Consecration of Session
Dear BPCWAians, We thank God for seeing us through the Triennial Election and demonstrating His will in the men who will serve Him in the church session for the next 3 years. In our Constitution Article 13.4, the session will be “formally installed into office at a Service of Consecration to be held on an appropriate Lord’s Day soon after election”. As you witnessed this during our Worship service today, you may have wondered why do we have this event, since the election has already been conducted and the results announced?
Why we have a Service of Consecration. As I covered in my earlier pastorals, God does intend for His church to be served by men that He appoints to lead the church. There are pastors/elders, which “the Holy Ghost hath made … overseers, to feed the church of God, which he hath purchased with his own blood.” (Act 20:28). God gives a church a pastor (ie the teaching elder) “For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ:” (Eph 4:12). The members’ vote for a pastor to the church is an acknowledgement on their part whether that man is or is not whom God has given to the church to feed and guide the church, as its under-shepherd. When we pray for people to serve, we must realise that it is God that raises them. So, God raises deacons in answer to the church’s prayer to serve in the Session in His church. Deacons are called to be chief servants in the church. Acts 6:3 showed the appointment of deacons over the work to be done among God’s people, “Wherefore, brethren, look ye out among you seven men of honest report, full of the Holy Ghost and wisdom, whom we may appoint over this business”. These deacons were found from among the people to serve.
While every child of God should serve Him in some way or other, we do see from Scriptures that in both instances when it comes to pastors and deacons, they were appointed formally to serve His church. Hence when the new session members are elected, they ought to be formally installed into the office of the church Session, as the constitution rightly requires.
What do we require of the men appointed? As elected session members, we require each one to publicly declare their consecration to their duties as they are dedicated into the Session. What does this consecration mean? Well, you notice that each session member was to make their promise before God and the church to fulfill their roles faithfully and wholeheartedly (1) in defending the Bible, the beliefs of the Bible Presbyterian faith, (2) to abide by BPCWA’s constitution in totality, (3) to devote their time, talents, and resources to serve our Lord faithfully, diligently, peaceably, and unitedly in whatever areas of appointment and to support the Pastor in the ministries of the church, (4) to submit to the Board of Elders and keep the peace and harmony of BPCWA, and (5) to keep the peace, purity, and unity of BPCWA at all times to the glory of God. During this service, each elected Session member is making their personal promise to consecrate themselves to these in service to God in His church. Each one must be genuine and sincere before God as they take their vow. Though no one in the congregation may be able to see what is in each heart, the public and private life and actions of each person should be consistent with that which is within. So, this service of consecration must be responded to by each elected servant in the fear of God.
What do we seek from God who appoints? Since God is the One who by His providential Hand has appointed the session members, we seek His help to enable the elected members to fulfill their roles for His church. Without His enabling grace and personal leading, the elected men will fail regardless of being elected in. At this service of consecration, we plead with God as a church to use these elected members as His instruments to bring to pass His purpose and plans for BPCWA. We pray for God to rule and overrule each and every decision and direction of the Session so that it will always be aligned with His. We pray for God to grant unity of hearts as these elected members strive together for the faith, and grant harmony of hearts as they plan and execute every activity. God used His people in the church to elect the Session members into office. So, in short, we seek God’s blessings upon His church and His people and that He will use these Session members to bring fulfill His will in BPCWA for the edification of saints and extension of His kingdom on earth. Above all, we seek God’s blessings to use these elected members to bring glory to His Name alone, “Not unto us, O LORD, not unto us, but unto thy name give glory, for thy mercy, and for thy truth’s sake” (Psa 115:1).
How should the church respond? The duties are not light upon the shoulders of elected Session members. They need much of your personal and family prayer support daily to fulfill their roles as promised. Be united with the Session that God has appointed and installed through the election process. No one is perfect, and certainly neither are the elected members. The church is made up of saints, not by virtue of our own righteousness, but all only by Christ’s righteousness. Each has limited time, resources, and energy like you, but they have stepped up to take the lead to serve in various capacities so that you can have a church to go to each week and be fed with God’s Word. But as each promise and seek by God’s grace to serve our Lord in His church, let us be united with the elected members as they do so. Let us render our support when called upon as they cannot do all things themselves. Let us be open in feedback but be objective and constructive so that we all strive to serve our Lord better. Let us also be understanding as each choice, each decision, and each activity may suit some more than others. A church is a place with diverse people, diverse needs, and diverse preferences. But God’s church must have a common aim – the extension of God’s kingdom and edification of the saints for His glory. Support the work of these elected members if what they do is for these spiritual aims, even if your preference is not met. The pastor is appointed to prevent you from going astray, from causing problems in the church. His directions and admonitions may rub against your feelings. But submit if it is for your good and the church’s good, “Obey them that have the rule over you, and submit yourselves: for they watch for your souls, as they that must give account, that they may do it with joy, and not with grief: for that is unprofitable for you” (Heb 13:17). They must give account to God for their service to Him. You must give account how you support them as they strive to serve and do God’s will in the church as well.
If God’s appointment led to the installation of this Session in BPCWA for the next 3 years, let us work with the elected members as they seek to fulfill their consecration promise to serve Him to keep the church pure, provide the supporting services needed for the spiritual progress of the saints, and promote His glory in all that we do at BPCWA.
“Pray for us: for we trust we have a good conscience, in all things willing to live honestly” (Heb 13:18).
Yours in our Lord’s service,