AS OUR CHURCH PLANT GROWS, SO DO OUR NEEDS. DURING 2021, WE WOULD LIKE TO NOMINATE, TRAIN, ELECT, AND INSTALL OUR FIRST BATCH OF RULING ELDERS.
We believe that this is the right time for One Covenant Church to appoint Ruling Elders. We invite Members of One Covenant Church to nominate candidates to the office of Ruling Elder.
WHAT IS THE ROLE OF ELDERS?
Elders oversee the spiritual life of the church. We distinguish between two types of Elders: Teaching Elders (i.e. full-time pastors/ministers), who are responsible to preach and teach God’s Word and administer the sacraments, and Ruling Elders (i.e. non-fulltime ‘lay people’), who govern the church, and care for the spiritual needs of the congregation together with the Teaching Elders.
10 to 24 January
Teaching on the Roles, Responsibilities and Requirements at Worship Services
1 February to 8 March
Announcement of Nominees
5 April to 30 August
4 to 19 September
Announcement of Roster of Qualified Candidates
Ordination and Installation of Ruling Elders
From 1 February to 8 March
We invite you to consider prayerfully which of your fellow members ought to serve as ordained Ruling Elders.
Who can nominate a candidate for office?
Any active Communicant Member of One Covenant Church is eligible to make a nomination.
What are the qualifications for office?
Each prospective Ruling Elder should be an active male Communicant Member (1 Timothy 2:8, 12-13) who meets the qualifications set forth in 1 Timothy 3:1-7 and Titus 1:6-9, 2:7-8. Please read the Scripture passages for details, but here is a summary of the qualifications for Ruling Elder:
A pure faith, with knowledge and preparation in Scripture, theology and dogmatics, with a commitment to upholding good order in the church (Titus 1:5,9-11);
Desire the noble task and a clear calling from God (1 Timothy 3:1, Romans 10:15);
Possess the gifts of shepherding and instruction (1 Timothy 3:2, Titus. 1:9);
A pious personal life (Titus 1:7-8);
A good household testimony (1 Timothy 3:2,5, Titus 1:6);
A good reputation in society (1 Timothy. 3:7); and
Sufficient experience of the Christian life and service in the church (1 Timothy 3:6).
One of the responsibilities of the Provisional Session is to confirm the qualification of candidates, so if you still have any doubts about a candidate after prayerful consideration, we suggest that you go ahead and make the nomination you have in mind.
How should a nomination be made?
Complete the form below to the best of your ability, then click 'Submit.' You can make as many nominations as you like.
From 5 April to 30 August
Once we have nominated our candidates, an in-depth training process facilitated by the Provisional Session will begin.
(1) To give candidates an opportunity to discern an inward call,
(2) To prepare candidates for examination,
(3) To equip candidates to serve well as ordained officers.
The focus will be on equipping Ruling Elders and consists of three parts: basic training, practical training, and confessional training:
Basic Training (Vision, Office, Duties)
We will focus on the vision, mission, values and philosophy of ministry of One Covenant Church, the nature of ordained office, and the duties of Ruling Elders.
Candidates will receive practical training in the normal responsibilities of Elders. We will focus on practice, and give candidates the opportunity to attend Session meetings as observers, preside over public worship, teach the Bible and Doctrine in different settings, visit and counsel members together with the Pastor or Pastoral Staff, share the Gospel with those who do not believe, and any other duty deemed necessary for developing the candidate.
Candidates will complete assigned readings and meet to review and discuss them. In addition to the Westminster Confession of Faith, the Larger and Shorter Catechisms, and the Book of Church Order, candidates will read the following books:
(1) Confessing Our Faith, by Chad Van Dixhoorn
(2) The Shepherd Leader, by Timothy Witmer
(3) Center Church, by Timothy Keller
Shorter readings will also be assigned throughout the training process. We will focus on theology, working through themes from the readings and preparing for examination.
From 4 to 19 September
Once training is complete, the Provisional Session will examine the candidates, focusing on five particular areas of knowledge.
(1) To ensure the qualification of each candidate,
(2) To assess whether the inward call has outward confirmation,
(3) To present the congregation with qualified candidates for election.
What are candidates examined on?
The Provisional Session has the responsibility to conduct an examination for every candidate in the following areas:
1. His personal testimony (“faith experience”), especially his personal character and administration of his household (1 Timothy 3:1-7 and Titus 1:6-9)
2. His level of Bible knowledge
3. His level of understanding of the doctrinal standards, form of governance, rules of discipline, of the Church.
4. The office and responsibilities of the role he is being nominated for, and
5. His ability to answer in the affirmative the questions of ordination.
What happens next?
Once the examinations are complete, the Provisional Session will announce the roster of qualified candidates who have passed examination. This must take place at least 30 days prior to the actual election.
On Sunday, 31 October 2021, God-willing, One Covenant Church will hold a congregational meeting for the purpose of electing new Ruling Elders. The goal of this meeting is for the people of One Covenant Church to choose their own officers.
Who can vote?
All active Communicant Members in good and regular standing with the church are entitled to vote in the election of Ruling Elders.
How many votes are required to elect a Ruling Elder?
Candidates must receive a simple majority of the vote to be elected.
What if a minority of members opposes an officer’s election?
If in the process of electing Ruling Elders, there is a significant minority who opposes the election results and cannot be convinced to agree to them, the moderator should strive to convince the majority to postpone the implementation of the results of the election. However, if the opinion of the voters is near unanimous or if the majority continues to stand by their decision to elect this officer, the moderator shall declare the call valid. The whole body of the congregation should view the elected Ruling Elder as having been personally called by God from among them.
ORDINATION AND INSTALLATION
On 14 November, the Ruling Elders elected by the congregation will be ordained and installed as part of a special worship service. This is so our Ruling Elders are recognised and launched into their new ministry well.
Each officer will affirm these 6 ordination vows:
1. Do you believe that the original manuscripts of the Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments are the inerrant Word of God and are the only inerrant standard for faith and practice?
2. Do you sincerely receive and adopt the Confession and Catechisms of this church as containing the system of doctrine taught in the Bible? And do you promise, after saying your vows of ordination, that at any time you discover you do not agree with any part of this system of doctrine, you will pro-actively inform the local session of your change in doctrinal stance?
3. Do you agree that the form of government and church discipline of One Covenant Church is in accordance with the overall principles taught in the Bible regarding the organizational structure of the church?
4. Do you agree to receive the office of Ruling Elder of this church? Do you promise to faithfully carry out all your responsibilities and, trusting in the grace of God, do your utmost to glorify the Gospel in your life, and to be an example, compatible with your office, before the church in which God has called you to take up the office?
5. Do you promise to submit yourself to the authority of the church assemblies in the Lord?
6. Do you promise to work diligently to promote the purity, peace, unity and progress of the church?