Category: Elders Moment
The SBC – A Season of Study

Good morning church I hope that this letter nds you well after a blessed week of serving Him.

7) The law of the Lord is perfect, reviving the soul; the testimony of the Lord is sure, making wise the simple; 8) the precepts of the Lord are right, rejoicing the heart; the commandment of the Lord is pure, enlightening the eyes; 9) the fear of the Lord is clean, enduring forever; the rules of the Lord are true, and righteous altogether. – Psalm 19:7-9

It has been the heart of the elders to continue to succeed in maintaining open and honest dialogue with the body about discussions that take place within elders’ meetings, so on that note allow this report to ll you in with our most recent discussions.

On Tuesday September 8, discussions continued about our potential new affiliation with the Southern Baptist Convention. It was decided at this meeting that after the most recent discussion/questions that have been brought up over the last month, both by the body and some of the elders, that it would be in the bodies best interest to postpone (until further notice) the vote to move to this aliation.

The reason for this most recent decision was due to varying opinions and concerns surrounding three main topics.

The Baptist Faith and Message vs. our Statement of Faith

This question was raised, “If we are aliating with the SBC and replacing our Statement of Faith with the Baptist Faith & Message, are we completely comfortable with what their document does/doesn’t say about any particular topic?”.

The Gifts of Holy Spirit

The following questions were asked, “Are we ok with the SBC’s conservative stance on speaking in tongues?”, “What is the convention’s understanding of the gifts of the Holy Spirit and do we as a church line up with them?”.

Female Teaching

Discussion arose around the following questions, “What is the churches stance/understanding on 1 Timothy 2:12, and would it line up with the SBC?”, “What would the SBC say about a female teaching a coed Community Group?”.

It is evident, due the diverse views of the elder board on these topics (and other topics), that we need to commit the next few months of our time as elders to studying through these together, and we invite the body to do the same. Unity in the body is more important to us than our aliation and alway will be. After our Tuesday meeting the elders have decided to commit meeting biweekly to discuss areas of doctrine and theology before attempting to move forward unanimously and in unity.

What does that mean about our aliation to the ABC?

Due to the nature of not publicly associating with this denomination for the last 4/5 years because of their stance on certain social issues that the Bible clearly addresses. As an Elder board we would still unanimously recommend removing our ocial aliation with them. This recommendation wouldn’t change how we operate or run as a church in the slightest (nothing would change, not even our constitution). All we would need to do is write a letter to the ABC asking for them to remove our name as an ocial aliated American Baptist Church.

The elders would ask you to still attend a meeting on September 27, but this time, to ocially vote on this recommendation.

Church thank you for your input over the last month or so. It is our heart to move forward in unity as the Lord Himself leads His church.

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Elders Moment – June 2015 Update

I will bless the Lord at all times; his praise shall continually be in my mouth. My soul makes its boast in the Lord, let the humble hear and be glad. Oh, magnify the Lord with me, and let us exalt his name together!  Psalm 34:1-3

Yes, praise the Lord that we serve a God who loves us and provides for our every need!

In response to the church’s decision to prepare to separate from American Baptist Churches, the elders shared a conference call with Pastor Ed Stucky of the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC).  He explained the difference between “working in cooperation” with SBC and becoming an SBC Church.  Ed provided a great overview of the SBC mission program, which is very exciting and robust.  Following the Skype interview, the elders had consensus on continuing to hold more discussions with SBC and to plan a meeting with a local representative, with a tentative goal of making a recommendation to the church at the Annual Meeting in August.

In order to keep the church body informed about finances, the proposed budget for 2015 will be presented to the church in a Q&A session after church on June 28th.  Copies of the draft budget will be distributed at that time. Following that, members of the Finance Team will be available to answer questions about the budget after worship services leading up to a vote at the Annual Meeting in August.   The proposed budget was prepared by the Finance Team, composed of elders, ministry team leaders and the church Treasurer, Brian Meacham.

As outlined in our by-laws, this year’s annual meeting will be held on August 9th.  The elders will set up a schedule for quarterly church meetings to be held after the annual meeting, to take the place of Town Hall meetings.  This schedule will be provided soon.  Please plan to attend these very important meetings in the life of the church.

The elders are using a book entitled, “The More with Less Church,” by Eddy Hall, as they continue to plan for church growth.  It was decided to use the book in a church-wide teaching, and to begin to examine the suggested practices found in the publication as we seek to be faithful to our Lord’s great commission to reach the lost.  This process will be called, “The Pillar Project,” and will include a comprehensive review of church ministry, facilities and future growth.  It is hoped to have a complete presentation ready for the Annual Meeting. We know you will be excited about the plans for continued church growth.

A timeframe was established to continue the Youth Pastor search.  Candidates will be sent a Youth Pastor Application and asked to complete and return it.  The responses received will be shared with the Search Committee who will determine whom to interview for the position.

Please continue to pray for your elders as we commit to do our best to lead and shepherd.  And remember, we are always ready to hear from you on any topic you would like to discuss. Contact us at elders@wilsonfbc.com

Elders Vs. Deacons

Even though church was canceled due to the cold weather, here is Stephen with a short video explaining the differences between the roles of Elders and Deacons.

Follow along with Acts 6:1-7

[1] Now in these days when the disciples were increasing in number, a complaint by the Hellenists arose against the Hebrews because their widows were being neglected in the daily distribution. [2] And the twelve summoned the full number of the disciples and said, “It is not right that we should give up preaching the word of God to serve tables. [3] Therefore, brothers, pick out from among you seven men of good repute, full of the Spirit and of wisdom, whom we will appoint to this duty. [4] But we will devote ourselves to prayer and to the ministry of the word.” [5] And what they said pleased the whole gathering, and they chose Stephen, a man full of faith and of the Holy Spirit, and Philip, and Prochorus, and Nicanor, and Timon, and Parmenas, and Nicolaus, a proselyte of Antioch. [6] These they set before the apostles, and they prayed and laid their hands on them. [7] And the word of God continued to increase, and the number of the disciples multiplied greatly in Jerusalem, and a great many of the priests became obedient to the faith.

Elder Moment – December, 2014

Elders Moments-December 16, 2014

The elders have set up several new initiatives to help improve communication with the church. Much of our reporting and documents will now be available on the website, and a hard copy of meeting minutes will be left in the office for those who prefer to look at paper copies.

A new monthly All Team Ministry Meeting will be held on the first Thursday of each month at 7 pm.  The first meeting will be February 5. Elders, Deacons and Ministry Team Leaders are asked to attend.  Any interested person is also welcome to attend.  Reporting to the church will take place after each meeting.

A new ministry team was established to begin planning for needed capital improvement projects at the church, parsonage and new property.  Elder Doug Farley will approach an initial group of 8 people who were recommended for their expertise in some area of building project management.  The first meeting of this Building Team will be held on Thursday, February 12 at 7 pm.  The Building Team will be requesting feedback and making reports to the church as their planning progresses.

The elders discussed how to continue Elder George Water’s responsibilities during his winter absence. George and the deacons have arranged for several people to help take communion to the shut-ins each month.  Christopher Scrufari will be taking the lead on hospital visitation.  If you know of someone who is hospitalized, please call Chris at 545-0128. If you have a prayer concern that you would like included on our church’s Prayer Chain, please call Donald or Nancy Farley at 745-7674 (Don) or 751-6844 (Nancy.)

Church members and friends are encouraged to attend the upcoming Town Hall Meeting to be held at the church on Sunday, January 11 at 6 pm. This is an open forum at the church to discuss anything on your mind, either a joy or concern.  Everyone is welcome and encouraged to attend.

The current elders are praying over the applications of the men who are asking to become elders. More information will be forthcoming in January and the church will also vote on those presented at the end of January.

Two years ago, the church adopted a new constitution and by-laws that established an eldership to provide leadership to the church. We have currently begun a review of these documents to make sure we are fulfilling our commitment to provide good pastoral leadership. Please take this opportunity to review our organizational documents and provide your input about what you like or don’t like about them.  Copies are available on-line or in hard copy at the church. Your comments should be given or emailed to any elder or placed in the Elder Comment Box in the foyer. A ministry team will be set up in the new year to review the responses.

Another area where feedback is important is in the ongoing Elder Evaluation process recently set up.  This is another opportunity for you to assess the elders work in the church. Evaluation sheets are available on-line or in hard copy at the church.  Completed census sheets should be returned to Tim Lauger who will make a report in the new year.

The next Elders’ Meeting will be Tuesday, January 6 at 6 pm. If you would like to speak to the elders as a group, please let Elder Doug Farley know and he will include you on the agenda for the meeting.

Town Hall Meeting – Notes

[lollum_button text=”Download Notes” url=”http://wilsonfbc.com/download/town-hall-meeting-notes-14-11.pdf” size=”small”]

November 23, 2014

Attended by:  Sally Bishop, Tom, Mimi and Caleb Bach, Tim Bach, Stephen and Nicole Hay,  George and Ida Mae Waters, Lisa Johnston, Phil Sheppard,  Don and Jean Potter,  Dawn and Jeff Monroe,  Rob Reisman,  Ken and Sherrie Twist, Keith and Laura Schessl.  Randy and Kim McNally, Matt and Amanda Vail,  Doug and Lois Farley,  Steve Ornella,  Jack Hanna,  Chris and Sandy Scrufari, Matt Johnson.

The meeting was opened by Stephen Hay who explained the proposed agenda followed by a corporate time of prayer.

Questions, comments and responses;

Lisa Johnston expressed concern about Pulse and the ages that are currently being served on Friday nights…She stated that we are losing some of the older students who are basically the core of strong believers due to the immaturity of the 8th grade students.  Lisa stated that she has heard the students discuss this issue and has also talked with them about it.  Her suggestion was to possibly have 2 rooms segregated by ages.

Rob Reisman then asked as a point of order…if there were notes being taken as per the Constitution.  Though the Church Clerk was not present, Lois Farley stated she was taking notes and would provide them for record.

Jean Potter stated that the Eldership process is in its second year and when it was begun, it was stated that an Evaluation would be part of the process. She then asked, “What is being worked on and when is that going to be shared?” As well as “Is this a tool that the Congregation would have to evaluate the Elders?”

Stephen responded, that indeed there is a tool, it is in its second draft, and the goal is to get this done sooner rather than later.  Stephen also pointed out that the Elders are open to evaluation at any time and that members of the congregation should contact them.  Currently, there are two forms of communication, those being (1) email to the Elders or via the website: wilsonfbc.com,  or (2) write a letter and put it in the box that says Elders upstairs in the sanctuary.  Phone numbers are also listed in the bulletin for each Elder.

Keith Schessl stated he and Laura have been members for 14 years and they love this church and like seeing the ministry grow particularly to youth and community.

  • He stated that he feels that the church is being Elder ruled and not Elder led. Keith listed the scriptural duties of the Elders: settling church disputes, praying for the sick, leading by example, spending time in prayer and teaching the word, leading the church in worship and prayer.  Keith stated that he did not understand the role of the Elder to be so hands on with daily running of the church.  Keith gave examples of issues between himself and Doug Rohring and the Elders in regards to their position as co-chairs of the Maintenance Ministry.
  • The church building itself considering the age of the building and the repairs they have designated such as the cement and bell tower work.
  • As well the parsonage and the work being done and there the bids, concerning specifications, scope, correct licensure, and insurance validation.
  • Also the property recently purchased:  obtaining bids then being told to hold off, the safety issues that Keith has concerning possible injury and vandalism. He feels the area needs to be fenced and posted as soon as possible, if it is not going to be torn down.
  • Keith also listed parking issues, the need for a temporary or permanent lot and how this affects attendance.
  • Keith stated that he does not trust nor have faith in the Eldership.  He brought up the issue of Tim and how the decision made last year was changed after an outcry from the congregation, but the understanding was that they would have 100% agreement yet Tim was leaving and he is the only qualified Elder on board.
  • Keith asked that the Elders search their hearts and meet this week with him and other concerned members to discuss more concerns.

Stephen’s response: Elder Rule versus Elder Led…Stephen stated that the  Elders have recently begun discussing this exact issue…that there is no reference whatsoever to Senior Pastor in Scripture and the desire was for a Scripture based structure of the church.  When the current Elders started the course 3 years ago they thought that the model they were taught was Scriptural and realized within the past 4 months the model is not practical or Scriptural and the Elders have begun discussions as to rectify the discrepancies of the model being used.

One issue they have discussed was George and Tom looking at the Constitution that was put in place with the Eldership program and how it is a key piece to moving the structure from Elder Rule to an Elder Led model.  As well as putting the call out for Godly men to come along side and  work as God leads to Elder Led.

Stephen also responded about the issues Keith had mentioned concerning the Parsonage asking Keith what work he referred to.  Stephen explained that the sign for Kevin Wise was simply some advertising done for Nicole’s brother and the work he did for them was personal; he built a desk for them, which was for them personally.  Stephen stated that the only other work done was a dishwasher was installed and Doug Rohring has been contacted with any changes happening at the parsonage.

Sally Bishop asked for clarification of what was meant by Elder Rule (or Run) versus Elder Led.  Stephen explained that Elder Rule was like a dictatorship with no input or voting from the Congregation that the Elders made all decisions…and the Elder Led model means the church is shepherded, nurtured, guided and decisions are made with the consent of the Congregation.

Stephen stated that one of the issues is how do we engage more of the Congregation in communication.  This forum (the town meeting) was done because it appears the perception is that the Elders were not/are not being transparent and sharing all the information with the Congregation and that to some degree this may be a reality in certain areas.

Tim reiterated, “This is why we are having this meeting,” and that the Congregation is learning as the Elders are learning and the hearts of the Elders is that they lead and not rule.

Nicole brought up the property issue with it being put on hold. Doug and Ken both responded to this.  Ken stated that this may be partly due to his leave from the Elders starting about that time period.  Ken stated that a lack of communication may be at the heart of that issue and Doug stated that with what demolition was going to cost at that time there would not have been enough money to pay for demo and pay current bills. The demolition work was not budgeted so an appeal went out to the church to provide building fund donations to get the demolition done.

Jack Hanna stated there has been a recent rash of break ins in the area and that he felt a swift demo would be warranted, rather than investing money to secure a building that is going to be demolished.

Doug responded that the finances are back in an upswing because of the cycle of church giving and this could be considered, but little or no building fund income has been received yet.

Doug Rohring was not in attendance and Doug Farley stated that he did not speak with Doug Rohring about the demolition and that if he had he would have communicated the financial point.

Stephen spoke at this point about Elder versus Deacon role and the desire to have more men rise up to take active roles in the Ministries. He stated within the last year the Elders have gotten into the bad habit of picking up all the things that need to be done instead of turning it over to particular ministry leaders. He stated that the goal/vision was to raise up Deacons who handle the hands-on daily tasks.

At this point Chris Scrufari suggested a time check to see how many others had issues they wanted to raise and maybe not give answers right now. After a show of hands it was decided to continue in same format.

Tom Bach brought up the issue of the Constitution, wanting to clarify Elders and when they do what they want.

Stephen stated that the goal is not to split and divide but to seek unity.  The Elder’s intention is not to make decisions but come to the Congregation and if they disagree with the Elders recommendations that they would go back to God and continue to pray until a decision could be made in unity.

Nicole stated that with the trust and skepticism issues that it will take time to trust decisions of any leadership.

Lisa brought up the subject of questionnaires’ used in the past to help screen volunteers for youth workers as far as background checks and wanted to know if they are still being used.

Stephen stated that he has spoken with Tammy Rohring about them but they are not widely used right now for any of the youth programs.

George Waters stated that he meets monthly with the current Deacons who are taking care of the ministry to the shut-ins, planning Communion and with flowers and gifts throughout the year.

Rob stated that it is not Biblical to make everyone who serves in a ministry be a Deacon, and that there is only one or two verses that would indicate a difference between Deacon and Elder.  He is concerned with the financial end of things and feels that it is a Deacon responsibility and would take the pressure off the Elders- there should be Deacon run finances. This would leave the Elders to take on spiritual issues inside and outside of the building.

Concerning the Constitution, Rob stated he needed to be ask for forgiveness for not reading the Constitution when he became a member…mentioned that the Constitution does contain a lot of  Scripture references, but felt it was an Elder Rule not Elder-Led.  Rob read the responsibilities of the membership. Rob stated that he has read many Constitutions and there are many on line that could be examined and the fact that the Constitution needs to be rewritten.

As far as the Youth/ Worship Pastor should we bring someone into this disunity and the search should be put on hold because it would not be fair to a candidate or the church.  Rob stated that we already have the most qualified Worship/Youth Leader who knows the youth and is the most Biblically educated pastor.  Rob recommended a solution of putting the search on hold for 6 months.

Rob also shared that he had felt that he was not called to serve as an Elder because he was to serve in this own community but has realized that many of his community, about 30 -35 in number, are presently coming to Wilson FBC.  He is willing to help in the spirit of truly  Elder- Led and not Rule.  He has had experience in getting out from under the brutality of a Constitution.

Tim Bach responded asking,”Is it fair to bring someone into this disunity?”  He cannot answer. Tim stated he has been praying to the Lord for a new staff member – since the Lord has put a huge call to music and eventually to the Philippines.  Tim feels we need prayer and asked if it was disunity or a learning and growing process.

Chris stated that everything that was spoken tonight was a sign of God’s grace.  Also this is an opportunity for the Elders so that we can grow and create unity.

Sally asked how we could pay a salary for new staff with family.

Stephen stated this is certainly not an ideal situation, but that he felt it unwise to go back to a one person staffed church and that Lord has clearly blessed the 2 staff format.   Stephen shared the statistic that regardless of the size of the church-only about 30% of people volunteer in a church but that 15% is a more realistic.  We have to be aware of the calling on Tim’s life and that it would be foolish for us to try to stall God’s call and the timing He has in mind for Tim’s ministry.  He stated that a lot of people are talking and asked that they talk to the Elders.   The Elders are trying to be transparent.  He stated that it was God who opened the church and it is His business to close it.  He stated that there is pain in the birthing or creating process- that we all need grace for the process.

Chris stated that Tim agreed to stay on in an interim basis, so we need to ask God for more provision or ask God to release Tim to stay longer.

George stated that God had given the vision to the church to start the youth program and bring Stephen here and He has continued to confirm this. George also spoke to the property purchase and the funds being there when needed and having faith that God would continue to provide – God pays for what He wants.

Jack Hanna stated concerning the Constitution- that he hoped we would put a committee together to revisit the constitution to be more palatable and Godly. Jack asked the Elder candidates to look in their hearts to examine for prideful debt …that debt can become a god to you if the church is not financially set.

Mimi Bach spoke to the process of the hiring and looking for a new youth pastor and wanted to know who else was included in the process. Her concern is that she wants to be sure that a youth pastor background needs to be looked into- look into everything from their past. Mimi spoke about including some parents of current youth in the search for youth pastor…feeling they would have a better grasp of youth today and the qualities we need in a candidate more so than the Elders on the board.

Don Potter stated the budget was in place before air conditioning was installed and the final cost not being in budget.  He asked if the units need to be covered and also expressed concern about snow plows. Don also wanted to know if he gave money what it would be going toward.

Doug responded the first thing would be the demolition and once costs are estimates are for work on the parsonage and any church work would come to the congregation for approval.

Keith (and Chris) stated that this was the time of year that those who will be graduating from Bible College would be looking for positions and the job posting should go out to college sites.

Sandy asked for Scriptural reference as to how do we faith budget.  God does not go on credit.  She felt the church should budget for what they could afford.

Doug stated that in actuality the entire church budget is a faith budget we have no other income than people’s tithes and offerings, there is no guarantee of meeting a budget…we have to have faith.

Phil Sheppard shared about tithing and stated that we need to use wisdom and discernment in budgeting but have faith.  Phil also stated that it sounds like the engine was sputtering but it is in need of a tune up in regards to the church leadership process.

Rob asked that the Elders have a timeline -a timeframe for the Constitution and that a solution to the parking issue is an important issue since it is one of the top items people look at in a church.

The meeting closed with a time of corporate prayer.

(These are certainly not all the comments and not word for word,   I tried to write key phrases and ideas discussed and I am not a secretary so I ask for grace if you made a comment that was missed in my notes.   Notes were written in the order that the comments were made.)

Respectfully,
Lois Farley

Town Hall Meetings

Our church has taken significant strides in the last 3 years. Moving from congregational to elder lead has been something we as a body have needed to adapt to. It hasn’t been easy and it isn’t without it’s faults or mistakes. Typically this is a transition process that takes the average church at least 10 years to complete, so we are far from ironing out the 180 year old tradition of a congregationally lead church (we are only 3 years in).

On that note it’s vital that the church family have ample opportunity to talk and address any comments, concerns, ideas or confusions that they may presently have. That’s why we are introducing Town Hall Meetings.

The term Town Hall Meeting (Started in New England in the late 17th Century) was given to the public meeting, function or event that took place to allow attendees the opportunity to present ideas, opinions, concerns and ask questions. Historically it was where the peoples voice was heard.

We are encouraging the church members to join with us on Sunday, November 23 at 7pm for our very first Town Hall Meeting. We would ask that if you have something to present you would observe the follow steps:

01 Write before you speak

James 1:19-20 says that we need to be people who are quick to listen and slow to speak or to become angry. Within the context of what James is addressing here, we see that he is talking about the importance of listening — not to people, although that is important — but rather to God. Please take time this week to listen to exactly what God would have you say, then write it down. It’s very difficult to articulate thoughts accurately especially when there are emotions attached to them. Make sure that you are prayed up and written out before standing up to speak.

Writing your thoughts also allows you to present a written copy that can be used for accurate prayer and understanding after the meeting.

02 Represent yourself not a group

This is an important point when presenting a concern or complaint. Representing yourself alone allows you to follow along with the Biblical patterns of Matthew 18, where Jesus himself teaches on confronting a brother with an issue you have against them. It is also not fair to try to represent other people on their behalf. Sometimes it’s very difficult to represent ourselves well, never mind other people. If indeed others feel the same as you do, let them say so; give them the opportunity to follow the biblical patterns of Matthew 18 too, don’t speak on their behalf. It’s hard to provide help for those who remain anonymous. If someone asks you to represent them, gently encourage them towards Matthew 18.

03 Don’t expect an immediate answer

It’s fair to say that some or most things that are communicated on the night may require the attention of prayer. It is wiser for the thought to be presented and prayed over than it is for it to be presented and answered right away, without seeking the Lord for wisdom first. There may be certain issues raised or a question asked that truly can be tackled on the night, but to save future frustration, come with the mentality that topics raised and questions asked will only be answered after a time of prayer, examination and seeking the Lord. Thank you for understanding.

04 Build up don’t tear down

Of course there is a great chance that whatever issues are talked about on the night have great potential to tear down and break apart. Remember, we are made in the image and likeness of our God, and we are called to look more like Jesus daily. Understand that Jesus’ ministry was not a ministry of separation, it was a ministry of restoration. Please come with the mind of Christ, not the mind of self. Come with the hope of building and bettering what already exists, not tearing down and starting again. Jesus is the only one who opens and closes churches so let’s be sure that our actions cooperate with the love of Christ as he has called us to work with him in building the church. Christians can be very quick in crucifying others, we seem to be one of the only armies who are known for shooting their wounded.

Please be reminded that Jesus has purchased us at great cost to himself.  The blood of the cross has already covered all of our sins.

We know that we have passed out of death into life, because we love the brother. Whoever does not love abides in death. Everyone who hates his brother is a murderer, and you know that no murderer has eternal life abiding in him. – 1 John 3:14-15

Lastly, make sure that your heart isn’t just bitterly communicating your concerns with no hope of restoration. Remember, the heart is deceitful above all.

05 Provide a solution not just a problem

Our Lord Jesus Christ never had an issue calling out areas that needed growth or removal in a person’s life. But one thing Jesus never did was point out a problem without providing a solution. It’s very easy to point out things that are wrong. The eye of criticism is much easier to use than the eye of constructive criticism, but that can’t stop us from trying. If you are planning on presenting an area of concern that needs attention, please try to be prayerful in providing a solution and not just the problem. If a solution is something that you don’t currently have, it’s ok to say so, but understand if you are willing to point out the problem then you need to make sure that you are also willing to help towards the solution.

06 Deal with personal issues privately not corporately

This is another encouragement towards Matthew 18:15-17. If the issue or concern you have is with an individual not the leadership or corporate body, the Town Hall Meeting is not the venue for it. Jesus is clear that personal issues must first be dealt with privately, and if that is not successful then there are clear steps to be taken. Between now and the meeting make sure that if you have an issue that needs to be dealt with privately, that it doesn’t become public that night.

If you planned on presenting the issue publicly because you don’t know how to approach the individual, ask for advice, counsel and prayer. Following these 6 steps may be a good place to start too.

 

It is the hope that these Town Hall Meetings would be effective and bring much glory to God, and that the Bride of Christ (whom He purchased with His very own blood) would grow stronger and healthier as a result. Remember we are a family and families truly stick together through the good, bad and the ugly. Yes we might disagree with one another sometimes and discussion can be heated too, but the one thing a family does not do is give up on one another. May we not use this time as foundations for bitterness and hardness but may we seek the Lord through discussion that will build humility and grace with one another.

Remember God is shaping, molding and strengthening His Bride to one day present her pure, holy and blameless before Himself. Jesus loves His church more than we ever will.

Love
Stephen, Tim, Doug & George

Elder Moment – July 2014

On the 23rd of May myself and Steve met with Jim Kelsey the Executive Minister of New York for the American Baptist Church.  The goal of the meeting was to meet directly with the upper authority in the ABC to discuss ministry perspectives, specifically in regards to their stance on certain social issues and their leadership structure in general.

The meeting unfortunately went as expected with both ourselves and Jim being very clear and honest on where we stood.  The ABC has a leadership structure where they do not provide oversight or direction unless first asked by a congregation.  This leads to a very apathetic leadership structure and in my opinion frustratingly irresponsible on the shepherding side.  The ABC as a denomination has a fundamental root where they allow churches to interpret scripture how they choose and ABC will back them fully (except in areas of abuse noted Jim).  In the realm of social progressiveness this leads them, as Jim put it, “not to fight this battle anymore” but this is to ensure that they “don’t make their circle too small”.  Jim’s position is specifically designed to oversee and to intervene in matters that need to be resolved amidst churches so if there were a person that would be in the know, it would be him.

At the end of the meeting both Steve and myself left understanding that prayer as a body needs to be sought.  The ABC has a lackluster structure that they are very content in and it is apparent that they are not ones to stand on Biblical Truth for the fear of dying on the mole hill of some social issues.  As elders we would as that as a family we pray through our association with ABC together.  Jim proudly stated in our meeting that he has been in many other denominations and “is American Baptist through and through”, so may we pray and seek what the fruit of having ties with this denomination are and if we can confidently and biblically stand with them.

With Love,
Pastor Tim

Elder Moment – 02.02.14

In our attempt to continue to provide excellent written communication to the church, the Elders are pleased to offer this report of their current work.  Similarly, we would also ask that all other ministry leaders prepare a written report each month to share with the church.  Please send your monthly reports to Elder Doug Farley by the 15th of each month.

After a review of our office space situation in the church, the elders decided to make some changes to make best use of our limited space.  Youth Director Renae Mansfield will have an office on the second floor of the Fellowship Hall.  Pastor Stephen & Pastor Tim are relocating their main offices to the parsonage, and will be sharing an office space on the second floor of the Fellowship Hall. Pastor Tim will be there Tuesday & Wednesday and Pastor Stephen, Thursday & Friday.  We are also setting up a conference room that can be used by any ministry that would like to use an appropriate meeting space.

The elders continue to monitor the finances of the church, especially for the property purchase planned for 2014. The good news is (Praise the Lord!) we ended 2013 with $25,000 more in funds then we had at the start of the year.  Right now we have about $30,000 dedicated to the land purchase in a savings account. (The purchase price for the property is $85,000.)  There is also an additional $15,000 remaining in our operating account to start 2014.  We have received financial information (pledge cards) from 17 families in the church (15 that are able to assist over and above their tithe) with pledges that total $25,000. Of that amount, $7,500 has been received and $17,500 is still to come in. Also, several people are giving towards the building who did not give us pledge cards.  Thank you all for your prayers and support as we draw closer to our planned purchase date of June 1.

As we mentioned last month, we are now ready to ask everyone who attends church to complete a Connect Card. You will be receiving these cards in the bulletin. These forms will give us important information concerning our church family. Deacon Sherrie Twist has very graciously offered to assist with data entry into our church management software. Doug and Stephen will also work with this.  The Welcome Ministry will be involved in utilizing this information.

It was decided to hold a meeting after church today to vote on the proposed Biblical Marriage Amendment to our Constitution.  The meeting will immediately follow the service in the sanctuary. Please plan to stay for this brief but important business matter.   The proposed amendment is printed here for your review.

Marriage between a man and a woman was instituted by God with Adam and Eve. Genesis 2:24 states: “Therefore a man leaves his father and his mother and cleaves to his wife, and they become one flesh.” In Matthew 19:4-5, Jesus reaffirms this: “He answered, ‘Have you not read that he who made them from the beginning made them male and female,’ and said, ‘For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one’?” In response to this biblical instruction, the church will only perform marriage between one man and one woman.

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