Our presbytery offers a lay pastor program for elders who wish to serve churches as lay preachers. We are building a faculty and seeking students to have a new class this year.
If you read the Book of Order, the description of ruling elders is clear. The ministry of teaching and ruling elders is similar reflecting the reformed tradition of priesthood of all believers and clerical/laity equity.
Part of me thinks it is unnecessary to designate some elders as certified lay pastors. All elders should be prepared to assume the duties of that office. In reality, I know not all elders receive the preparation needed. Elder training in congregations varies from not much, if any, to a year's worth of Saturday meetings for study.
The new student roster may include a person who is not an elder. I'm uncomfortable with the idea of providing CLP preparation to someone who has not been called to this work through the congregation and who has not been ordained. The person may decide not to participate, so my concern may be moot.
The new class of CLP's will study preaching, teaching, theology and pastoral care. Along with these classes, they will begin to form their pastoral identity where they see their faith being transformed into the role of pastor. This formation will help them realize the resources they have in one another and as a group.
Having a student participate who has not yet received the approbation of God's people as an elder will detract from the purpose of the group.
One of the weaknesses of this presbytery is the fluidity of rules. While this may allow grace to flow at times (cannot think of an example here), we never know what is going on. One pastor's reception into the presbytery happens with little "vetting" or comment; another pastor goes through the pit of hell on the floor of presbytery. One pastor is allowed to make decision contrary to the B of O and our presbytery manual. Another pastor is criticised for not following the guidelines. Makes no sense to me.
Presbytery should allow us to work together without chaos. Should, but doesn't.
Whoever has the biggest voice or assumes the most authority or has the largest congregation, greatest age or whatever determinant, gets to pick the rules.
My "fairness meter" beeps incessantly.
St.Casserole, call me an Old School Presbyter