Since Missio Dei Church didn’t start off with elders from the parent church, one of the questions that we have been struggling through is, “How do we identify your initial/founding elders with out a formal membership?” We have some very high convictions about the office of elder/pastor, so we want to make sure that Missio Dei has the right people, with the right training, in the right place, for the right reasons. Because of these convictions, Paul Vroom has created an Elder Training and Discernment Course for elder candidates.
For Missio Dei Church the nomination ballot is one of the first of many steps in the selection of Elders to serve Missio Dei Church. Another way for a man to attain the role of elder/pastor was to aspire to it. In fact, since it is the duty of elders to do their work with gladness and not under constraint or for love of money (1 Peter 5:1-3), this should be thought of as one of the elders' qualifications. This need not exclude the possibility that a man may be sought out and urged to become an elder, however, no pressure should be used that would result in an unwilling, half-hearted service.
Once nominations are received, the Elder(s)/Pastor(s) will affirm or disqualify nominations. Qualified Elder nominees will be invited into the Training and Discernment Course.
Nominees will undergo approximately nine months of rigorous preparation and discernment as they and their family (if applicable) are tested and approved by the demands of the Scriptures (1 Timothy 5:22). If our church is to be governed by Biblical and Reformed principles, and is to continue in its commitment to the faith once-delivered, then it is necessary that those nominated and ultimately elected to church office should be committed to Christ, His Word and His Church.
This training program is thus designed to accomplish at least two things. First, it aims to ensure that all potential officers can make an honest, informed, and wholehearted affirmation of the ordination vows (See below for the vows found in the PCA BCO 24-6). Second, it aims to equip our nominees to serve, if elected, with the knowledge and resources required for the fulfillment of the office.
If calling is affirmed, then Elder Candidates (note terminology change) will be presented to the congregation to share their Gospel stories and then be publically examined on their theology.
Following a Canidate's examination, members of Missio Dei Church as well as anyone in or out of the church having a concern regarding the Candidates’s qualifications to lead as an elder will have thirty days (30) to notify the elders, who can investigate the matter to determine if there is any reason to disqualify the person.
Consensus approval from the elders and an election by Covenant Members, indicated by a majority vote of the single slate, is required prior to installation of an elder.
If not disqualified, Candidates will be ordained to the office of Elder during the summer.
Additionally, the Elders hold to complementarian view. You can read more about who we believe should be elders/pastors within a church by reading a Pastoral Letter called Created and Redeemed as Male and Female.
Want to see the "Elder Training and Discerment Course" syllabus? Check it out here.