DEFINITION OF RULING ELDER FROM THE BOOK OF ORDER (G-2.0301)
“As there were in Old Testament times elders for the government of the people, so the New Testament church provided persons with particular gifts to share in discernment of God’s Spirit and governance of God’s people. Accordingly, congregations should elect persons of wisdom and maturity of faith, having demonstrated skills in leadership and being compassionate in spirit. Ruling elders are so named not because they “lord it over” the congregation (Matt. 20:25), but because they are chosen by the congregation to discern and measure its fidelity to the Word of God, and to strengthen and nurture its faith and life. Ruling elders, together with teaching elders, exercise leadership, government, spiritual discernment, and discipline and have responsibilities for the life of a congregation as well as the whole church, including ecumenical relationships.”
serving as an elder in the midst of change
What does it mean to be a Ruling Elder in a rapidly changing church? What are the changes out there for the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.)? Leadership is even more important in a time of huge transition. Stated Clerk, Rev. Gradye Parsons, recorded earlier this year at a meeting sponsored by the PC(USA) Board of Pensions, responding to these issues. Click here to watch the video.
Ruling Elder Training
- "Called to Discipleship: Preparing Church Officers for Leadership". A complete training course used at Westminster Presbyterian Church in Minneapolis, MN in three parts: Part 1 Part 2 and Part 3.
- "El/La Anciano(a) Gobernante: Politica Presbyteriana" (Sesíon 1) facilitadora by Loyda Aja, Secretaria Permanente Asociada de la Asemblea General, IP(E.U.A.) y Anciana Gobernante. Este taller en un recuentro de la politica Presbiteriana, su historia, teologia y la manera que este ministerio da vida a la congregacíon. Descargar el material de la sesíon 1.
- ¿Qué Creemos los Presbiterianos?” (Sesíon 2) facilitadora by Loyda Aja, Secretaria Permanente Asociada de la Asemblea General, IP(E.U.A.) y Anciana Gobernante. Descargar el material de la sesíon 2.
- The Presbyterian Leader: An Online Resource Center for Presbyterian Leaders
- Includes studies for leaders such as a two-part study on “Serving as Ruling Elder”
- "Themes of Reformed Theology and Polity". Download a chart for reference with discussion questions here.
- "Confession Matching Game". Formatted cards to cut apart and use to match aspects of a creed to its title, available here.
- "Discern and Measure". According to the Book of Order, ruling elders are ordained to "discern and measure" the fidelity of the congregation to the Word of God and to strengthen and nurture its faith and life. A workshop resource helping elders in this role is available here and here.
- "The Ministry of Ruling Elders after Session Service". A workshop resource assisting ruling elders in their role after service on the session is available here and here.
- Selected to Serve: A Guide for Church Leaders (2nd Edition) by Earl S. Johnson
- Presbyterian Polity for Church Leaders (4th Edition) by Joan S. Gray and Joyce C. Tucker
- Spiritual Leadership for Church Officers: A Handbook by Joan S. Gray
Ruling Elder Ministries is a new focus of the Office of General Assembly with the vision of providing support and training to the office of Ruling Elder in the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.).