Christian Reformed Church of Perth

 

About Us
What we Believe
Our History
Church Government
Map Locator
Contact Us
Donations & Offerings
Feedback
Links.htm
Privacy

 

 

Home Link Newsletter Service Info Service Recordings Programs Rural Outreach.htm

 

Our Form of Church Government

 

Our Church Order (Constitution)

Like all churches we need some kind of rule book by which we organise ourselves. The rules we use are called the Church Order, which translates into practical life our thinking about the Church.

The first section is about the Offices of the Church. Although we believe every believer holds the office of Christian we believe that Christ has instituted at least three special offices for the good ordering of His church: ministers (pastors), elders and deacons.

The second section of the Church Order deals with The Task and Activities of the Church. The most obvious activity is worship. We encourage all our members whenever possible to attend both the morning and the evening worship services. The other task deals with membership. We welcome infant children of believing parents through baptism, older children into communicant membership through public profession of faith and new Christians through adult baptism (if not previously baptised) and profession of faith.

The third section deals with The Assemblies of the Church such as the Session, Classis and Synod.

The last section of the Church order deals with The Admonition and Discipline of the church. When a member of the church is openly sinful, or grows indifferent to Christ and his church, the elders may restrict certain membership privileges, ask for special prayers, or even remove such a person from membership. Discipline with patience, prayer, and penitence can help us all walk more faithfully in the way of the Lord.

Since the Church is Christ's body in the world, our love for Christ is reflected in our love for the church. But our loyalty to Christ must always exceed our loyalty to the church.


The Session

The Session is the governing body of the local church and is made up of the pastor(s) the elders and the deacons. Meetings of Session are open to church members except when matters of a confidential nature are being discussed. Our Session meets once every 2 weeks, and presently consists of 8 elders, 2 deacons and 1 pastor and one associate minister who is set aside to work as a chaplain in the Nepean District Hospital.

The Pastor is often referred to a the preaching/teaching elder to indicate that his office is not higher than that of the other elders. He is responsible to the Session. The Pastor stays in a congregation until such time as he sees fit to accept another call that is extended to him.

His tasks: To lead the worship services, to preach the gospel, instruct the young people and new converts and lead the congregation in its outreach to the community. With the other members of Session he visits the sick and others in need of pastoral care (see Article 10a,b, page 126).

When a congregation wants to have a pastor, then the Session invites the congregation to submit names of suitable men. The Session then makes enquires about the men and comes to the congregation with (usually) 2 names, and the communicant members are entitled to vote. The man receiving the most votes receives the 'call'. He is then free to accept or decline the call.

To be eligible for a call a man must have completed the prescribed training at the Reformed Theological College or another accredited institution. He also needs to have passed an oral exam set by the Classes.

Elders and deacons are elected by the congregation, usually for three years (see Article 4, page 124). The task of the elders, together with the minister, is the pastoral oversight of the congregation (see Article 10b, page 126). The elders visit each home in their district at least once per year.

If you have a matter which you believe should be drawn to the attention of the Session, then you should contact your elder who will then convey the matter to Session verbally, or you may write a letter to the Session clerk.

The deacons are responsible for the ministry of mercy to the needy in the congregation as well as the community at large. Funds are collected by offering for this work. The deacons do not hand out cash to those in need, but either pay bills as they deem necessary, or supply goods such as food parcels (see Article 24, page 127).



Session Subcommittees

The Board of Management
This is appointed by the Session to look after the general maintenance of the church buildings and grounds as well as matters of finance. As the Church does not have a full time care taker, it is important for us if we notice anything that needs attention to approach one of the members of this committee.

One of the most important tasks of the COM is to prepare the annual budget under the guidance of the Session, and once it is approved by the congregation, to administer the church’s funds according to that budget.

Money Matters: To finance the day to day ministry of the church each communicant member and those baptised who have started work are approached with regard to giving their first part of their income to the Lord.

The offerings in the worship services are always announced beforehand so that you can consider what you will give.

As a church we encourage tithing (10% of personal income), not as a legalistic rule, but as a guide by which we express our thanks to God for all that He has done for us. This tithe is encouraged to be given as a pledge which is set aside from one’s income before allocating any part of it to other commitments.
Beyond the pledges for the immediate work of the church we do together, offerings are taken up for work we do as a denomination on a national basis. The work supported in this way is too much for one congregation to do, such as overseas missions.


Music Ministry
This committee prepares liturgy and music for our worship services, with the aim being to do so in all services once we have enough musicians and the capability of organising this on a weekly basis.
Those with musical ability who wish to become involved are very much encouraged to contact this committee in order to become part of the music ministry in our church. Information as to contact people is found in the front of the local church directory.


Outreach Task Group
This is composed of people directly involved in the outreach work of the church, and includes both the Evangelism and Youth Elders as well as the pastor. It oversights the outreach work of the church and makes recommendations to Session as to future directions in the mission work of the congregation.

 

THE NATIONAL STRUCTURE OF THE REFORMED CHURCHES
(see Articles 26-57, page 128-132)

The basic unit is the local church, which is governed by the local session or council, elected by the congregation.

All the local Sessions within a state meet together once in 3 months as a Classis. Thus CRC Perth is part of the Classis of Western Ausralia. A Classis can only discuss matters raised by one of the Sessions. Each Session sends its pastor and elder delegate to the Classis meetings. The Classis can then make decisions which are binding on the local congregations - such as combined projects.

The Classis of the 6 states meet together every 3 years as a Synod. Each Classis sends two pastors, and two elder delegates to a Synod. The Synod can only deal with matters raised by Classis. This means that all matters that come to Synod have first been put forward by a Session, approved by the State Classis, before going to Synod.


The activities of the Classis are funded by what is known as Classical Quota payments which each Congregation makes on the basis of so many dollars per communicant member. Similarly, the activities we do on a national level (decided by Synod), are funded in part by what we call Synodical Quota payments. There are a number of activities which we do together as a denomination.

World Development & World Relief Relief Work Group (WD&WR)
This committee distributes the funds collected by our congregation for overseas relief work. For example they investigated the best way to help in Ethiopia and decided that World Vision was the best and so they channelled the $100,000 collected by our people through this organisation. This was done with the agreement that none of our funds would be sued for World Vision administrative costs.

WD&WR is also involved directly in a long term resettlement program of Javanese immigrants, a child nutrition and rehabilitation program in the Philippines, orphanages and an abandoned children's home. Uganda, several small scale projects in Indonesia and an orphan and widow program in India. WR receives its funds from two annual offerings in all our churches, plus any additional offerings a local church may wish to hold.

Solomons Task Group
This body is partly funded by the Synodical Quota payments as well as by collections held in all the churches each year. The Solomons Task Group at present supports two missionary families: Rev Kevin Rietveld and his wife Machi as well and Frank and Janet de Hoog.

Reformed Theological College (RTC)
This college, located in Geelong, is where our pastors are trained. If ever you go to Geelong, make sure you visit the College. Some of our Synodical Quota payments go to the College.

To help support the College, members are encouraged to become members of the Association for Christian Tertiary Education (A.C.T.E.) which runs the College.

The College also has full time and correspondence courses for those who do not wish to train for the ministry but desire to understand the Bible better as well as do some leadership training. Information on these courses can be gleaned from the clerk of Session.