We are Governed by  Elders

The Greek word for "elder" presbuteros gives our tradition its name.  Presbyterians people of faith whose churches are governed by elders.  Elders are elected by the congregation to lead and rule the life of the church.  Ruling elders serve three-year terms to a governing body — the session.

The Book of Order defines Ruling Elders —
As there were in Old Testament times elders for the government of the people, so the New Testament church provided persons with particular gifts to shareg in discernment of God’s Spirit and governance of God’s people. Accordingly, congregations should elect persons 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 ministers of the Word and Sacrament, exercise leadership, government, spiritual discernment, and disciplineh 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. When elected as commissioners to higher councils, ruling elders participate and vote with the same authority as ministers of the Word and Sacrament, and they are eligible for any office. [Book of Order G-2.0301]