Consistory Center

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Resourcing church leaders

Welcome to the RCA's Consistory Center. These pages offer information and resources to elders, deacons, ministers, treasurers, and administrators as you work together to lead your churches in mission and ministry for Christ.

Resources for All Consistory Members: Are you currently serving on consistory? Then this is the place to start. Discover what consistory is, learn about leadership training, investigate the RCA and its governance, and lots more.

Resources for Deacons: Look here for information that will help you grow and develop as a deacon.

Resources for Elders: Look here for information that will help you grow and develop as an elder.

Resources for Treasurers and Administrators: Look here for a variety of information that will help you administer the finances of your church. 

Frequently Asked Questions: Do you have consistory-related questions that haven't been answered yet? You may want to take a look at the FAQs.

Complete the 2014 Consistorial Report Form

Resources for Deacons

The Greek word in the Bible for deacon, diakonos, means servant.

Resources for Elders

As an elder, you are responsible for sound teaching and discipline within your church, and for the spiritual well-being of the congregation.

Case Studies for Consistories

These case studies are developed to support a transformation in how consistories interact. There are many excellent biblical and theological studies about the consistory, church offices, mission, vision, and conflict. These studies are meant to complement them by offering a communication process perspective.

Consistorial Report Form

The annual Consistorial Report Form (CRF) can be filled out online from January 1 to March 1

Consistory Devotions

Setting the stage for godly leadership

Incorporation of Local Churches

Although not required by the RCA's Book of Church Order incorporation of a local church offers a number of advantages.

Ministering to the Pastor

Pastors need the same care and spiritual nurture we all do. Elders, who work closely with the pastor in the ministry of the church, are in a good position to provide that nurture.

Pastoral Search Handbook

Every pastor, church member, denominational staff person, and researcher agrees that this period when a church is without a pastor is a crucial time in the life of a congregation. Decisions are made that move the church to find the person to be chosen for their ministry. It is very important to find the right person. Since each church has unique needs and since each pastor has special gifts for ministry, it is essential that the church and candidates be involved in a process of prayerful and intentional discernment. One of the difficulties is that often neither churches nor supervisors have much experience in a pastoral search process. Normally, fewer than one-third of the people on a search committee have ever looked for a pastor before. This presents a tremendous opportunity to teach search committees as well as classis-appointed supervisors, who do not function in that capacity very often, a discernment process that will be helpful and effective in their search. At the heart of this discernment process is a deep and abiding dependence on God’s call. Pastors and congregations are ultimately not involved in “selling” themselves in an ecclesiastical market, but rather in discovering what God intends for them. The call to a particular congregation is much like an invitation to unite a pastor and congregation as companions in ministry. They commit to work together in faith and work together with grace. As one would expect, discerning God’s call is often not an easy assignment. The Pastoral Search Handbook identifies effective ways to search for a pastor and provides a helpful resource for church supervisors, consistories, and search committees. The Pastoral Search Handbook is organized according to eight steps identified by the Alban Institute in Journey in Search of a Pastor: • Termination • Search • Early Decisions • Decision-Making • Direction-Finding • Installation • Self-Study • Pastoral Start-Up The Pastoral Search Handbook is intended for general use. Classis and/or regional synod requirements must be met throughout the search process. The supervisor has the responsibility of informing the consistory and the search committee of those requirements during the process. The quotes at the head of each section of this handbook are taken from Journey in Search of a Pastor, a publication of the Alban Institute.

Praying with Someone in Need

How can I prepare to pray with someone in need?

Providing pastoral care

How can elders provide better pastoral care for their congregations?

Risk Assessment

To promote physical health, individuals are encouraged to undergo routine, periodic physical exams. Churches should do the same thing—not just regarding their physical condition, but regarding their "legal" condition as well. Like it or not, churches are engaged in legal relationships and commercial activities on a daily basis.