ELDERS & DEACONS
In our church tradition, the two teams of lay (volunteer) people who work together with our church’s ministers and staff to lead Jesus’ church are elders and deacons. Together, these two boards form our Consistory, which governs our church. From now through February 28, we'll be receiving nominations for these offices at Liberti Collingswood.
The list of nominees will be tended to by our newly elected Nominating Committee, who will prepare a single slate of one elder nominee and one deacon nominee––plus an additional Nominating Committee nominee, to account for our first Nominating Committee member who will roll off of this committee––to the congregation for election at our annual congregational meeting in the late spring. The Nominating Committee will seek to bring for election candidates that are qualified in terms of character and alignment (both theological and missional) with Liberti Collingswood's beliefs and that represent the diversity of our congregation. (Scroll down here to meet our current Consistory members.)
As a refresher, the Nominating Committee was instituted in order to provide additional congregational voice to this process, as opposed to the Consistory itself bringing new nominees to the congregation. The existence of the Nominating Committee means that officer elections at Liberti Collingswood are more curated than the student council-style "popularity contests" of our high school days. The Nominating Committee is composed of two members of the Consistory, currently Blake Smitley and Maia Root, plus three at-large members, Rachel Chan, Chad Hartzell, and Libby Whitman, who will rotate off the committee in one, two, and three years, respectively.
The Consistory––elders and deacons together––are entrusted to faithfully and fruitfully continue the mission of Liberti Collingswood and to protect and promote its vision. There are also particular functions related to each office:
Elders serve by leading…
- The elders are the team of ordained lay men––look for the resumption of our congregational conversation about gender and ordination this summer––who work directly with senior staff to oversee the administration of the Word and sacraments at Liberti Collingswood
- Elders maintain the church membership roll and are responsible for the pastoral/spiritual care of the congregation
Deacons lead by serving…
- Deacons are the team of ordained lay men and women who lead the whole church in expressing the care and compassion of Christ to our region and world; they lead the church into service, mercy, and justice both internally and externally
- Deacons equip the church to serve the social, emotional, physical, financial, and spiritual needs of our region
Click here for a more detailed job description of Consistory/elders/deacons from our Book of Church Order.
Those nominated to serve as elders and deacons at Liberti must meet the following qualifications:
Gospel-shaped spiritual maturity
No Christian is perfect, but the life of an elder or deacon at Liberti should serve as an example for others to follow of mature life in Christ. Scriptural passages to consider that depict mature Christian life include Matthew 5-7, 1 Corinthians 11:1, Galatians 5:16-26, Philippians 2:1-11, and 1 Timothy 3:1-13.
Practical nomination benchmarks
Someone who is ready to serve as an elder or a deacon at Liberti will meet these practical benchmarks:
- Being an In-Covenant member at Liberti Collingswood.
- Active participation in a Home Meeting and the community life of the church.
- Understanding of and agreement with our church’s beliefs.
- Track record of fruitful service/leadership.
- Long-term commitment to Liberti Collingswood.
- Track record of regular, generous giving to the church.
- Enthusiastic support for and promotion of Liberti’s vision and mission.
- Nomination - Open now through Sunday, 2/28. Links for the forms are below!
- Discernment - All nominees will meet personally with the Nominating Committee to discern each nominee’s desire, readiness, and qualifications to be ordained to serve.
- Nominating Committee approval & congregational affirmation - Nominees will be approved by the Nominating Commitee and must be affirmed in a vote by the church’s membership.
- Training - Nominees approved by the Nominating Committee and affirmed by the church will enter a one year apprenticeship process to grow in understanding Liberti’s beliefs, vision, and mission, and how to serve in their role in the church.
- Ordination and installation - After an "apprentice year," nominees completing the training process will be ordained during worship on the second Sunday of June during the year after their election. (Terms for elder and deacon are "one plus three," namely an apprentice year followed by a three year term.)