As a Reformed church, Providence Presbyterian Church in Greensboro, North Carolina seeks to order our congregational life according to the Word of God to the glory of Christ. The Orthodox Presbyterian Church, of which Providence is a member congregation, receives from Scripture a Presbyterian form of government. Each congregation is governed by a session, which consists of one or more ministers (teaching elders) and a number of ruling elders (depending on the size of the congregation). Elders must meet the scriptural qualifications for the eldership. They are ordained for life and installed to office. Ministers are licensed and ordained by regional presbyteries and are called by congregations; ruling elders are elected by congregations.
Biblical Qualifications of an Elder: http://opc.org/OS/html/V3/4e.html
The complete Form of Government for the Orthodox Presbyterian Church, from which the descriptions on this page are taken, may be found at: http://www.opc.org/BCO/FG.html
Arie van Eyk
Christ's undershepherd in a local congregation of God's people, who joins with the ruling elders in governing the congregation, is called a pastor. It is his charge to feed and tend the flock as Christ's minister and with the other elders to lead them in all the service of Christ. It is his task to conduct the public worship of God; to pray for and with Christ's flock as the mouth of the people unto God; to feed the flock by the public reading and preaching of the Word of God, according to which he is to teach, convince, reprove, exhort, comfort, and evangelize, expounding and applying the truth of Scripture with ministerial authority, as a diligent workman approved by God; to administer the sacraments; to bless the people from God; to shepherd the flock and minister the Word according to the particular needs of groups, families, and individuals in the congregation, catechizing by teaching plainly the first principles of the oracles of God to the baptized youth and to adults who are yet babes in Christ, visiting in the homes of the people, instructing and counseling individuals, and training them to be faithful servants of Christ; to minister to the poor, the sick, the afflicted, and the dying; and to make known the gospel to the lost.
Ruling elders, individually and jointly with the pastor in the session, are to lead the church in the service of Christ. They are to watch diligently over the people committed to their charge to prevent corruption of doctrine or morals. Evils which they cannot correct by private admonition they should bring to the notice of the session. They should visit the people, especially the sick, instruct the ignorant, comfort the mourning, and nourish and guard the children of the covenant. They should pray with and for the people. They should have particular concern for the doctrine and conduct of the minister of the Word and help him in his labors.
"The Deacon ... is a servant entrusted with the special responsibility of the handling of the temporal affairs of the church, including the administration of temporal relief. A Deacon's task is a spiritual task, requiring him to be filled with the Spirit and wisdom in order to discharge it (Acts 6:3)."
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The Scriptures designate the office of deacon as distinct and perpetual in the church. Deacons are called to show forth the compassion of Christ in a manifold ministry of mercy toward the saints and strangers on behalf of the church. To this end they exercise, in the fellowship of the church, a recognized stewardship of care and of gifts for those in need or distress. This service is distinct from that of rule in the church.
Those chosen to this office should be of great faith, exemplary lives, honest repute, brotherly love, warm sympathies, and sound judgment. In order to facilitate the performance of the duties of their office the deacons of each particular church shall be constituted a board of deacons. The board shall choose its own officers from its membership. The board shall oversee the ministry of mercy in the church and shall collect and disburse funds for the relief of the needy. Other forms of service for the church may also be committed to the deacons. In the discharge of their duties the deacons shall be under the supervision and authority of the session.