In the Seventh-day Adventist Church, officers are elected every one or two years (see p. 49) through an appointed nominating committee. This committee brings its report to the church, which then acts on the names presented. This procedure enables the church to give careful study to each name prior to election, and avoids the public competitive element that may arise when nominations are made from the floor.
The nominating committee shall study the needs of the church and make careful inquiry into the fitness of members to serve in the different offices. For this reason officers shall not be nominated from the floor or by general ballot.
The Church Manual does not determine the size of the nominating committee. It will range from five members in a small church to a larger number in a large church. The exact number to be chosen is left to the discretion of each church. This matter should be studied by the church board prior to presentation to the church. A suitable recommendation may then be brought to the church, using a minimum of time in the Sabbath worship hour.
When the Nominating Committee Is Appointed—The nominating committee should be appointed early in the closing quarter of the church year and report at least three weeks before the final Sabbath of the church year.
How the Nominating Committee Is Appointed—The pastor or district leader or, in the absence of the pastor or district leader, the elder should bring the matter to the attention of the church. The church shall then appoint a special committee that will be responsible to nominate the [154 CHURCH MANUAL] nominating committee. This special committee may be chosen in one of two ways:
1. By nominations, verbal or written, from the floor. If verbal nominations are made from the floor, it must be understood that no member may nominate more than one person. The effort of one individual or a small group to dictate to the entire membership of the church is disapproved. Every effort should be made to ensure fair representation in the composition of the special committee. Everything of a political nature should be avoided. The pastor or district leader shall serve as chair of this special committee. In the event that a pastor or district leader has not yet been appointed to serve as leader of the church, the chair of this special committee shall be appointed by the church board from among the members of the special committee. The size of the special committee shall usually be equal to the size of the church board with an additional five to seven people.
2. By the church’s authorizing the church board, together with five to seven additional persons chosen by the church, in accordance with paragraph 1 above, to function as the special committee. If this method is adopted, the chair of the church board shall normally serve as chair of this special committee (see p. 147).
The sequential steps are as follows:
a. The church appoints by vote a special committee by either of the two methods listed above.
b. The special committee recommends to the church names for the nominating committee, with suggestions for a secretary. Every effort should be made to ensure fair representation in the composition of the nominating committee.
c. The church appoints by vote the nominating committee, naming the secretary.
d. The pastor or district leader is an ex officio member and serves as chairperson of the nominating committee. Should the pastor or district leader choose not to serve as chairperson, or if a pastor or district leader has not been appointed to the church, the special committee shall recommend the name of a local member to serve as chair of the nominating committee.
e. The nominating committee meets to prepare the list of church officers, which will be presented to the church for approval.
f. The church appoints by vote the various church officers for the ensuing year.
Who Should Be Members of the Nominating Committee—Only members who are in regular standing should be chosen to serve on the [CHURCH ELECTION 155] nominating committee. They should be persons of good judgment and, above all, have the welfare and prosperity of the church at heart.
Work of the Nominating Committee—As soon as possible after its election, the nominating committee should be called together by the chairperson. With earnest prayer for guidance the committee should begin its work of preparing to submit to the church a list of names of officers and assistants comprised of members in regular standing on the roll of the church making the appointments. These will be placed in nomination for office and presented to the church at a Sabbath service or at a specially called business meeting of the church. In making their selections, the committee may counsel with others who are well informed. This committee does not nominate either the pastor or the assistant pastor(s). These appointments are made by the executive committee of the conference/mission/field.
The church nominating committee deals with the following:
Children’s Ministries coordinator
Church chorister or song leader
Church organist or pianist
Family Ministries leader(s)
Women’s Ministries leader
Ministry to People With Disabilities coordinator
Personal Ministries leader
Personal Ministries secretary
Bible School coordinator
Publishing Ministries coordinator
Community Services director
Sabbath School superintendent(s)
Sabbath School assistant superintendent(s)
Sabbath School secretary
Sabbath School assistant secretary
Sabbath School division leaders, including leaders for the adult and extension divisions
Sabbath School Investment secretary [156 CHURCH MANUAL]
Vacation Bible School director
Home and School Association leader
Home and School Association secretary-treasurer
Dorcas Society leader
Dorcas Society secretary-treasurer
Adventist Junior Youth Society leader
Adventist Junior Youth assistant leader(s)
Adventist Youth Society leader
Adventist Youth Society associate leader
Adventist Youth Society sponsor
Adventist Youth Society secretary-treasurer
Adventist Youth Society assistant secretary-treasurer
Adventist Youth Society music director
Adventist Youth Society pianist or organist
Pathfinder Club director
Pathfinder Club deputy director
Adventurer Club director
Religious Liberty leader
Communication secretary or Communication Committee
Health Ministries leader
Church school board
Such other leadership personnel as the church may deem advisable, except Sabbath School teachers, who shall be appointed by the Sabbath School Council and approved by the church board.
Home and School Association officers are nominated where the local church is the only church that supports the school. Such nominations are provided to the school board which makes the appointment. Where more than one church supports a school, this whole process is fulfilled by the school board. (See pp. 119-121.)
The size of the church will naturally determine the number of church officers to be nominated. If the church is small, many of the assistant leaders may be omitted. In a large church all the officers and leaders named in the preceding list may be necessary.
Nominating Committee to Consult Prospective Officers—Having nominated for the various offices persons who are faithful, loyal members of the local church,* the appropriate members of the [CHURCH ELECTION 157] nominating committee should inform them of their nomination to office and secure their consent to serve.
*Any exception to this shall be by approval of the conference/mission/field. (See p. 51, "Work of the Church Elder Is Local.")
Member May Appear Before the Nominating Committee—If any member of the church desires to appear before the committee during its sessions to make suggestions or objections, he/she should be given opportunity to do so. After the one appearing before the committee has retired from the committee room, the suggestions or objections should be considered on their merits. When this has been done and everything is clear to the satisfaction of the committee, the committee is ready to report to the church.
Nominating Committee Discussions Are Confidential—It is a violation of Christian ethics and the spirit of the golden rule for a member of a nominating committee to repeat outside of a committee session any report, discussion, or conversation regarding any member whose name may be under consideration for any office. To offend in this regard is ample reason for excluding such a member from participating in the work of a nominating committee. All inquiries and discussions regarding the fitness of members to hold church office should be confidential. Should the necessity arise for inquiries to be made outside the committee, the chairperson of the committee should make them.
These principles apply to the work of all nominating committees, in both church and conference/mission/field work.
Reporting to the Church—This report is rendered to the church as a whole and not to the church board. The board has no jurisdiction in these matters. The report of this committee may be presented at the Sabbath service or at a specially called business meeting of the church.
When the nominating committee is ready to render its report, the chairperson of the nominating committee shall be given opportunity to make appropriate remarks to the church. A copy of the report should be placed in the hands of members, or it should be read aloud by the secretary of the nominating committee. The chairperson should announce that the report will be voted on the following week or two weeks later.
Objecting to the Report of the Nominating Committee—It is the right of any member to raise an objection to the nominating committee’s report. Any such objection should be presented in person to the nominating committee for consideration before the second reading of the report by making an appointment through the chairperson or church pastor. Or, at the time of the second reading of the report, it is in order for [158 CHURCH MANUAL] the objector to request that the whole report be referred, without discussion, to the nominating committee for further consideration. It is the usual procedure for the chairperson to accept the referral. However, if the request becomes a motion it is nondebatable and is decided by majority vote. The chairperson of the committee should then announce when and where the committee will be in session to hear the objections to any name. At that time the member making the objection, or any other member who desires to do so, should appear before the committee. If the election is deferred on the objection of any member, it would be a serious matter for that member to fail to appear before the committee. Trivial or groundless objections to any name should never be made, but if there are serious reasons that any nomination should be changed, these reasons should be stated. The committee should give due consideration to the objections presented. If they are found to be justified, the committee will need to substitute another name for the one to which objection was made. When the report is again presented to the church, the church proceeds to vote on the report of the committee. Every church member should vote in the election of church officers. The election is by the majority vote of those present and voting.
Vacancies—If an office of the church becomes vacant during the year because of death, removal, or resignation, or for any other reason, the church board nominates a successor to fill the vacancy for the remainder of the term of office and submits the nomination to the church for election.