The reason I left you in Crete was that you might put in order what was left unfinished and appoint elders in every town, as I directed you.
-Titus 1:5, NIV
"What does it mean to be Presbyterian?" I am asked that question from time to time. There are many answers I could give, so I often try to get a better sense of what I am being asked with a few more questions. For example, sometimes people want to know what Presbyterians believe that may be different from others Christians. I may tell them about God's love and grace as coming first -- before we ever reach out to God. Sometimes they want to now about our history -- so I tell them about the Reformation in the 1500s, and people like John Calvin who wanted the church to return to its roots like scripture and faith.
However, the word "Presbyterian" comes from how we are organized and govern ourselves. The root word in Greek is "elder" and refers to the elders selected to lead the first churches. Presbyterians churches are governed by elders. Our system is based on the idea that a group of elders seeking to do God's will is more likely to discern it than just one individual.
This Sunday we will be electing our next class of elders to serve on our Session. Our Session is made up of fifteen women and men, one youth, and the three installed pastors. The congregation nominates the women, men, and youth. It then directs the Nominating Committee (also elected by the congregation) to recommend which of these individuals should serve on the Session. Those individuals have been asked and have agreed to serve - if elected by the congregation.
This Sunday we will vote on that recommended group of individuals. You will receive their names and biographical information tomorrow, as well as Sunday in the worship bulletin. I hope to see you Sunday as we vote on these well-qualified individuals after the 11:00 a.m. service!