The Most Important Office
We believe the vast majority of service in the church is not performed by official leaders, but by individual members using their unique gifts and abilities to build up the whole Body. In this sense, Member is the most important office in the church. The role of formal leaders, then, is to accept responsibility for equipping and coordinating the rest of the Body to serve.
Elders and Deacons
In Presbyterian churches, there are two formal leadership roles: elder and deacon. In general, elders are responsible for spiritual needs, and deacons are responsible for physical needs. Pastors are elders with special training to preach and administer the sacraments (baptism and the Lord’s Supper). The board of elders is known as the Session, and the board of deacons is called the Diaconate.
One of the core convictions of the presbyterian church is that the people most qualified to identify spiritual leaders are the people being led; that is, the congregation. For this reason, members nominate candidates for elder and deacon every two years, with theological and practical training in between. At Westside, elders must also be elected by the congregation and then ordained and installed. All of our deacons are appointed and installed by the Session.
The following men and women are currently serving in these roles: