An Order for the

Ordination and Induction of Elders

 

 

The Worship of God is celebrated according to the usual order.

 

The following are appropriate Bible readings: Exodus 18; 1 Corinthians 12.

 

After the praise following the sermon, the Session shall gather behind the communion table, the elder-elect standing before the table.

 

The minister shall say:

 

Brothers and sisters in Christ, the Session of this parish, having judged it proper to increase the number of elders, has proceeded according to the laws of the church, and the congregation has elected N....., of whose godliness and fitness for the office they are persuaded.

 

No objections to his life and doctrine have been made after due notice. Therefore, in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, the King and Head of the Church we are gathered to ordain and/or induct him into his office in this parish.

The importance of the office of the eldership was recognised by the Assembly of Divines at Westminster as follows:

As there were in the Jewish Church elders of the people, joined with the priests and Levites in the government of the church; so Christ, who has instituted government and governors ecclesiastical in the church, has furnished some in his church, besides the ministers of the word, with gifts for government and with commission to execute the same, when called thereunto; who are to join with the minister in the government of the church, which officers reformed churches commonly call elders.

The duties of elders are more particularly:

To set an example of a Christian life, at home, at work and at church.

To teach from God's Word as opportunity is presented, and to exercise pastoral care among God's people.

To join with the minister in spiritual leadership and decision-making and exercising biblical discipline in the local congregation through the work of the Session.

To participate in Presbyteries and General Assemblies when commissioned to them.

In this act of ordination and admission, the Presbyterian Church of Australia, as part of the holy catholic Church, worshipping one God, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, affirms anew its belief in the gospel of the sovereign grace and love of God, wherein through Jesus Christ his only Son our Lord, incarnate, crucified and risen, he freely offers to all people, upon repentance and faith, forgiveness of sins, renewal by the Holy Spirit, and eternal life, and calls them to labour in the fellowship of the faith for the advancement of the kingdom of God throughout the world.

The Presbyterian Church of Australia acknowledges the Word of God which is contained in the Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments to be the supreme rule of faith and life, and holds as its subordinate standard the Westminster Confession of Faith, read in the light of the Declaratory Statement contained in the Basis of Union adopted by this Church on 24th day of July, 1901, recognising liberty of opinion on such points of doctrine not essential to the doctrine therein taught, and claiming the right, in dependence on the promised guidance of the Holy Spirit, to formulate, interpret, or modify its subordinate standard, always in agreement with the Word of God and the essential doctrines contained in the subordinate standard.

 

I now ask the members of the congregation:

 

Do you rejoice in the election of N....... to the office of ruling elder in this congregation, and do you promise that you will render him all due respect and encouragement in the discharge of this office?

 

Will you please signify your assent by saying: I do.

 

Will the congregation please stand.

 

Addressing the elder(s) elect the minister shall say:

 

N....... you are required now to answer the questions appointed by the church.

 

1. Do you believe the Word of God which is contained in the Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments to be the only rule of faith and practice?

 

Response: I do.

 

2. Do you own and accept the Westminster Confession of Faith, as amended by the General Assembly, and read in the light of the Declaratory Statement contained in the Basis of Union adopted by this Church on the 24th day of July, 1901, as an exhibition of the sense in which you understand the Holy Scriptures and as a confession of your faith, and do you engage firmly and constantly to adhere thereto, and to the utmost of your power to assert, maintain and defend the same?

 

Response: I do.

 

3. Do you own and accept the purity of worship as practiced in this Church?

 

Response: I do.

 

4. Do you own the Presbyterian form of government to be founded on the Word of God and agreeable thereto; and do you promise that through the grace of God you will firmly and constantly adhere to, and to the utmost of your power, in your station, assert, maintain and defend the same?

 

Response: I do.

 

5. Do you adhere to your acceptance of the call of this congregation, to exercise among them the office of ruling elder?

 

Response: I do.

 

6. Do you engage through divine grace to discharge with diligence and faithfulness the various duties of your office, watching over the flock, showing yourself a pattern of good works, and giving a conscientious attendance on the meetings of Session, Presbytery and Assembly, when duly called so to do?

 

Response: I do.

 

7. All these things you profess and promise through grace, as you shall be answerable at the coming of the Lord Jesus Christ?

 

Response: I do.

 

May Almighty God bless you and give you grace faithfully to fulfil these vows.

 

The Moderator shall call upon the elder to sign the formula, saying:

 

You are now required to sign the formula as a seal to these vows which you have made.

 

The Formula is signed:

 

The Session Clerk may read the Formula.

 

The minister shall then offer the Ordination and/or Induction prayer during which the minister and elders may lay hands on the elder elect.

 

O eternal and ever blessed God, you rule your church by your Spirit and you accept the service of faithful men and women; we commend to you (these) whom we now ordain (and/or) induct to the office of the eldership in this congregation.

Endue him with your Spirit. May his manner of life be worthy of the gospel of our Lord Christ. Make him pure in heart, unselfish in service, and zealous for the advancement of your Kingdom. Keep him faithful to the end, that when the Chief Shepherd shall appear, he may receive a crown of glory that fades not away, through Jesus Christ our Lord, in whose words we humbly pray:

 

The Lord's Prayer.

 

The minister shall then say:

 

In the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, the King and Head of the Church and by the authority of this Session I declare you - N....... to be ordained (and/or) inducted to the office of the eldership and I commend you to the grace of God in the discharge of all your duties.


The blessing of God Almighty, the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit rest upon you and abide with you always. Amen.

And now the members of this Session give you the right hand of fellowship....

Then a charge may be given to the new elders and to the congregation.

Then a psalm such as Psalm 122 (6 - 9) (Rejoice! 304) shall be sung, or a suitable hymn.

The blessing shall then be given.