ELDER SYMPOSIUM

Ruling elders are equal partners in leadership within the denomination, but ruling elders rarely have education funds available to them from the church to further their own development. The possibility of ruling elders knowing ruling elders from other congregations in their subject area of assignment on session and/or interest is vitally important for health and creativity and at the same time increasingly rare. So a team of people within the Charlotte Presbytery created an elder symposium, and we invite you to replicate their success in your own presbytery!

What is an Elder Symposium?

On Saturday, January 20, 2018, NEXT Church invited ruling elders from across the Charlotte Presbytery to an engaging forum designed to equip and connect elders for leadership in the Church. 160 participating elders chose a specialized track of ministry in which they hope to gain wisdom, share ideas, and discover solutions while connecting with leaders from other churches who have been called in similar capacities. This created a collaborative and hopeful space for elders who share a passion for leading the church. In fact, the event was so well-received, we did it again in 2019.

Upcoming Elder Symposia

We look forward to hosting more elder symposia when it becomes safe for us all to travel and gather again.

Observation​

Ruling elders are equal partners in leadership within the denomination, but ruling elders rarely have education funds available to them from the church to further their own development. The possibility of ruling elders knowing ruling elders from other congregations in their subject area of assignment on session and/or interest is vitally important for health and creativity and at the same time increasingly rare. Our presbytery, like many other presbyteries in the PCUSA, has not had a leadership development opportunity for ruling elders in some time.

Prescription

Start something! Form an event that would gather ruling elders together with other ruling elders at a time that is convenient to them. Provide a space where conversation between ruling elders can happen. Be a positive spark of energy early in the session year.

The genesis of this event came from a conversation. Some of us were pondering the multiple opportunities pastors have to gather and get to know each other better, while ruling elders seem to have fewer opportunities. Also, we wondered what it would look like if more ruling elders embraced their calling to spiritual leadership more strongly. The elder symposium was put together for elders to learn and share practical knowledge on a subject that they may be interested in, or that they are assigned to on session, and an opportunity for them to be inspired and renewed to embrace their leadership and ordination vows with new vigor.

Want to host your own NEXT Church elder symposium?

NEXT Church would be happy to resource you as you plan a symposium in your area. We can provide coaching based on what we’ve learned already, plus we can provide support behind the scenes in hosting ticket sales, recommend keynote speakers, help with publicity efforts, etc. We just require that at least one member of your planning team be a coach or leader from NEXT Church (we can help you identify this person if need be) and we ask that an option to donate to the work of NEXT Church be included in your event.

Would you like to host your own NEXT Church elder symposium? Email NEXT Church director Jessica Tate​ to see our full elder symposium planning guide!