Dear Church Family,
For the last couple of weeks, there has been an announcement in the bulletin regarding the officer training class that I will be teaching on Monday evenings at our home, beginning on September 12th. Herein, I wish to give an exhortation (and reasoning) for all the men in the church to sign up and attend this class, followed by some more details about the class.
Exhortation to Attend the Class
I invite and encourage all the men in the church (young and old, members or visitors) to attend this class; and, first of all, let me say that if you plan to attend the course, please sign up by August 29th so that I may order the necessary materials for each person attending; you may email me, call me, or speak to me in person.
There are several requirements and steps required in order to become a church officer (an elder or a deacon): taking the officer training class, meeting the Scriptural qualification set forth in 1 Timothy 3 and Titus 1, undergoing a written and oral examination by the session of the church, and being nominated and elected by a majority vote at a congregational meeting.
All of this can sound very daunting, I know! However, to the men in the congregation, I would also say: even if you do not feel called or qualified to serve as an officer in the church – or if you are on the fence – this class is a great opportunity to study the Scriptures, the Westminster Standards, our denomination’s Book of Church Order, and various other topics pertaining to the doctrine, practice, and leadership of our church. I have found this kind of class to also be a means to help discern a calling to serve as an elder or deacon in the church.
If you’ve ever taken an online or home-study course, you know that it is very different from interacting with other people in a classroom environment. That’s one of the great benefits of this class. You could probably go and read all of the materials for this class and study on your own, but there’s something uniquely beneficial about studying, learning, and interacting with others in community. I’m looking forward to this class and hope you will join us on Monday evenings this fall!
Again, please sign up by August 29th.
Structure and Plan for the Officer Training Course
The class will consist of sixteen 2-hour session, on Monday evenings from 6:00-8:00 pm according to the following schedule: September 12, 19 / October 3, 10, 17 / November 7, 14, 28 / December 5, 12, 19 / January 9, 16, 23 / February 6, 13. We may amend the schedule as we go in order to accommodate people’s schedules or if other things come up, but as you can see, there are several breaks or weeks off during the class.
There are four areas of study for this class: (1) an overview of the Scriptures, (2) the Presbyterian Church in America’s Book of Church Order (BCO), (3) the Westminster Confession of Faith, and (4) various articles covering topics related to serving the church, including things like the history of Presbyterianism, the regulative principle of worship, infant baptism, philosophy of ministry, principles of leadership, and many others.
The class is divided in two parts. In the first eight weeks, we will study an overview of the Scriptures and the Book of Church Order. In the second eight weeks, we will study the Westminster Confession of Faith. Over the entire sixteen weeks, we will devote some time to the various topical articles at the end of each class. You can expect at least 1-2 hours of preparation each week, outside of class.
Let me reiterate that all men in the church are encouraged to participate in this class. Whether or not you feel called to the officer or elder or deacon, this class will help you to grow in your knowledge of the Scriptures, Reformed theology, and our denomination’s constitution. Additionally, it will be a good opportunity for dialogue and fellowship with other men in the church. I’m looking forward to this class and hope you will join us!
The Lord be with you!
– Pastor Peter M. Dietsch