Elder Candidate Training

Missional Elder Development

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.

Nomination Process

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.

Receive Nominations (July - August)

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.


Training and Discernment Course (September – May)

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.

Towards the end of the Training and Discernment Course, after prayer and fasting, Elder Nominees(s) will indicate to to the Session (elder board) in April or May, whether or not they still are aspiring to the office of Elder. Nominees will be examined by current elder(s) and pastor(s).

Public Examination

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.

Ordination

If not disqualified, Candidates will be ordained to the office of Elder during the summer.

Missio Dei Elder Considerations

  • We want men of outstanding character and evident love for God.
  • We want men whose wives demonstrate maturity and wisdom.
  • We want men who have proven themselves loyal, mature, theologically astute, teachable, generous with their service of others, and generous with their financial giving to even be considered.
  • We want men who have an evident calling and exemplary gifting.
  • We want men who functionally fit in ministry philosophy, personal style, and relational connection with the lead pastor and any other potential elders.
  • We want men who can teach well and refute error with courage.
  • We want men who can discipline with strength and shepherd with tenderness.
  • We want men who have a heart for people both lost and found.
  • We want men who God has already raised up to lead His people as evidenced by people following him as they follows Christ.
  • We want men who are responsible, hard working, and self-governing.
  • We want men who the other pastors/elders see as a peer.
  • We want men who intend to occupy their office in the church for the duration of their lives unless God would call them out for the purposes of the Gospel elsewhere.

Ordination Vows for Elders and Deacons (PCA BCO 24-6)

  1. Do you believe the Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments, as originally given, to be the inerrant Word of God, the only infallible rule of faith and practice?
  2. Do you sincerely receive and adopt the Confession of Faith and the Catechisms of this Church, as containing the system of doctrine taught in the Holy Scriptures; and do you further promise that if at any time you find yourself out of accord with any of the fundamentals of this system of doctrine, you will, on your own initiative, make known to your Session the change which has taken place in your views since the assumption of this ordination vow?
  3. Do you approve of the form of government and discipline of the Presbyterian Church in America, in conformity with the general principles of biblical polity?
  4. Do you accept the office of ruling elder (or deacon, as the case may be) in this church, and promise faithfully to perform all the duties thereof, and to endeavor by the grace of God to adorn the profession of the Gospel in your life, and to set a worthy example before the Church of which God has made you an officer?
  5. Do you promise subjection to your brethren in the Lord?
  6. Do you promise to strive for the purity, peace, unity and edification of the Church?

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.