are many qualities that are shared by both Deacons and Elders, there are some qualifications unique to each office. The video below offers an excellent brief explanation of the differences:
The qualifications for Elder and Deacon are listed by the Apostles Paul & Peter in 1 Timothy 3, Titus 1, and 1 Peter 5. Please read through these passages prayerfully and carefully before submitting your nominations. Generally, and briefly, they are as follows:
The Qualifications for Elder are:
*Above Reproach. Is the candidate living in such a way that no one can point a finger at him for ungodly habits or actions? This is first and foremost, and the following characteristics simply amplify this quality.
*Husband of One Wife. Literally, this means a “one-womaned man.” Is the candidate, if married, a loving and faithful husband; or, if single, is he above reproach in his relationships with women? The main issue here is one of purity in thought, word, and deed, toward women, and faithfulness to one’s wife.
*Temperate & Self Controlled. Is the candidate self-control-led in all areas of his life? Does he over-indulge himself in any areas?
*Prudent. Is the candidate a good thinker, reasonable, wise?
*Respectable. Is the candidate respected by his peers, and is he a good model of Christianity for others?
*Hospitable. Literally means “loving strangers.” Does he meet people well, and is his home open to minister to Christians, as well as non-Christians?
*Able to Teach. This is not the gift of teaching, per se, but an ability to communicate Biblical truth and counsel to groups or individuals.
*Not Addicted to Alcohol. Does he have any habits he cannot control, particularly in the area of food or drink?
*Not Quarelsome. Is he prone to arguments with family or friends?
*Gentle & Uncontentious. The antithesis of quarrelsome, having an evenness of temper, and a reasonable, teachable spirit.
*Free from the Love of money. Is the accumulation of material wealth a primary motivation and object of concern for this candidate?
*Manage Household Well. Much could be said here, but basically this deals with the man’s ability to lead his family, to teach his children the truths of Scripture, and to have the respect of both wife and children.
*Not a New Convert. Paul says new believers in leadership are especially prone to attacks and resultant harm or scandal.
*Good Reputation Outside the Church. Does the candidate have a good reputation at his place of employment, in his neighborhood, and at his place of recreation?
The Qualifications for Deacon are:
(Some are the same for Elder. This list includes those qualities not listed under qualifications for elder.)
*Dignity & Worthy of Respect. Closely related to the characteristic of being “above reproach,” and of a “good reputation.” Is the candidate a man who is respected for his devotion to the Lord?
*Sincere. Is the candidate honest, or does he tend to say one thing and mean another? Is he given to over exaggeration in order to impress others?
*Love What is Good. Does the candidate look for, and expect, the best in other people? Are his values consistent with Biblical values?
*Hold to the Deep Truths of the Faith with Clear Conscience. While Deacons are not required to be “able to teach”, they must know what they believe, and hold firmly to it. Much of their ministry will be effected by their beliefs.
Note: The major difference in qualifications for elder and deacon is NOT of character or of spiritual maturity, but essentially only in gifting and calling. BOTH Elders & must demonstrate consistently high standards of character and godliness. While both Deacons & Elders must “hold to the truths of the faith with a clear conscience”, Elders must also demonstrate a clear understanding of the doctrines of our faith with an ability to teach.
Procedure for Electing Officers
Preparation: Church members should prayerfully read through the following passages: 1 Timothy 3.1-13, Titus 1.5-9, and 1 Peter 5.1-5 before submitting a nomination.
Nomination. An officer must be nominated by those who are members in good standing of Grace Covenant. These people should have some relationship with the candidate, having been ministered to by the candidate in some way, e.g., through friendship, small group involvement, committee work, etc…
Initial Screening. The Elders of the church have the responsibility of evaluating all nominees initially, for their fitness for service.
Interview. Each nominee is interviewed by the Session (Elders) of in the areas of Biblical qualifications and call to the office.
Training. Nominees have the right to refuse the nomination, but should they accept it, they will begin an officer training program led by the Pastor(s). This program involves training the nominees in the areas of personal piety (spiritual formation), sound theology, church government, philosophy of gospel-centered ministry, and practical ministry (respective to each office).
–Examination. After the officer training has been completed, the nominee still has the right to refuse the nomination. Should he wish to proceed, he is then tested by written and oral examination conducted by the Pastor and Session.
–Election. If the nominees are approved, their names go the congregation for election. A simple majority vote of a quorum of members present at a congregational meeting is needed to elect the nominees.
–Installation. New officers are then duly installed and ordained according to the procedures in the Presbyterian Church in America (P.C.A.) Book of Church Order, Chapter 24.
Officer Nomination Form
The nomination and election of qualified church officers is vital to the health of any church. It is not a matter to be taken lightly. But it is the privilege given to church members to select and to elect those who will guide and serve their church.
A couple Notes:
- ALL candidates for church offices must be active members of Grace Covenant for at least one year prior being nominated.
- Please DO NOT speak with the candidate about your nomination. Even if there is a question regarding length of time of church membership. We request that you leave that to the Session as part of their responsibility of initial screening of candidates in this nomination process.
- Grace Covenant Church members may submit more than one candidate for nomination to each office.
To submit a nomination for Elder or Deacon, please click: