In my last tapestry article, I wrote about the idea of “calling” as we prepare to go through officer elections and an extended period of officer training in 2013. I think it helpful for the congregation to know what is expected of those men who are put through training to be an officer. By just about any standard, our training is rigorous in terms of the material each man is expected to read and assimilate. The areas of study include: the nature of the offices of elder and deacon, qualifications for office, the duties of each office, the spiritual life of the officer, Presbyterian doctrine, Presbyterian history, sacraments, church government, and the Book of Church Order. Each man will be examined in these areas. This of course is the more academic side of the training.
Much of the practical outworking of the call to office will already be in place at this point. The reason for that is, we do not recommend men to stand for office if their lives do not exhibit giftedness and calling through their service to the church. Also, a major part of the practical side of training for office is their family management. A man who doesn't manage his family well will not be considered beyond nomination, because that man has work to do at home before he needs to be giving time to the church above and beyond that which is expected of any member. I hope by now you realize the elders at Faith Church take very seriously the calling and training of men to office in the church. Paul tells Timothy in 1Timothy 5:22, “Do not lay hands upon anyone hastily and thus share responsibility for the sins of others….” In other words, take your time and be sure that the men you ordain to office are truly called and well-prepared.
Please pray God's blessings for the church as we go through this process. Pray, too, for the men willing to be trained and examined to be able to stand for election to office. May God bless our church with godly men who will lead well by gladly following the example of our Lord Jesus Christ in humble service. No man will serve perfectly and every ordained man, whether elder or deacon, will make mistakes. Pray for the Lord to grow us all in grace, and that He would give clarity to the whole process of officer selection.
As this is the last Tapestry of 2012, I would like to take this opportunity to wish you a very Merry Christmas and a very Happy New Year. I regret to not be here celebrating the birth of our Lord with you this year. I will be on a family trip to China. This is really a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for us so we are delighted to be able to go. My humble thanks to the Session for allowing this and my deepest appreciation to the whole congregation for your continued love and support.