We are calling a congregational meeting to vote on electing Westside’s Executive Director, Bruce Terrell, as a Ruling Elder and Westside’s Pastor of Family Ministry, Joe Parker, as an Associate Pastor on January 21, 2024.


In the presbyterian form of government, every local church is led by a board of elders, which is called a Session. There are two kinds of elders: teaching elders (pastors) and ruling elders (laymen). Both are formally ordained, and both have an equal vote on the Session.


Presbyterian government also has two classes of pastors: Assistant pastors are hired by the Session, so they are not members of it and cannot vote on session decisions. Senior pastors and associate pastors are hired by the congregation, just like ruling elders, and are therefore members of the Session. Assistant pastors may be hired and fired by the Session, but senior pastors and associate pastors may only be hired or fired by a vote of the congregation.


During the hiring processes for both Joe and Bruce, we communicated our intention to invite the congregation to call them as full voting members of the session. Ultimately, however, this decision is up to you, the members. If you choose to elect them, it won’t change their compensation or their job descriptions, but it will give them a bit more influence in shaping the future of the church. In Bruce’s case, it will also allow him to continue serving our denomination at the Presbytery and/or General Assembly level. Joe, as a teaching elder, can already serve in those ways. There will be a congregational meeting to vote on January 21, 2024.


Bruce joined Westside as Executive Director in September 2023. He was first ordained as a ruling elder at Intown Community Church (Westside’s “grandmother” church) in 1989. Before that, he served for 20 years with the home office of Mission to the World, the global missions agency of the PCA.

As a ruling elder, Bruce has served the denomination in multiple roles, including Moderator of the General Assembly in 2013 and over 10 years as a member of the Standing Judicial Commission (a sort of ecclesiastical “Supreme Court”). Bruce and his wife Missy, a counselor, live in Loring Heights. They have two adult children and three grandsons.


Joe joined Westside as our Family Ministry Pastor in September 2022. He has served in church plants and large churches for over 30 years, in both inner city, urban and suburban settings.

Joe has a passion for relationally engaging both covenant and community families with the gospel, equipping adults to disciple the next generation in such a way they grow to become Christ-changed, hope-filled, productive adults. Joe is head over heels in love with his wife Kelly for over 20 years, who are parents of their adopted boys, Jacob and Makiah.


Historically, we have invited nominations for new elders and deacons every two years. It takes at least a year to vet, train, elect and ordain (or commission) new officers. We are always reevaluating this pattern, but we do plan to continue it for now, opening another nomination season in the next few months. Stay tuned for more details.

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