The Importance of Session Elections

Dear BPCWAians, Last week, we learned about the importance of a church. I hope that this will help us to re-examine ourselves and our relationship with the church. God intends a sound church to be a vital part of a Christian’s life. We should learn God’s Word in church. We should build bonds with His people in church. We should care for one another in church. We should serve together with His people in church. All these are so that the church will bear forth His Light to the world. Church is not a dispensable part of our walk as believers. I remember an occasion when I visited a member in his home sometime back. In the course of our conversation, he pointed over to a chair and told me of how he and another man would come together regularly to pray fervently for the church during a particularly difficult time. He thanked God for answering their prayers. Love for the church drives us to care for the church, pray for the church, and be concerned about the wellbeing of the church. So, whenever church elections arise, we must be concerned about who stands for leaders in the church election.

What happens in the nomination process? It is important this process is transparent and understood by all who are casting their votes. The process is robust and carefully planned for and adhered to objectively and impartially. It begins several months before the election. The Board of Elders carefully reviews and considers every candidate that it puts up for election. For potential new Deacons selection, I have been observing and considering their consistency in meeting all the qualifications of a Deacon (which has been dealt with in detail in earlier Pastoral letters in June) over the past years. After careful and prayerful assessment, and having BOE discussions, I then had specific discussions with the candidates individually. The candidates were then asked to prayerfully consider the role. The decisions of the candidates who, after consideration, declined were respectfully accepted. We must trust God’s provision and leading, and those who are not ready should not be coerced and cajoled into the role. We may desire more workers, but our desires must never overrule God’s timing, and His preceptive and co-operative will.

What did the qualified candidates go through? Before being presented for election, every candidate must sign a form indicating, amongst other things, a declaration of their regular attendance at “public worship and prayer meetings of the Church”, full and ready acceptance of our church’s doctrinal position and a readiness “to participate wholeheartedly in the ministry of the Church, with the Pastor” (BPCWA Constitution Articles 13.1.2-4). In these forms, they promise also to uphold the “peace, purity and unity” of BPCWA as well. For the Session to work together in unity, it is critically important that they are likeminded and united in beliefs. In making decisions for the church, they must have the same convictions on the faith and common understanding of how church should be run.

In addition, since this is the first time that Mr Eugene Leong will be standing for election into the Office of Deacon, he was required to write 3 papers and submit it to the Board of Elders. The topics for his papers were: 1) To explain a number of key doctrines and his personal convictions and beliefs in several areas and how he would respond to people within and outside of the church who criticise these beliefs. These areas were a) Biblical Separation, b) Total abstinence, c) Verbal Plenary Preservation of Scriptures, and d) Distinctives of Bible Presbyterianism. 2) To explain, from relevant passages from the Bible and BPCWA’s Constitution, the qualifications, and differences in roles and responsibilities of the Pastor, Elder and Deacon in the church, and how he would endeavour to uphold and perform these duties in the church and in his family. 3) To explain what were the doctrines that BPCWA holds which he struggled with, if any, and how they were resolved. He was also required to defend, uphold, and promote those doctrines from the Bible. Based upon these and the forms he submitted, he was thoroughly interviewed and tested by the Board of Elders. Only after the BOE was satisfied with the soundness of his papers and upon him passing the interview, he was then approved to be put up for election.

With this process, we hope that it will strengthen your understanding of what has gone into the nomination process. The Board of Elders have done their necessary due diligence to try to ensure that the men that are being put up for elections have been screened carefully. This was to ensure that they fulfilled all the biblical qualifications for the role they are standing, and that they honestly declare their convictions to be in line with all the church’s beliefs and practices. All these are done to protect BPCWA in its elections, and ensure unity in the Session as it serves God’s church. As a member, we hope that you will support the upcoming Session elections in prayer.

Yours in our Lord’s service