Skip to main content

Ruling Elders

Definition of Ruling Elder

 

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.” 

(3) Comments

Join the Discussion
  1. Now for a question of my own: It seems "ruling elder" applies to all people who have been ordained as elders (including retired clergy), whether they presently serve on session or not. How does one differentiate between a ruling elder who is on session and one who is not? They aren't the same thing. Only elders currently on session can vote and only they attend the meetings of session.

    by Laura Monteros

    January 25, 2016

     

  2. Yousef, I see that no one has answered your question, so I'll give it a try. It depends on the church and the willingness of people to serve. Ideally, the nominating committee would call on people who have an understanding of scripture and how the Presbyterian Church works, and are able to work with others. Realistically, the qualifications range from anyone who will say "yes" to folks who have been around a long time and know other people on the session. Most churches are somewhere in between.

    by Laura Monteros

    January 25, 2016

     

  3. I am intrigued by the "Ruling Elder" label. The Book of Order notes 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. What congregation? What are the qualifications? What are the measures and how are they defined? Finally what are the responsibilities if any? Thanks, Yousef

    by Yousef Makdisi

    April 12, 2015

     

Join the Discussion