We are a Presbyterian church affliated with ECO: A Covenant Order of Evangelical Presbyterians and governed by an elder board.


You can contact Session at [email protected]


Our Session members are:

John Ortberg, Senior Pastor
Karen Skidmore, Elder
Ken Perez, Elder
Carol Carnevale, Elder
Jake Chacko, Elder
Phil Durden, Elder
Jamie Hale, Elder
Debbie Hall, Elder
Shirley Matteson, Elder
Bob Reed, Elder




Elder Qualifications, Role & Responsibilities  - 2015

“Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength.” Mark 12:30


MPPC & Governance
We believe the Church is the community through which God wants to bring love, healing, growth, and eternal life to the human race, and to which he invites everyone to follow Jesus. MPPC is one church in many locations, pursuing our mission to bless the Bay Area for Jesus through a transforming relationship with Christ and authentic community with each other. We are part of the denomination ECO: A Covenant Order of Evangelical Presbyterians (ECO) and, in keeping with our Presbyterian heritage, our congregation elects elders to serve on a board, called the Session, to govern the church. The Session works closely with staff leadership and represents the congregation as a body across all campuses, to provide oversight and governance of the church’s ministry, spiritual health, long-term strategy, finances, and administration.


The Session focuses on discernment and strategy to guide the church’s biblical mission in the world; on the spiritual health of the congregation, including discipline; and on oversight of church resources and staff accomplishment through the senior pastor, to whom it delegates ministry leadership and church operations.


Responsibilities of the Session & Elders

As an ECO church, MPPC is governed by its Session. Comprised of nine elected elders and the senior pastor, the Session has responsibility and authority for governing the congregation and guiding its mission for Christ in the world. In our Reformed tradition, the Session ensures that the church, through delegation to staff and lay leaders, proclaims the Word, celebrates the Sacraments, and exercises discipline. The Session also ensures the provision of worship and ministries, pastoral care and guidance for the congregation, and oversight of the spiritual, financial, and organizational health of the church. MPPC is committed to pursuing its mission as a church with God-honoring love, zeal, and excellence in all that we are and do.


Key Session Responsibilities are to Provide Leadership, Governance and Guidance, by:

1. Providing Spiritual Oversight of:

* Worship, sound biblical teaching, and educational life of the congregation
* Regular celebration of the Lord’s Supper and administration of Baptism

* Discipleship through life groups
* Care ministries

* Serving ministries in evangelism, compassion, and justice, locally and beyond


2. Shepherding the Flock through:
* Praying for our church life, staff and volunteers
* Providing for pastoral care of members
* Open communication and outreach to the congregation and staff
* Participating in biblically-based conflict resolution as outlined in Matthew 18, and in other discipline and restoration acts specified in the ECO Rules of Discipline
* Confronting false teaching, and bearing witness against error in doctrine and practice/behavior
* Serving in judicial matters related to the congregation as specified in the ECO Rules of Discipline


3. Discerning, Planning & Strategizing by:
* Collaborating with the senior pastor in discerning MPPC’s mission and strategy, setting church goals, making key decisions and strategic choices
* Engaging in regular dialog with staff leadership
* Engaging in on-going learning to further MPPC’s mission
* Periodically evaluating the Session itself and its effectiveness
* Assisting in identifying and recruiting leaders who can make significant contributions to the work of the Session and the church
* Developing and nurturing relationships with other congregations
* Acting as an “ambassador” for MPPC to the community, church at large, and the world


4. Overseeing Church Management by:
* Regularly reviewing progress and impact on MPPC’s execution of its mission and goals
* Regularly reviewing organizational health and helping ensure sound management of finances, staff, operations and infrastructure
* Approving an annual budget and audit report, approving material business decisions, and regularly monitoring the financial condition of the church
* Staying apprised of, and helping meet, all legal and fiduciary responsibilities
* Ensuring an accurate and updated record of church members and baptisms
* Preparing for, and participating actively in, Session and committee meetings
* Encouraging, advising, praying for, and providing practical support for the senior pastor in his or her role as head of staff
* Providing an annual (and other as needed) performance evaluation of the senior pastor
* Serving on task forces or special assignments as needed


Session Terms & Time Commitments

  • Elders will serve a four-year term and be eligible (but not obligated) for reappointment for one additional term before a mandatory one year rotation off the Session
  • 10 hours per month are typical, including a 3-3 ½ hour monthly business meeting and one committee meeting per month, and preparation time.


Elder Qualifications
Serving as elder involves a mutual discerning of call by a member of the church and by the Session, as well as the church body. This discernment involves a prayerful, Spirit-led assessment based on the leadership needs of the church and the Session, and the gifts, wisdom, experience, and spiritual maturity of elder candidates.


Elder Prerequisites
* A member of MPPC in good standing and have attended for at least three years
* Participated in and led a small group, or served in a volunteer role for at least three years, preferably in a leadership role
* Well known and affirmed for candidacy by a pastoral member of staff
* Affirms and is in alignment with MPPC’s stated values, vision and mission
* Affirms and adheres to the Essential Tenets of ECO Polity and Discipline


Elder Characteristics


1. Sound Character & Deep Spiritual Maturity
A woman or man of sound moral character and deep spiritual maturity, based on the qualifications described in 1Timothy 3:2-7, Titus 1:6-9, summarized as possessing the personal characteristics of:
* Being above reproach (lead by example, free of patterns of sin); temperate (self-controlled, un-enslaved, free of excesses); prudent (sober, wise); respectable (well-ordered, honorable behavior); hospitable (unselfish); able to teach; not addicted to wine (or other addictions); limits one’s liberty for the sake of others; not quick-tempered, un-contentious; free of the love of money; manages own household (well-ordered healthy family life); not prideful; good reputation with outsiders (non-believers); not self-willed (not selfish but servant-minded); loving what is good (desires the will of God above all else); just, devout (devoted followers of Jesus, seeking to conform to His image, committed to prayer, worship, scripture); holding fast to the trustworthy word (stable, obedient, seeking to be controlled by the Holy Spirit)
* Able to help with conflict resolution
* Reliability, integrity and humble teachability


2. Wise & Spiritually Discerning
Biblically literate and a Spirit-led, prayerful, wise disciple of Jesus. Has a sound understanding of the dynamics and practices of spiritual discernment, that is, the ability to recognize and respond to the presence and the activity of God, both in every day moments and in the larger decisions. As an individual, is committed to discerning and doing the will of God as it is revealed through the help of the Holy Spirit and, as a potential member of Session, would be similarly committed to lead through group spiritual discernment.


3. Able to Lead & Teach
Demonstrate ability to cultivate relationships and to persuade, convene, facilitate, and build consensus among diverse individuals, manage key projects or assignments, able to communicate effectively, and able to exhort sound doctrine. Skillful in “speaking an apt word” or teaching by possessing both the requisite knowledge and the ability to communicate it to others.


4. Competent & Experienced in Governance
Is a critical, insightful thinker with effective communication skills and problem-solving abilities, and can assess, identify and confront issues skillfully and appropriately. Demonstrates the relevant gifts, skills, and practical leadership experience in organizational management, administration, organizational savvy in strategy, planning and operations, knowledge of and experience in governance and oversight, and important functional areas of expertise (e.g., law, finance, human resources).


5. Servant Leadership Style
Possesses the tangible quality of being able to work well with, get along with, and contribute to the board functioning as a high-performing team – a team that works in relational harmony, with common purpose and goals, trust, respect, and mutual accountability. Adds to the effectiveness of the board, by being able to contribute selflessly, and to submit to and be part of the team effort of the board.


6. High Emotional Intelligence
Able to speak truth in love, able to disagree but not be contentious, able to identify and resolve problems, able to enter into difficult exchanges to defend the faith or MPPC or people in ways that preserve the church community. Possessing high self-awareness, self-reflection and self-criticism as appropriate in the varying situations, roles, and responsibilities of Session.


7. Cultural Awareness
Possesses social awareness of the unique cultural fabric of the Bay Area in this generation and a broad knowledge of communities within and outside of MPPC, as the context for ministry. Creative and thoughtful in their approach to reach, connect with, and care for people in the community.


Additional Considerations in the Elder Candidate Evaluation Process
* Experience with and knowledge (through past ministry involvement) about MPPC’s major ministries, congregation, leadership team, operations, staff, finances, plans, and strategies.
* As with its staff team, MPPC values a diverse board team that reflects the congregation and communities it serves, is diverse in ways of thinking and approaching problems, and whose members have complementary skills.