Ruling Elder & Deacon Nominations
From the Book of Order, G-2.0301 Ruling Elder Defined
As there were in Old Testament times elders for the government of the people, so the New Testament church provided persons with particular gifts to share in discernment of God’s Spirit and governance of God’s people. Accordingly, congregations should elect persons of wisdom and maturity of faith, having demonstrated skills in leadership and being compassionate in spirit. Ruling elders are so named not because they “lord it over” the congregation (Matt. 20:25), but because they are chosen by the congregation to discern and measure its fidelity to the Word of God, and to strengthen and nurture its faith and life. Ruling elders, together with teaching elders, exercise leadership, government, spiritual discernment, and discipline and have responsibilities for the life of a congregation as well as the whole church, including ecumenical relationships. When elected by the congregation, they shall serve faithfully as members of the session. When elected as commissioners to higher councils, ruling elders participate and vote with the same authority as teaching elders, and they are eligible for any office.
Guidelines for Ruling Elder Nominations by: Congregational Nominating Committee
Approved by the FPC Session August 1, 2017
- Initial installation as Ruling Elder requires FPC membership of at least two years.
- Installation as Ruling Elder, of anyone who joined from another denomination or none, requires FPC membership of at least three years.
- Ruling Elders may serve another term immediately following the expiration of their term not to exceed two consecutive terms (six years).
- Spouses should not serve concurrently on the Session. There should be a lapse of at least one year between spouses’ service on the Session.
- Since there may be potential conflicts of interest, the nomination of part-time FPC and Presbytery staff persons should be made only after the most careful consideration.
- FPC staff members and their spouses should not be nominated to serve on the Session.
- Compelling rationale must be provided if Nominating Committee members, or their spouses, are nominated to be active Ruling Elders.
- Ruling Elder nominees should be active in the church’s life, ministry and financial support.
- Self-nomination is acceptable.
From the Book of Order, G-2.0201 Deacon Defined
The ministry of deacon as set forth in Scripture is one of compassion, witness, and service, sharing in the redeeming love of Jesus Christ for the poor, the hungry, the sick, the lost, the friendless, the oppressed, those burdened by unjust policies or structures, or anyone in distress. Persons of spiritual character, honest repute, exemplary lives, brotherly and sisterly love, sincere compassion, and sound judgment should be chosen for this ministry.
Guidelines for the Diaconate (Board of Deacons) at FPC Dallas
Approved by the FPC Session June 5, 2018
- Adult members of the same household cannot serve concurrently on Session and Diaconate.
- There is no waiting period required between the time an individual completes a term on the Diaconate and the time a member of the same household begins a new term on the Diaconate (in contrast to Session rules which require a waiting period).
- An individual cannot serve on Session and the Diaconate concurrently.
- Recognizing that there are differing levels of influence among church staff, the recommendation is that the spouse or household member of a church employee is eligible to serve as a Deacon, provided that the employee is not in a Supervisory role nor manages the Diaconate.
- No more than two members of the Diaconate shall be the spouse or household member of a church employee at any one time.
- Deacons must be church members, but there is not a minimum membership term requirement prior to being installed as a Deacon.
- There shall be an evaluation of these terms by Session after two years.
- No one can serve on the Diaconate more than six consecutive years.