The following letter was sent via email to all current communing City Church members...
Dear City Church Family:
During the next three weeks we will have an open elder nomination period at City Church. That means any communing member in good standing is invited to prayerfully submit nominations for the office of elder, keeping in mind the Biblical standards. Nominations should to be made to the Session in writing (email is sufficient) and received by Monday, October 2nd.
Beginning this Fall, these nominees will be trained in: the duties and responsibilities of church office, the theology of the Presbyterian Church, and the Biblical qualifications for office. Additionally, they will engage in ongoing conversations with the current church leadership to help them discern their calling. After training and testing are complete, all the approved nominees will be placed before the congregation for election by private ballot to the office of elder. We anticipate this election to take place in 2018.
What is an elder?
An elder is a member of the church called by God and set apart to act as a servant-leader, teacher, and shepherd for a specific church. Elders at City Church assist the pastor in leading and caring for members, regular attendees, and visitors. The apostle Paul appointed elders at many of the churches he started (e.g. Acts 20:17-38); they were an integral part of the early church. The current elders at City Church are pastors Erik Bonkovsky, Joshua Earman, and Jim Pulizzi, along with Ruling Elders David Blanchard (currently on sabbatical), Andrew Bleckley, Jon-Marc Haden, Mack Hendrix, James Murphy, and Hatch Reppard.
In the Presbyterian Church in America, the denomination City Church is part of, elder positions are limited to men. This limitation is based on the Bible’s teaching on the roles of church leadership, particularly through passages like 1 Timothy 3 and Titus 1. There is no set number of elders required for a church. The number of elders is determined by the congregation and depends on who demonstrates the character, competency, and calling to serve.
What should you do?
First, if you have any questions or concerns about this process, please contact me or another member of City Church’s leadership team. We realize that for many members at City Church the process of officer nomination, training, and election is new. Second, prayerfully consider nominating an individual to elder, preferably after you have talked with that individual. Finally, and most importantly, please pray for City Church as we continue to embody and proclaim the gospel. May we all cling to Christ and trust His grace as we move forward together.
Erik, Moderator of the City Church Session
Information regarding Ruling Elder
Select Passages from the PCA’s Book of Church Order:
8-2. He that fills this office should possess a competency of human learning and be blameless in life, sound in the faith and apt to teach. He should exhibit a sobriety and holiness of life becoming the Gospel. He should rule hisown house well and should have a goodreport of them thatare outside the Church.
8-3. It belongs to those in the office of elder, both severally and jointly, to watch diligently over the flock committed to his charge, that no corruption of doctrine or of morals enter 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 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.
I Timothy 3:1-7 The saying is trustworthy: If anyone aspires to the office of overseer, he desires a noble task. Therefore an overseer 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. He must manage his own household well, with all dignity keeping his children submissive, for if someone does not know how to manage his own household, how will he care for God’s church? He must not be a recent convert, or he may become puffed up with conceit and fall into the condemnation of the devil. Moreover, he must be well thought of by outsiders, so that he may not fall into disgrace, into a snare of the devil.
Titus 1:5-9 This is why I left you in Crete, so that you might put what remained into order, and appoint elders in every town as I directed you— if anyone is above reproach, the husband of one wife, and his children are believers and not open to the charge of debauchery or insubordination. For an overseer, as God’s steward, must be above reproach. He must not be arrogant or quick-tempered or a drunkard or violent or greedy for gain, but hospitable, a lover of good, self-controlled, upright, holy, and disciplined. He must hold firm to the trustworthy word as taught, so that he may be able to give instruction in sound doctrine and also to rebuke those who contradict it.
I Peter 5:1-5 So I exhort the elders among you, as a fellow elder and a witness of the sufferings of Christ, as well as a partaker in the glory that is going to be revealed: shepherd the flock of God that is among you, exercising oversight, not under compulsion, but willingly, as God would have you; not for shameful gain, but eagerly; not domineering over those in your charge, but being examples to the flock. And when the chief Shepherd appears, you will receive the unfading crown of glory. Likewise, you who are younger, be subject to the elders. Clothe yourselves, all of you, with humility toward one another, for "God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble."
I Timothy 5:17 Let the elders who rule well be considered worthy of double honor, especially those who labor in preaching and teaching.
Hebrews 13:17 Obey your leaders and submit to them, for they are keeping watch over your souls, as those who will have to give an account. Let them do this with joy and not with groaning, for that would be of no advantage to you.