Elders & Deacons.

The leadership structure of our congregation follows the New Testament model of eldership.

In the New Testament the leaders of the Church are called “overseers” or “elders.” These were two interchangeable titles for the same role. The word used for “overseer” is the Greek word ἐπισκοπή (episkopē), from which we get the word “Episcopal” in English, and has been traditionally translated to “bishop.” The word literally means “inspector” or “superintendent.” The word for “elder” used is πρεσβύτερος (presbyteros) from which we get the word “Presbyterian.” This word literally means “advanced” or “senior.”

The word “elder” is used to emphasize the maturity of character required for this role. It does not indicate an age requirement. Elders are to be men of high moral quality and maturity. We will examine these qualities later.

When the New Testament writers refer to an elder as “overseer,” the job of these leaders are being emphasized. Overseers, like foremen on a construction site, are responsible for leading the job and making sure that the Architect’s plans are properly instituted.

The elders serve the congregation as equals, dividing the various responsibilities of leadership between them.

The Bible does not give us an exact formula for choosing elders within a congregation, but in the MPCC congregation we have the following process:

  1. Any member of the congregation may submit nominations to the current eldership whenever they choose.
  2. When someone is nominated by several individuals for the role of elder, the current eldership reviews if the nominee is qualified for the position based on the qualifications found in 1 Timothy 3, and Titus 1.
  3. If the elder-nominee is found to be qualified for the role, then they are approached and asked if they would wish to serve in this capacity.
  4. If the answer is affirmative, then the elder-nominee is given training and preparation by the current eldership.
  5. After the period of preparation the elder-candidate is presented to the entire congregation by the current eldership with their recommendation. The congregation is then given a period of time (usually a month) to consider the nomination prayerfully.
  6. After the time of consideration, there is a congregational meeting where the elder-candidate is not present. There, any member is free to voice any concerns or affirmations for the candidate. This is followed by a vote. The vote is not “majority wins,” but rather we seek for unified consensus, let’s say 90% affirmation at least.
  7. Finally, with a unified consensus, the elder-candidate is publicly affirmed as an elder and joins the eldership team.

In addition to the leadership of elders, the congregation is served by a group of men and women the Bible calls “deacons.” The deacons, which comes from the Greek διάκονος (diakonos) meaning “servants,” take responsibility for a variety of practical responsibilities for the fellowship. Some serve on the MPCC staff, while others serve as volunteers outside of work hours. Each deacon is appointed to their roles by the eldership, keeping in mind the Biblical qualifications for deacons found in 1 Timothy 3.