RESURRECTION BROOKLYN LEADERSHIP DEVELOPMENT
This material is meant to explain to the members of Resurrection Brooklyn the process each potential church officer must undergo in order to become part of the Consistory (Ministers, Elders, Deacons, and Trustees). Every member is urged to carefully read through this information and prayerfully evaluate recommendations before submitting names for consideration.
Resurrection Brooklyn is led by Ministers, Elders and Deacons. The lay leadership of the church through Elders and Deacons is as prudent today as it was in the first century. It is God’s intentional design to nurture, protect and grow His Body and Bride through these roles.
This calling exceeds the possession of natural abilities as we commonly see with candidates in our political process. Instead, calling involves the power and wisdom of God at work in an individual’s life, which requires recognition not only by the nominee (internal calling) but also by the church members and their Elders (external calling). So, the identification of nominees is not swayed primarily by their vocational achievements or by their physical or outward attributes. Instead, identifying nominees involves selecting individuals in whose love for God is clearly at work. This is indicative of a heart for ministry and responsibility rather than a title or position to which one might be assigned.
STEP 1 - RECOMMENDATIONS FROM THE CONGREGATION
STEP 2 - SESSION REVIEWS THE RECOMMENDATIONS
STEP 3 - LEADERSHIP TRAINING AND EXAMINATION
STEP 4 - CONGREGATIONAL VOTE TO APPROVE SLATE OF NOMINEES TRAINED AND APPROVED BY THE SESSION
STEP 5 - ORDINATION AND INSTALLATION OF ELECTED NOMINEES
STEP 1 - RECOMMENDATIONS
The first step in this process is for members of Resurrection Brooklyn to recommend individuals whom they deem qualified to assume the calling of elder or deacon.
Recommendations will only be accepted March 1st to March 31st, 2024. Use the buttons at the top or bottom of this page, or click here to submit your recommendations.
Before this step begins, please adhere to the following guidelines:
1. You are asked to recommend only those who are active in the life and ministry of Resurrection Brooklyn.
You should have real life experience and examples of your recommendation actively serving in ways befitting an elder or deacon. Recommendations should be only those who consistently attend gathered worship on Sundays and participate in the life of the church family.
2. You are asked not to discuss the men or women you recommend with the recommendation him/herself nor with anyone else in the congregation.
Making a recommendation is meant to be a result of the Spirit of God leading and moving in your heart. It is a private step between you and God.
3. You are asked not to nominate family members.
We want to make every effort to avoid partisanship in the nomination process.
4. You must be an active member in good standing of Resurrection Brooklyn in order to recommend a candidate for office.
To assist you in this recommendation process there are several evaluative aids in this paper. Please use these aids for each recommendation being considered. Evaluate with a heart tender toward God, listening to your own conscience, laying aside personal bias and prejudice, prayerfully seeking His leading before writing down a name for recommendation.
The biblical passages which list the qualifications for church leaders (see below)
The explanation of the biblical qualifications (see below)
The description of the responsibilities and ministries of Deacons and Elders from the Evangelical Presbyterian Church Book of Order (see below).
The officer recommendation form: The recommendation period is intended to be a thoughtful process and will last thirty (30) days. Forms that are not signed will not be accepted. Forms can either be filled out electronically on our website (preferred) or printed from our website and filled out by hand and mailed to the church address.
STEP 2 - SESSION REVIEWS RECOMMENDATIONS
After receiving recommendations, the Session of Resurrection Brooklyn will prayerfully consider each one.
The Session has the responsibility to determine if recommendations qualify to serve as elders or deacons (Book of Church Order, 11-3). In addition to the biblical qualifications for elders and deacons, there may be instances, because of the Session’s sense of God’s leading and/or their own knowledge of the recommendation, that they will determine that it is not wise for the recommendation to be considered to serve in this way at this time. The Session will prayerfully consider the strategic, organizational, and interpersonal qualities of each potential nominee to determine the right fit for the Session and Diaconate that best suits the mission of Resurrection Brooklyn. Further, potential candidates for elder or deacon must be willing to undergo officer training and must pass ordination exams in order to be nominated, elected, and installed as an officer of the church. Therefore, it is possible that the Session will determine that it is not wise or prudent to pursue a particular recommendation.
If the Session senses God’s leading in the recommendation, they will inform them that their name was put forward, that the Session concurs with their recommendation, and ask they prayerfully consider if God is leading them to serve the church as an officer.
If the potential nominee senses God is leading them to take the next step, they will be invited to meet with the Session. If married, the spouse will complete a confidential questionnaire and be interviewed only by the assigned pastor.
Upon completion of the interview, at the discretion of the Session and desire of the potential nominee, those recommended may be invited to proceed with officer training.
STEP 3 - TRAINING AND EXAMINATION
The training period normally meets weekly for 6-8 weeks. In the case of a potential nominee that has been involved in the life of Resurrection Brooklyn for some time, taken advantage of select discipleship training opportunities, and/or demonstrated competency in active ministry, this period may be shortened at the approval of the Session. There are three general categories of officer training that we desire for the potential nominee to experience.
PHASE ONE (Training in Character): This phase emphasizes the officer candidate’s personal relationship with God, their grasp of the gospel and their desire to live by its power (1 Timothy 4:12).
PHASE TWO (Training in Mission): This phase emphasizes the unique cultural and philosophical commitments that influence how Resurrection Brooklyn conceives of and prioritizes decisions regarding our mission and ethos as a church.
PHASE THREE (Training in Doctrine): This phase emphasizes the officer candidate’s growth in and understanding of the doctrines and beliefs of Resurrection Brooklyn and The Evangelical Presbyterian Church.
PHASE FOUR (Training in Church Government): This phase emphasizes the officer candidate’s knowledge and understanding of our church government, discipline and worship. Also, attention will be given to the specific ministries and responsibilities of their calling.
The training phases are designed to not only equip the candidate with the knowledge and skills for their office, but also help discern the candidate’s readiness to be an elder or deacon at this time.
If there is concurrence between the Session and the candidate that God’s will for them is to continue in the process, the candidate is examined by the Session for their knowledge and understanding of the required topics as prescribed in the EPC’s Book of Order 12-6 (personal experience of the saving grace of God in Jesus Christ and progress in spiritual growth; theology and Sacraments of the Church; the government, discipline, worship, and history of the Church; an understanding of the office to which one is elected). In addition, they must discern they are willing to give assent to the questions required for ordination, which are listed below:
1. Do you reaffirm your faith in Jesus Christ as your own personal Lord and Savior?
2. Do you believe the Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments to be the Word of God, totally trustworthy, fully inspired by the Holy Spirit, the supreme, final, and the only infallible rule of faith and practice?
3. Do you sincerely receive and adopt the Westminster Confession of Faith and the Catechisms of this Church, as containing the system of doctrine taught in the Holy Scriptures?
4. Do you promise that if at any time you find yourself out of accord with the system of doctrine as taught in the Scriptures and as contained in the Westminster Confession of Faith and the Catechisms of this Church you will, on your own initiative, make known to your Presbytery the change which has taken place in your views since the assumption of this ordination vow?
5. Do you affirm and adopt the “Essentials of Our Faith” without exception?
6. Do you subscribe to the government and discipline of the Evangelical Presbyterian Church?
7. Do you promise subjection to your fellow Presbyters in the Lord? (for elders) Do you promise subjection to your fellow church officers in the Lord? (for deacons)
STEP 4 - CONGREGATIONAL VOTE TO ELECT NOMINEES
If the candidate passes their examination and there is concurrence between the Session and the candidate that God’s will is for them to continue, the individual will be presented to the church as a nominee for elder or deacon. The Session will present the nominees who are eligible and the congregation will have 14 days to prayerfully consider their vote. A congregational meeting will be called for the specific purpose of voting to elect these nominees. A majority vote of the congregation is required to approve a nominee. Elections will be by private ballot.
STEP 5 - ORDINATION AND INSTALLATION
Newly elected elders and deacons will be ordained and installed before the congregation during a regular service of worship.
EXPLANATION OF BIBLICAL QUALIFICATIONS FOR CHURCH LEADERSHIP
All the qualities below have stood the test of time, making recent converts ineligible for formal church leadership (1 Timothy 3:6).
1. REPUTABLE: The person is “blameless” (i.e. there is no occasion or reason to charge with any sin or offense, cf. Timothy 3:8; Titus 1:6, 10).
If married - Reputable in their marriage (1 Timothy 3:2, 11-12; Titus 1:6). Devoted to loving and serving their spouse as Christ does the church. Not a flirt nor sexually promiscuous in any way.
Above reproach (1 Timothy 3:2) - Reputable in the church. Not open to being censured with moral failure.
Well thought of by outsiders (1 Timothy 3:7) - Reputable in the community. Is considered ethically upright, noble and honorable by those outside their own church family.
2. GODLY: The individual loves what is good, hating sin and evil (1 Timothy 3:9; Titus 1:8).
Humble (Titus 1:7) - Not self-willed or arrogant.
Gentle (1 Timothy 3:3) - Equitable, fair, moderate, not insisting on the letter of the law.
Hospitable (1 Timothy 3:2; Titus 1:8) - Literally, a lover of strangers. Their home is often opened to people who are not their closest friends. Involved in their neighborhood.
Upright (Titus 1:8) - A righteous and just person. Conforms to the laws of God and man.
Holy (Titus 1:8) - Pure from evil conduct and observant of God’s will. Devout, pious and pleasing to God.
Dignified (1 Timothy 3:2) - Someone who is decent, modest and well ordered. This is not meaning in appearance, but in their inner life, which shows itself in their behavior and conversation.
3. CONTROLLED: They are a master of themself, keeping under control that which God has made them a steward (Titus 1:8; 1 Timothy 3:2),
Their family is under their care (1 Timothy 1:6, 12; Titus 1:6) - Places a very high value attending to the care and nurture of their family. Their family is supportive of the church. They diligently care for not only the physical needs of their children, but their emotional and spiritual needs as well. Their children respect them, know they are loved and respond to their directives.
Their emotions are sensitive to the Spirit (1 Timothy 3:3; Titus 1:7) - They are not prone to anger or violence; they are gentle, patient and understanding.
Their words are peaceful (1 Timothy 3:3, 8) - They are not contentious or quarrelsome with others and they do not lie.
Their appetites are in submission to the Spirit (1 Timothy 3:3, 8; Titus 1:7) - They do not over drink and are not addicted to drugs or alcohol.
They have a spirit of generosity and contentment (1 Timothy 3:3; Titus 1:8) - They are without covetousness, content with what God has provided. They are a responsible steward of money and possessions without habits of unnecessarily acquiring more or newer things. And what they possess, they have acquired honestly.
- An elder or deacon must set the example of faithful and generous financial support of the church by giving the minimum 10% tithe of one’s gross income as set forth in the Scriptures.
4. SKILLED: They have a firm grasp and knowledge of the Word of God and are able to govern God’s people accordingly (Titus 1:9).
Skilled to exhort and encourage (Titus 1:9) - They are able to come alongside others to encourage individuals and appeal to them with the truth of God’s Word.
Skilled to challenge and protect (Titus 1:9) - They are able to use the Word of God to convince or convict someone who contradicts or opposes the truth of God’s Word.
5. GIVING: Individual is cheerful in extending mercy (Romans 12:6, 8).
While this quality pertains to the office of elder, this is a particular quality required of deacons. Deacons do not require such an intensive focus on teaching; therefore, the above skill areas are welcomed and desirable but not requisite. The heart of a deacon is geared more toward extending hospitality, showing mercy, and acts of service. If a person is called to serve as a deacon, they will derive energy from meeting the needs of others, and be especially attentive to physical needs within the congregation.
DESCRIPTION OF THE RESPONSIBILITIES & MINISTRIES OF ELDERS AND DEACONS FROM THE EPC BOOK OF ORDER
RESPONSIBILITIES AND MINISTRIES FOR ELDERS
In the Old Testament, the office of Elder was established for the oversight of the Church. In the New Testament, this office is continued. Those who fill this office today for governing the Church are called Ruling Elders. Chosen by the people of a local church, these Ruling Elders are to watch over the spiritual welfare of that congregation. When appointed to participate in Presbytery or General Assembly, they shall watch over the spiritual welfare and participate diligently in the workings of that portion of the Church to which they are commissioned, recognizing that the Evangelical Presbyterian Church is a connectional church. The Ruling Elder shares authority with the Teaching Elder in all of the courts of the Church, in both rights and duties. It is the first duty of the Ruling Elder to represent the mind of Christ, as that person understands it, in the various courts of the Church.
The authority to govern is exercised jointly by church courts in ascending gradation. Each Ruling Elder, by virtue of ordination, individually exercises the responsibility of order.
A. Ruling Elders should study and learn the Word. They should become equipped to teach the Word, lead worship and prayer, and may be invited or commissioned to supply the ministry of the Word where none is available.
B. Ruling Elders, as Undershepherds, should visit the sick, the bereaved, the lonely, the aged, the shut-in, and all those who have a pastoral need. In cases where there is a special need, the Ruling Elder shall be careful to inform the Pastor.
C. Ruling Elders have a special responsibility to see to the development of the children of the congregation, to inquire after the inactive members, to encourage new members in spiritual development, and to otherwise show care for those whom they serve.
D. Ruling Elders should be attentive to themselves and church members, guarding against dangers to the faith and to dangers to the moral life of believers. They are also responsible to warn, admonish, and reclaim those who stray. Where it is deemed necessary, such situations should be brought to the attention of the Session for appropriate action in accordance with the Book of Discipline.
- Book of Order, 9-8, 9-10
This leadership development process will seek to emphasize the shepherding role of elders in the life of a church family. Meaning, the pastors are looking for potential candidates who demonstrate the ability to minister to others with an intentional, caring presence. Many churches have a tendency to select church officers with high operational, organizational, and financial expertise and accomplishments. While it is true the office of elder includes responsibilities pertaining to the organizational needs of the institution, we want to be careful not to overemphasize them as primary to the role of elder in the church. As you consider your elder recommendations, we would direct your focus to their shepherd-like qualities. Elders are not the same thing as your pastors. They are not tasked or expected to fill the role of an ordained minister of word and sacrament. They are, however, meant to serve alongside your pastors as undershepherds, caring for the pastoral needs of the congregation. Please make your recommendations accordingly.
RESPONSIBILITIES AND MINISTRIES FOR DEACONS
The office of Deacon as set forth in Scripture is one of compassion, concern for needs, and of serving others. Therefore, the first duty of the Deacon is sympathy and service. Historically, the duty of being the Church’s instrument for the ministry of compassion has been given to this office .
Since the Board of Deacons is not a court of the Church, and since it is under the authority of the Session, the Session may assign special duties appropriate to that office. Such duties may include the care, maintenance, and preparation of the church and its facilities.
- Book of Order, 9-12, 9-14
The office of deacon has held a variety of functions in the history of the Church. Based on the context of Acts 6 when an office of deacon was established, the emphasis for deacons has been one of deed ministry. Deacons are set apart to ensure the physical tangible needs of the congregation are being met, either themselves and/or by delegation to other lay persons, and in so doing free the pastors to focus on the ministry of word and sacrament and prayer. Therefore, our practice at Resurrection Brooklyn will be for deacons to perform a variety of services to the church. A deacon may have a particular ministry focus while being a member of the diaconate as a whole. For example, in the past our churches formed a Mercy Team to come alongside congregants and neighbors in financial need. Moving forward, those members of our congregation gifted and willing to serve in mercy and compassion ministry will now do so as elected deacons. Other deacons on the diaconate are needed who have gifts and talents suited for overseeing and monitoring the physical needs of our property. Further still, some deacons are needed who are simply handy and are willing and able to take on smaller maintenance and repair projects we as a congregation should be able to take care of in-house. In summary, deacons can serve in a variety of capacities in order to make sure the pastors are not bogged down in the details of making sure the physical needs of both our people and our ministry facility are being met.