PROCESS AND INFORMATION
Before Redemption Hill Church can become a self-governing church, its members must elect Elders from their own body. (The election of Deacons follows the same process, but whereas a self-governing church could have Elders and not Deacons, it can't be governed by Deacons alone.)
According the to "Book of Church Order," the book which governs how PCA churches must operate:
Section 24-1, "Every church shall elect persons to the offices of ruling elder and deacon in the following manner: At such times as determined by the Session, communicant members of the congregation may submit names to the Session, keeping in mind that each prospective officer should be an active male member who meets the qualifications set forth in 1 Timothy 3 and Titus 1. After the close of the nomination period nominees for the office of ruling elder and/or deacon shall receive instruction in the qualifications and work of the office."
Our process for doing that is:
April 19 - May 17: Receive nominations for Elders and Deacons.
Below are the criteria provided by Scripture and summarized in the PCA's Book of Church Order. The most controversial of these is limiting these offices to men. We are aware that many other denominations allow for the ordaining of men and women, both as Elders and/or Deacons. However, we are governed by the conviction that Scripture does reveal that God has called and will provide certain men, humble and filled with the Holy Spirit, for such work. Consequently, the whole church, men and women alike, will be blessed and encouraged to then use their gifts in ministry to one another. We find this not only taught in the letters of Paul, but also exemplified in the ministry of Jesus, the most egalitarian of all humans.
If you'd like to read more on this position, or understand why we hold this practice, I strongly encourage you to read the PCA study committee's report on this topic. The report was published in 2017, and the committee consisted of both men and women. Their work did not stop at the question of ordination, but provides inspiration for how ensure women are are serving as fully as possible to the benefit of the whole church.
SCRIPTURES CONCERNING ELDERS/OVERSEERS (ENGLISH STANDARD VERSION)
"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-- 6 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. 7 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, 8 but hospitable, a lover of good, self-controlled, upright, holy, and disciplined. 9 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."
1 Timothy 3:1-7
"The saying is trustworthy: If anyone aspires to the office of overseer, he desires a noble task. 2 Therefore an overseer must be above reproach, the husband of one wife, sober-minded, self-controlled, respectable, hospitable, able to teach, 3 not a drunkard, not violent but gentle, not quarrelsome, not a lover of money. 4 He must manage his own household well, with all dignity keeping his children submissive, 5 for if someone does not know how to manage his own household, how will he care for God's church? 6 He must not be a recent convert, or he may become puffed up with conceit and fall into the condemnation of the devil. 7 Moreover, he must be well thought of by outsiders, so that he may not fall into disgrace, into a snare of the devil."
SCRIPTURES CONCERNING DEACONS (ENGLISH STANDARD VERSION)
1 Timothy 3:8-12
"Deacons likewise must be dignified, not double-tongued, not addicted to much wine, not greedy for dishonest gain. 9 They must hold the mystery of the faith with a clear conscience. 10 And let them also be tested first; then let them serve as deacons if they prove themselves blameless. 11Their wives likewise must be dignified, not slanderers, but sober-minded, faithful in all things. 12 Let deacons each be the husband of one wife, managing their children and their own households well."
Translation Note: It is worth pointing out that the words translated, "their wives," are more literally translated, 'the wives' or 'the women.' Hence the NIV's translation and footnote, "In the same way, the women are ... " The Greek word, "gyne" is used for both 'woman' and 'wife' since nearly all women were also wives in ancient cultures.
May 18 - June 1: Our existing "temporary" Session interviews nominated men to see if they are qualified according to Scripture and are interested in being trained.
June - October: Nominated and qualified men are trained on the doctrines of the PCA and the duties of Elders or Deacon, depending on what office they were nominated for.
November - December: In accordance with Scripture, following the training, the men are tested to see if they understand core principles of theology, Scripture and practice.
December - January: Men who pass the tests are presented to the body to be voted on for the office they were nominated for. These men are then ordained and installed into office.
WHAT DO ELDERS DO?
In short, Elders govern the church. Together, as a Session, they will provide authority and oversight to all aspects and ministries of the church.
As described in the Book of Church Order (slightly paraphrased for ease of understanding):
"It's the job of the elders, both ministering separately and together as a Session:
1. To watch diligently over the flock committed to their charge, that no corruption of doctrine or of morals enter therein.
2. They must exercise government and discipline, and take oversight not only of the spiritual interest of the particular church, but also the church generally when called thereunto.
3. They should visit the people at their homes, especially the sick.
4. They should instruct people who don't understand the Bible, comfort the mourner, nourish and guard the children of the church.
5. All those duties which all Christians are bound to do based on God's command to love the Lord and our neighbors as ourselves, are especially required of elders, and are to be discharged as official duties.
6. They should pray with and for the people, being careful and diligent in seeking the fruit of the preached Word among the flock."
WHAT DO DEACONS DO?
In short, Deacons will lead the church in providing material and spiritual help to each other and the surrounding community as a whole.
More specifically, per the Book of Church Order (and re-worded slightly for clarity):
"It is the duty of the deacons.."
1. To minister to those who are in need, to the sick, to the friendless and to any who may be in distress.
2. To develop the grace of liberality in the members of the church, to devise effective methods of collecting the gifts of the people, and to distribute these gifts among the objects to which they are contributed.
3. They may have [based on the decision of the Session] the care of the property of the congregation, both real and personal, and may keep in proper repair the church edifice and other buildings belonging to the congregation.
4. In matters of special importance affecting the property of the church, they cannot take final action without the approval of the session and consent of the congregation."