Officer Nominations & Standards
Providence Reformed Presbyterian Church
Adopted February 14, 1995
A. Nominations and Elections (PCA Book of Church Order §24)
1. Opportunity for the congregation to nominate men for the office of elder and deacon shall be given during the month of January. During the month designated for nominations there shall be at least one sermon on the biblical qualifications for church leadership.
2. The names of all nominees will be reviewed by the session before the men nominated are personally contacted. This initial review will be for the purpose of screening the nominees for any obvious problems that would not allow the session to present them to the congregation for election (I Tim. 3:1ff; Titus 1:6-9). For example, if a man is nominated, but is not a member of the congregation, then he cannot stand for election. Another example: if a man is nominated that is currently under discipline, he obviously cannot be placed before the congregation for election. Thus, the purpose of this initial screening is not to speculate on the nominee’s theology or his leadership qualities, but merely to screen out any nominees that are obviously not qualified. The list of qualifications below (B. 2.) should guide this initial screening process.
3. In order to fulfill the requirements of BCO §24-1, whereby the prospective officers are required to be examined in his Christian experience, his knowledge of the system of doctrine, government, discipline contained in the Standards, the duties of the office to which he has been nominated, and his willingness to give assent to the questions required for ordination, the session will conduct intensive training for the nominees. The training should be open to nominees as well as all interested men in the church.
4. All the interested nominees (together with any interested men of the church) will meet at the convenience of the session & pastor to begin an intensive, 6-10 week training course to be conducted by both by the pastor and elders of the church.
5. This course will include at least:
a. Weekly BCO readings
b. Theological, biblical, historical, and practical lectures and discussion taught by the ruling elders and teaching elders of the church (or by any visiting leaders called in by the session).
c. Weekly outside readings on the topic for the week.
d. Weekly memorization (Scripture & Westminster Shorter Catechism)
e. Visitation training, both instruction and on-the-job training.
B. Qualifications & Approval of Elders & Deacons
1. Before any man is placed before the congregations as a candidate he must
a. meet the Scriptural qualifications (1 Tim. 3; Titus 1, etc.).
b. meet the Book of Church Order qualifications (BCO Chapters 8,9 & 24)
2. Some objective standards that must be met before a nominee can normally be approved by the session to be on the congregational ballot include the following (items marked with * may be waived upon vote of the session in extraordinary circumstances) :
a. Must have attended at least 75 percent of the training sessions.*
b. Must have received at least an 80 percent on the written examination.*
c. Must have had his oral exam sustained by a 3/4 vote of the session.
d. Must believe and confess the Reformed system of doctrine (especially the inerrancy of Scripture, the creation of man by the direct act of God the five points of Calvinism, infant baptism, and Presbyterian church government) and state his reservations about those areas of the Westminster standards that he either does not agree with or of which he is unsure.
e. Must already be a leader within the congregation in some capacity. In other words, he must have manifested specific leadership skills within the congregation. Ordination authenticates and seals leadership; it does not create leaders.
f. Must have established a reputation for regular attendance at both morning and evening worship services as well as the educational programs of the church, especially Sunday School.
g. Must have read through the entire Bible word for word at least once prior to the commencement of his training.
h. Must have read through the entire Westminster Confession of Faith as well the Larger and Shorter Catechisms word for word before the nominees written and oral exam.
i. Must have been a Christian for at least 7 years (1 Tim. 3: 6; 5:22)*
j. Must be at least 30 years old to be considered for eldership (Gen.†41:46; Num. 4:3; 2 Sam. 5:4; Lk. 3:23)*
k. Must be at least 25 years old to be a deacon (Num. 8:24)
l. If the nominee has been under discipline in this church or another, special care must be exercised to determine the nominee’s present spiritual condition.
m. Must have been a member of Providence Presbyterian church for at least 3 years or must have been a member of PRPC for 2 years after having been received from another PCA, OPC, or other Reformed church (pending session approval) as a member in good standing for at least 2 years (2+2).*
n. Newly married men are only eligible after they have completed their first year of marriage (Deut. 24:5).
o. Deacons must serve out their complete three-year term before being eligible for Elder.
p. No member of the staff of PRPC (Assistant to the Pastor, Choir Director, Bookkeeper, Secretary, etc.) may serve as an active elder or deacon.