Grace Fellowship believes that those serving in the offices of Elders and Deacons are ordained by God for these roles. God uses the following human process to select individuals for service in these offices, which also aligns with the CRC Church Order.
1. Grace Fellowship currently has four elders and five deacons. Elders and deacons serve a three-year term. Both men and women may serve in both offices. (See Church Order Article 25 for a description of elders and deacons.)
2. Annually in April the elders initiate the process for selecting new elders and deacons to replace those finishing their terms by asking the congregation to nominate members of the congregation for service. Members are provided with a list of the responsibilities for each office and are directed to prayerfully consider who they believe should be nominated to fulfill these roles. Nominees must currently be members of Grace Fellowship, and those who are not eligible for nomination are:
a. Current council members and their immediate family,
b. Retiring council members and those council members whose previous term expired less than two years ago, and
c. Anyone whose membership is less than one year old.
3. Nominations are submitted anonymously and are collected until the May council meeting. Following the close of the nomination period, the council reviews the nominations and affirms the individuals that will be contacted to be asked to let their name stand for nomination. Affirmed individuals are sent a letter letting them know of their nomination and asking them to prayerfully consider whether they approve of letting their name stand. Council members also contact the individuals in person or by phone to discuss the nomination with them. Nominees are asked to make a decision on whether to approve their nomination within a specified amount of time.
4. Once the list of confirmed nominees is compiled, it is shared with the congregation via Grace News. The list of nominees must be shared with the congregation at least two weeks prior to the date of the congregational meeting, which is typically held in June. Per Church Order Article 4, there must be twice the number of confirmed nominees presented to the congregation as there are to be elected. If there are not twice the number presented, the council must explain the reason for this to the congregation.
5. At the annual congregational meeting, members of Grace Fellowship will be asked to affirm those nominees that they believe can fulfill the responsibilities of the office they are nominated for. Absentee ballots submitted prior to the congregational meeting will be accepted if they are in a signed envelope so that it can be ensured there are no duplicates.
6. Affirmation slips will be counted by current elders and deacons, and all individuals with a majority affirmation will have their name included in the selection basket. The outgoing elder(s) and deacon(s) will draw a name from the basket to select who will become the new elder(s) and deacon(s). Supplement to Church Order Article 4 allows election by lot if a congregational vote is also included as part of the process.
7. Members of the same household may not serve on council at the same time. If multiple members of the same household are nominated and affirmed, or if one individual is nominated and affirmed for both offices, names will remain in the selection baskets as affirmed.
a. If a member is affirmed for both offices and is chosen for one, their name will be removed from the other basket before a name is drawn.
b. If two members of the same household are affirmed for either office and one is chosen, the other members name will be removed from any basket it is in.
8. The new elder(s) and deacon(s) will begin attending elder, deacon, and council meetings in July. They will be officially installed on a Sunday coordinated by the group.
Initial policy date: 06/02/20