A Ruling Elder is a person of wisdom and maturity of faith, having demonstrated skills in leadership and being compassionate in spirit. Ruling elders are so named not because they “lord it over” the congregation (Matt. 20:25), but 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. Ruling elders, together with teaching elders (pastors), exercise leadership, government, spiritual discernment, and discipline and have responsibilities for the life of a congregation as well as the whole church, including ecumenical relationships. When elected by the congregation, they shall serve faithfully as members of the session.(Book of Order, G-2.0301)
First Presbyterian Church is directed by the Session, consisting of 12 elected Ruling Elders. The Session establishes the policy and decision-making of the church to give spiritual guidance, strength and leadership to the whole congregation.