Elder Roles and Responsibilities

MENLO CHURCH GOVERNANCE

We believe the Church is the community through which God wants to bring love, healing, growth, and eternal life to the human race, and to which he invites everyone to follow Jesus. Menlo Church is one church in many locations, pursuing our mission to bless the Bay Area for Jesus through a transforming relationship with Christ and authentic community with each other. We are part of the denomination ECO: A Covenant Order of Evangelical Presbyterians (ECO) and, in keeping with our Presbyterian heritage, our congregation elects elders to govern the church. Elders work closely with staff leadership and represent the congregation as a body across all campuses, to provide oversight and governance of the church's ministry, spiritual health, long term strategy, finances, and administration. 

The church's governing body is called the Session. The Session focuses on discernment and strategy to guide the church's biblical mission in the world; on the spiritual health of the congregation, including discipline; and on oversight of church resources and staff accomplishment through the senior pastor, to whom it delegates ministry leadership and church operations. 

As an ECO church, Menlo Church is governed by its Session. Comprising nine elected elders and the senior pastor, Session has the responsibility and authority for governing the congregation and guiding its mission for Christ and the world. In our Reformed tradition, Session ensures that the church, through delegation to staff and lay leaders, proclaims the Word, celebrates the Sacraments, and exercises discipline. Session also ensures the provision of worship and ministries, pastoral care and guidance for the congregation and oversight of the spiritual, financial, and organizational health of the church. Menlo Church is committed to pursuing its mission as a church with God-honoring love, zeal, and excellence in all that we are and do.

Therefore, specific Session elder responsibilities for leadership, governance, and oversight include:

Provide for Spiritual Oversight

  • Worship, sound biblical teaching, and educational life of the congregation, including regular preaching of the Word
  • Regular celebration of the Lord's Supper and administration of Baptism
  • Discipleship of the congregation and new believers, and nurturing of the common life of the congregation
  • Leadership for the congregation in ministries of evangelism, compassion, and justice
  • Developing and nurturing relations with other congregations

Shepherd the Flock

  • Provision of pastoral care of members, including directing them for assistance or problem resolution
  • Providing for prayer in all areas of church life, including prayer for the sick
  • Open communication and outreach to the congregation, staff, and community
  • Participating in biblically-based conflict resolution as outlined in Matthew 18, and in other discipline and restoration acts specified in the ECO Rules of Discipline
  • Confronting false teaching, and bearing witness against error in doctrine and practice/behavior
  • Serving in judicial matters related to the congregation as specified in the ECO Rules of Discipline

Engage in Discernment, Planning and Strategy

  • Collaborating with the senior pastor in discerning MPPC's mission and strategy, setting organizational goals, making key decisions and strategic choices
  • Engaging in regular dialogue with the congregation for advice, feedback, and communication, including meeting with site ministry teams and staff, inviting feedback, information meetings, and other useful forums
  • Contributing to periodic evaluations of the Session itself and its effectiveness, and participating in ongoing learning to keep up-to-date on developments or best practices that further the church's mission
  • Assisting in identifying and recruiting leaders who can make significant contributions to the work of the Session and the church

Oversee and Monitor Church Management

  • Regularly review progress and hold staff leadership accountable for church impact and execution of its mission, vision, and goals, and church ministry plans and outcomes, through dialogue and reports, metrics and other measures
  • Regularly review progress and hold staff leadership accountable for church ministry operations, implementation, and compliance with sound policies and procedures, rigorous financial management, excellent staff management, staff development, and healthy and efficient operations and infrastructure
  • Approving an annual budget and audit report, material business decisions, and monitoring the financial status of the church on a regular basis
  • Staying apprised of, and meeting, all legal and fiduciary responsibilities (duties of care and loyalty). Preparing for, and participating actively in, Session and committee meetings
  • Ensuring an accurate and updated record of church members and baptisms
  • Counseling and providing spiritual and practical support to the Senior Pastor in his role as head of staff. Encouraging and praying for the Senior Pastor, staff and volunteers
  • Providing an annual and other performance evaluations of the Senior Pastor
  • Serving on, and leading, committees or task forces; taking on special assignments
  • Drawing from gifts and expertise in the congregation, other churches, and the community in helping MPPC fulfill its mission
  • Acting as an "ambassador” for MPPC to the community, church at large, and the world

Session Terms and Time Commitments

  • Elders will serve a four-year term and be eligible for a re-appointment for one additional term before a mandatory one-year rotation off Session
  • 15-20 hours are estimated, on average per month, though the time needed will vary depending on the elder's assignments, including the leadership of committees. All elders participate in an annual (or bi-annual) retreat; monthly Session business meetings; other Session-sponsored meetings, committees or task forces and related conference calls; research and meeting preparation; reflections and study
  • Because issues can and do arise that require immediate attention, flexibility and additional hours may be required from time to time

1111 University Drive Menlo Park, CA 94025
650-323-8600

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