Article 23 — Term of office
The elders and deacons shall serve two or more years according to local regulations, and a proportionate number shall retire each year. The places of the retiring office-bearers shall be taken by others unless the consistory with the deacons judges that the circumstances and the well-being of the church render it advisable to call them into office again. In that case the rule of Article 3 shall be observed.
Holy Scripture gives us no indication of the duration of the term elders and/or deacons should serve in their respective offices.
Our Reformed churches have deemed it wise not to introduce the ‘lifelong’ elder or deacon. The main reason for this may be the wish to prevent a certain form of hierarchy from creeping into congregational life.
Our churches, however, have agreed to determine the minimum term of office to two years. The churches maintain their freedom not to restrict themselves to this minimum.
Another rule agreed to is that each year a proportional number of elders and deacons shall retire.
Article 3 has already dealt with the calling of elders and deacons who can replace them. However, in certain instances it could be desirable and useful for the well-being of the congregation, that all or some retiring office-bearers would be able to continue their work in the midst of the congregation. In such a case the consistory together with the deacons shall present a single nomination, the enfranchised members of the congregation being given the opportunity to cast a (secret) vote; and the normal approval of the congregation being obtained, after which they have to be re-ordained as indicated in Article 3.