As the church continues to grow, so does our need for elders, deacons and deaconesses. Once a year, we accept nominations for these positions. You may submit your nominations for deacon, deaconess and elder during the month of February.
All nominees will be initially screened for membership and Christian experience requirements. If the nominee qualifies under both categories, they will receive a letter confirming their nomination and the process to follow. Included in that letter will be:
a four-page questionnaire that must be filled out and returned within two weeks of receiving it,
a request for two reference letters to attest to the person’s spiritual maturity, leadership and service experience.
Once the questionnaire is completed, a personal interview will be set up with the nominee and at least two elders (for elder nominees) or two deacons or deaconesses (for Diaconate nominees) to discuss the appropriateness and timing of their nomination. Nominees will begin training in the spring once they have been recommended. The reference letters are also used in this determination process. Training details are below.
After the training, a second personal interview and a group theological and doctrinal interview take place. The session then votes on each nominee. All nominees who are approved to stand for election will then be voted on by the congregation at the spring congregational meeting. Nominees who are voted in are then installed in June to begin their service.
Requirements for all nominees
- For deacon and deaconess: Nominees should have been a Christian for at least three years. They should also be an active Redeemer Downtown member.
- For elder: Nominees should have been a Christian for at least three years and a Redeemer Downtown member for at least one year. Please note that a minimum of three nominations is required for an elder nominee to enter the screening process.
Qualifications to consider
Should I nominate a particular member to be an elder, deacon or deaconess at Redeemer Downtown? Should I accept a nomination to be considered as an elder, deacon or deaconess at Redeemer Downtown? The following guidelines, though not the final word on the matter, ought to help as you consider these questions.
Five categories of qualifications
- Calling: Calling is both inward and outward. A candidate should desire to serve and should be recognized by others as possessing the gifts and graces necessary for the task.
- Character: Though no leader can expect to be perfect, he or she must be exemplary, modeling in a consistent way the character of Christ. 1 Timothy 3 and Titus 1:5-9 offer a useful summary of the character qualifications.
- Competency: God calls elders, deacons and deaconesses to serve in distinct and varying ways. A candidate should evidence the inclination and ability to fulfill that particular biblical role.
- Elder candidates should be able to equip and care for people spiritually and should know their way around the Bible and be able to teach it. They should be comfortable praying with people in need and should be good managers.
- Deacon and deaconess candidates should demonstrate a practical and caring spirit. They should be willing to serve under the authority of the elders and in such a way as to free the elders to focus on their particular responsibilities. At Redeemer, deacons and deaconesses pray for individuals after services on Sundays, assist elders in membership interviews, assist elders in examining deacon and deaconess candidates, and advocate and care for those in need.
- Compatibility: Candidates need to understand and fit into the Redeemer Downtown life and vision.
- Comprehension: Candidates need to understand and accept Redeemer Downtown's convictions about theology and church government. This involves commitment to the Bible’s authority, to Presbyterian Church government and to the Westminster standards.
Training begins this year in the spring with the theological and doctrinal class. Both Diaconate and elder nominees attend this training class together. It is taught by our pastors.
If a nominee is unable to continue with the nomination process due to time constraints or other life circumstances, they may defer their nomination for up to one year. If the nominee is unable to move forward with the process within the year, they will need to be renominated at a later date.