The elders have called a congregational meeting on February 9, 2020, in order to elect John Gunter as a ruling elder and Jason Kriaski as an associate pastor. Allow me to elaborate.
TWO KINDS OF ELDERS
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.
TWO CLASSES OF PASTORS
Presbyterian government also has two classes of pastors: Assistant pastors are hired by the Session, so they are not members of it. 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.
ABOUT JOHN GUNTER
John has served Westside part-time as Chief strategist since September 2018. Starting in February of this year, he will go full-time as our Executive Director. John has over fifteen years of experience in missions in East Asia, four years as an Executive Director of a large church in Los Angeles, and is almost finished with his seminary degree. The session has great confidence in John’s character and gifts, and we commend him for your vote.
ABOUT JASON KRIASKI
Jason has served Westside full-time as our Youth Pastor since January 2018, after graduating from Beeson Divinity school and marrying our former Children’s Ministry Director, Christy Gyger Kriaski. When we called him, we made clear that we expected to put him before the congregation for election as associate pastor after growing into his role for a year or more. He has served faithfully and demonstrated the character and commitment appropriate for a member of the session. We commend him for your vote.
For the last ten years, we have opened up nominations for new elders and deacons every two years. It usually takes about 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.