A Quick Introduction to Presbyterian Polity

We are called Park Presbyterian Church.

What does the word “Presbyterian” mean in our name?

 

The word “Presbyterian” refers to how we make decisions, or, more strictly speaking, to our “Form of Government.”

All churches look to the Bible to justify the way they do things. We do, too. A look at first chapter of The Book of Acts, we believe, shows members of church families being chosen by other church members to serve them in special roles. One of these roles is that of Elder. The other is the role of Deacon. Being chosen for either role does not make the individual “superior” in any way. It just recognizes that they have a special focus in their service.

 

Elders are elected to discern the will of God regarding the life and mission of a Presbyterian congregation, and they are delegated the authority to make decisions regarding it. When they meet, they constitute what is called The Session. Elders serve a three-year term on The Session, and can be elected again by their peers to serve in this role for second, consecutive term.   After this second term, they must wait at least another year before being eligible to serve again on the Session. An Elder currently serving on a Presbyterian Session is called a “Ruling” Elder. When an Elder is no longer on the Session, they are considered a “Resting” Elder. In simplest terms, we have adopted a representative form of church government, not unlike that found at the local, state, and federal levels of our country.

 

Deacons also serve a three-year term on what is commonly called The Board of Deacons. They typically take the lead in the caring ministries of their church family, but the Deacon Board can also be assigned other responsibilities by The Session of a Presbyterian congregation. The same rules for serving consecutive terms on The Session apply to The Board of Deacons.

 

You can meet the Ruling Elders serving on the Session--by clicking here:

You can also meet the deacons currently on the Park Church Board of Deacons, by clicking here:

 

The role of Pastor in a Presbyterian congregation is multi-faceted. In some Presbyterian congregations, the Pastor is referred to as a “Teaching Elder” in recognition of the fact that they are to instruct and guide the church family. Presbyterian pastors also assume the roles typically associated with all Christian ministers, from leading worship (offering a sermon and providing prayers), officiating at baptisms, weddings, and funerals, and providing spiritual care to the congregation. Although a Presbyterian pastor acts as the Moderator of The Session, he—or she—is not entitled to vote on any matter to be decided.

Presbyterian pastors also have responsibilities that extend beyond the care and governance of their church family, as they are members of the Presbyteries in which their congregations are situated.

A Presbyterian pastor must complete an undergraduate degree before undertaking graduate level studies in theology (Master of Divinity Degree). Some Presbyterian pastors obtain Doctorates and PH. D’s to further inform their ministry.

Park Presbyterian Church is served by Pastor Todd Allen. To learn more about Todd’s background, please click here:

 

Presbyterian churches—like most Christian congregations—employ paid staff to further assist their life and work.

 

Meet our Director of Music, Eric Kochanowski, by clicking here:

Meet Our Administrative Assistant, Bre-Ann Lewis, by clicking here:

Meet our Custodian/Janitor, Adam Gomersall, by clicking here: