by Shannon Pederson
On May 10, 2016, Ruling Elder Dave became officially commissioned by the Presbytery of Minnesota Valley.
His journey was long and hard, yet very rewarding too. We are so proud of his accomplishments and how well he is received by all the members of our Presbytery.
The role of a Commissioned Ruling Elder (formerly Commissioned Lay Pastor) came about in 1984 as a mission strategy to fulfill the need for congregational leadership in areas where there was an extreme shortage of pastors. The Commissioned Ruling Elder is actually an ordained elder authorized to carry out functions of a pastoral ministry: to preach and administer the Lord’s Supper, to baptize, moderate sessions and perform marriages.
The first areas to use Commissioned Ruling Elders were the Yukon, Alaska and Appalachia. These areas were geographically isolated and had few financial resources. There was an opportunity for Presbyterian witness to Christ in these areas that needed to be met. Soon, other areas echoed the mission need. Large cities needed Commissioned Ruling Elders to assist pastors in large congregations and rural areas needed them because ordained pastors were reluctant to relocate to small communities. Additionally, many pastors did not want to learn to minister in a culture very different from what they had known creating a large need for pastoral leadership in many areas of the U. S.
Our need for a pastor has been fulfilled in a wonderful way. We have a Commissioned Ruling Elder with a tremendous ability to teach the Bible, preach the Word of God, and administer Sacraments. We were already very happy with Dave at our pulpit before his commissioning and now we have something even better to be happy about. The Lord answered our prayers.
“I thank Christ Jesus our Lord, who has given me strength, that he considered me trustworthy, appointing me to his service.” 1 Timothy 1:12