It’s hard to believe, but in less than a month we will conclude our officer election process. You will remember back in April, upon recommendation of the Session, our church opened nominations for officer candidates both for elder and deacon. Shortly after that in May, we had our three candidates and we began the process of training them. And now, some five and a half months later, the training has coming to an end. The Session has evaluated the candidates and recommends them to us all for a vote.
Before we say anything further, a word of appreciation is in order. The three candidates that the congregation have nominated have been tremendous. Throughout all the classes, meetings, lectures, required readings, history lessons, and more, they have proven to be remarkable men, ready and willing to serve in Christ’s church. These men have been through a lot and they are to be commended. Men, we thank you for your willingness and desire to serve the Lord, and we give praise to God. We trust that the Lord Jesus Christ will raise up and call men such as you for the work of ministry in the church.
To give you an idea of what these men have waded through in the past five and half months, here is a summarized schedule: over 20 lectures on church history, shepherding, reformed theology, and church order; more than 15 hours of training in the Westminster Confession of Faith; 4+ Sessional and Diaconate meetings (avg. of 2 hrs each); 7+ sermons and lectures on reformed theology; and eight books of required reading (A Faith to Live By, Heroes & Heretics, to name a few). On top of all this, these men have also met with the pastors on numerous occasions for the purpose of evaluating their own sense of calling and qualification.
Now, so you know, the extensiveness of our training has not been for lack of good candidates (on the contrary, because we had such high caliber candidates we were able to raise the proverbial bar). Put simply, we base our training upon the conviction that serving the Lord in the church is a great and high calling, one that should not be taken lightly. We understand ourselves to be following the instruction of such Scriptures as 1 Timothy 3:10, which calls for the men first to be tested, and if found beyond reproach, then they are to serve. We also trust that the church will be thankful for such a rigorous process, as the church needs faithful, hardworking, and capable men to lead and serve.
Returning back to their training schedule, the last stop in the process has been for each of the candidates to appear before the Session and be evaluated on matters of personal religion, theology, the confession, and the book of church order. It was a long meeting, requiring several hours of questioning, discussion, and prayer (be sure to thank your candidates!). But I am pleased to say that each man passed the evaluation and comes now with recommendation of the Session for the congregation to vote on the candidates.
So, that leaves us with just under a month to pray about the candidates. Since the announcement was made on October 19th, the congregational vote will be on November 23rd. Now, the tallying shouldn’t take too long, and really the results should be announced that same day. With the evaluation process complete, the approved candidates will be, Lord willing, ordained the following Sunday, which is November 30, 2014.
Let me encourage you all to do two things over this next month. First, thank the candidates for putting themselves forward to serve and be tested. It is not an easy matter to subject yourself to evaluation, let alone all the extra work needed to prepare for that moment. Second, pray. Pray for the men, our church, and for the Lord to make His will evident in our midst. We trust that Christ has given gifts to men and those gifts are, among others, officers in the church. May the Lord Jesus receive all the honor and glory and praise in our church.