How our Church is Governed
The Consistory is the leadership council of our church and is made up of pastor, elders, and deacons. The consistory is elected by the congregation, but their authority comes not from those who elected them, but from Christ, and they are accountable to him. The power that Jesus Christ bestows upon his church is mediated by the Holy Spirit to all the people, but since not everyone in the church can hold office, and because the whole church cannot always meet together at one time and place, these representatives are elected to serve the whole congregation.
Elder, deacon, and minister
The three offices of the local church— elder, deacon, and pastor—complement each other and are equal to one another. The ministry of leadership is only complete when all three offices work together and are mutually supportive and mutually accountable. Furthermore, Reformed thought teaches that the full ministry of Christ is found only when the whole congregation, including the elders, deacons, and ministers, is called to serve.
Reformed churches have sought to follow the practice of the Early Church whose experience is recorded in the New Testament. Local churches at that time were ruled by “presbyters” or “elders,” just as the synagogues from which the first Christian converts came were ruled by elders. Reformed churches consider the minister to be an elder of a special kind, called in some churches, the “teaching elder.” Ministers and elder, therefore, govern the church together. Elders are responsible, along with the pastor, for sound teaching and discipline within the church, and for the spiritual well-being of the congregation. They are called to ensure that members of the church are nurtured through Scripture, worship, the sacraments, and prayer.
Deacons are called to service. Jesus provided the ultimate role model for servanthood. Throughout his ministry, he reminded his followers in word and deed that he was among them as one who serves. Deacons play a key role in moving the church into missions of justice, mercy, and compassion.