As there were in Old Testament times elders for the government of the people, so the New Testament church provided elders persons with particular gifts to share in discernment of God’s Spirit and governance of God’s people. Elders are 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 word and sacrament, exercise leadership, government, spiritual discernment, and discipline and have responsibilities for the life of a congregation.