First Presbyterian Church is governed by the Session, consisting of 12 elected Ruling Elders. Like Deacons, Elders are elected by the congregation for a three year term.
The Session is the council for the congregation and has the responsibility of governing the congregation and guiding its witness to the sovereign activity of God in the world, so that the congregation is and becomes a community of faith, hope, love, and witness. The session has the responsibility and power to provide that the Word of God may be truly preached and heard, that the Sacraments may be rightly administered and received, and that the covenant community of disciples of Christ are nurtured. —(Book of Order, G-3.0201)
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)