The belief that the people of God are called to be leaders is at the heart of the Presbyterian way. In our form of government, church members choose leaders to represent them. Thus each summer and early autumn we encourage members of the congregation to recommend leadership candidates. (The deadline for submitting 2022 recommendations was September 30, 2021; the recommendation period for 2023 candidates will open in July 2022.)
As part of the recommendation proceses, the Nominating Committee asks that you give prayerful thought to those individuals you feel have demonstrated gifts for leadership and a commitment to the life and ministry of this congregation. Please recommend those whom you consider well qualified to serve the church in the offices of Elder, Deacon, or Trustee or as members of the board of Chicago Lights or as at-large members of the Nominating Committee. You are also encouraged to recommend yourself.
Frequently Asked Questions | Contact Us
Session | Deacons | Trustees | Chicago Lights Board
At-Large Nominating Committee Members | The Work of the Committee
Frequently Asked Questions
Who can serve as an officer of Fourth Church?
Each leadership candidate for office must be a member of Fourth Church for at least one year and demonstrate faithful participation in both worship and the life of our church, and financial stewardship, by pledging and contributing to the ministry and mission of Fourth Church. At Fourth Church, a member may not serve consecutive terms on the same board.
Who can submit a recommendation?
Any member of Fourth Church can do so.
Can I recommend myself?
Yes, self-recommendations are welcome and encouraged! Whether you have served before
or would be a new leader, the committee
welcomes your self-recommendation.
What about recommending others?
The Nominating Committee encourages you to recommend one or more person. If you are recommending someone, please consider discussing your recommendation with the candidate to determine his or her willingness and ability to serve.
What is the time commitment for an officer?
The commitment varies by individual, but the average time commitment is about eight hours per month.
All church officers attend monthly meetings and serve on or lead one or more committees. Adults are elected
for three-year terms. Prior to ordination and installation, newly elected officers are required to attend training, which includes a daylong antiracism training.
The Session, which is the governing body of the church, provides oversight for the wide-ranging and growing church programs. The Pastor is the moderator of the Session.
Ruling elders are so named because “they are chosen by the congregation to discern and measure its fidelity to the Word of God, and to strengthen and nurture its faith and life.” The Presbyterian Church (USA) Book of Order advises congregations to “elect persons of wisdom and maturity of faith, having demonstrated skills in leadership and being compassionate in spirit.”
The Session is responsible for providing for worship and the administration of the Sacraments: Baptism and Communion; receiving new members; leading the congregation in mission; providing for educational ministry, pastoral care, and fellowship opportunities; and stewardship.
Particular responsibilities include
- Attend monthly Session meetings
- Attend monthly new member meetings
- Lead or serve on one or more Session committees
- Participate in serving Communion on designated Sundays
Each year 12 adults are elected to serve a 3-year term of service.
2 youth elders are elected each year to serve a 1-year term. Generally youths are elected during their junior year of high school and serve during their senior year. A youth elder is a full-fledged member of the session, attending monthly meetings and serving on a committee.
Deacons are the caregivers of the congregation, the heart of the church. “The office of deacon as set forth in Scripture is one of sympathy, witness and service after the example of Jesus Christ. . . . It is the duty of deacons, first of all, to minister to those who are in need, to the sick, to the friendless, and to any who may be in distress both within and beyond the community of faith” (Presbyterian Church (USA) Book of Order, G-6).
At Fourth Church, Deacons care for members and friends of the church as well as engage in outreach mission activities and tend to a variety of day-to-day activities related to worship and congregational care.
- Attend monthly board meetings
- Serve on 1 of the 7 Deacon committees
- Fulfill Deacon Volunteer Opportunities (often on Sundays and at least twice each month)
Each year 16 adults are elected to serve a 3-year term of service.
Additionally, 2 youth deacons are elected each year to serve a 1-year term. Generally youth are elected during their junior year of high school and serve during their senior year. Youth deacons attend monthly meetings and fulfill Deacon Volunteer Opportunities.
The Board of Trustees answers to the Session and is entrusted to manage the church’s financial and physical resources, including the endowment.
A demonstrated commitment to and knowledge of Fourth Church plus all-around management skills and experience are desired. Professions that provide valuable experience and expertise include attorneys and paralegals with broad backgrounds; investment and accounting professionals; property and operations management professionals with experience in building management, real estate, and systems; human resource professionals; experience in grant-writing and fundraising; and business professionals with broad experience in all aspects of operating a business.
- Attend monthly board meetings
- Lead or serve on one or more committees.
- Actively participate in the financial stewardship activities of the church
Each year 7 adults are elected to serve a 3-year term of service.
Chicago Lights Board
The Chicago Lights Board of Directors is the governing body of Chicago Lights.
The board’s responsibilities include setting the policy and strategic direction of Chicago Lights and serving as a public figure for the organization. The board also monitors the operations and oversees the financial stability of Chicago Lights.
- Attend board meetings
- Serve on a board committee
- Volunteer at, attend, or observe several program events during the year
- Make an individual financial contribution to Chicago Lights (no minimum amount is required)
Each board member serves a 3-year term).
At-Large Nominating Committee Members
The Nominating Committee is a joint committee of Session, Deacons, and Trustees and is charged to search for and select active members of the congregation to serve as church officers and to ensure that the officer candidates reflect the rich diversity of the congregation’s membership. As needed, the committee also slates nominees for pastor nominating committees.
Nominating Committee members have demonstrated a commitment to Fourth Presbyterian Church through active participation in various ministries and are familiar with a wide range of church members. Prior experience serving as an officer of Fourth Church is desirable but not required.
- Actively encourage officer candidate recommendations and meet with clergy, staff, and church committee leaders to identify such leadership candidates
- Participate in committee discussions about each individual officer candidate in order to develop a potential slate
- Contact the prospective nominees to extend the call to serve
- Hold in confidence the business of the committee
Each year 7 adult at-large members of the congregation are elected to serve a 1-year term of service.
The Work of the Nominating Committee
Elected by the congregation at its annual meeting in February, the Nominating Committee begins its work soon after the newest class of officers is typically ordained and installed in May.
- The committee receives and acknowledges leadership recommendations from the congregation from
July 1 to September 30.
- Throughout the fall the committee reviews the recommendations and, after deliberation,
prepares a slate of nominees that represents the rich diversity and inclusivity of our congregation—in age, gender, racial diversity, sexual orientation, and engagement in the breadth and scope of Fourth Church—and can help us shape a future that is welcoming for all.
- Committee members contact each potential
nominee to gain permission to place their
name in nomination.
- The final slate is presented to the congregation
for their vote at the Annual Congregational
meeting in February.
Every year the committee is responsible for nominating forty-six members of Fourth Church
to serve three-year terms in office:
- 14 Elders (including 2 youth)
- 18 Deacons (including 2 youth)
- 7 Trustees
- 7 at-large Nominating Committee members
- 4 Chicago Lights Board members
Nominating Committee Composition
- 7 at-large members of the congregation who are elected at the prior annual meeting and serve a one-year term
- 2 Elders of the church
- 1 representative of the Board of Deacons
- 1 representative of the Board of Trustees
- 1 representative of the Chicago Lights Board
- The Senior Associate Pastor for Leadership Development and Adult Education, who serves
ex officio, without vote
2020–2021 Nominating Committee Members
- Caryn Borg-Breen
- Vern Broders
- Beena Davis
- Lucy Forster-Smith (staff)
- Ken Gaines
- Jared Light
- Kelley Lynch
- Maggie McGuire
- Holly O’Mara
- Brad Pierce
- Beth Truett
- Gretchen Wahl
- Betsy Zeiger
For additional information about recommending individuals for church leadership, please contact the Nominating Committee by email.