The Elders had a fruitful time away last Friday night and Saturday as we met together to pray, discuss, and strategize about the Lord’s direction for our church. Thank you for your prayers and encouragement. This was the first extended time the new Elders were able to spend together as a team other than our usual twice-a-month Elders meetings. It proved to be a special time for deepening our friendships, appreciating our differences, and uniting together as we plan for the future.
In addition to extended times of prayer, we also continued and deepened our ongoing discussions about these topics:
- Church Affiliation
- Deacons at RGC
- Strategic Planning
- Elder Roles and Responsibilities
For each of these important topics we were able to develop some pathways and next steps that we believe will help us move forward in 2019.
A few highlights:
Affiliation: The Affiliation Committee issued their final report to the Elders in late January. We reviewed the contents and continued to discuss our options during our time together. The Elders will be sending the final report to all church members next week for their review and comments. The Elders hope to provide recommendations for affiliation in March that the church could vote on this spring after additional opportunities for congregational conversations. Please pray with us that God will guide us into cooperative partnerships with other Christians that will enable us to move forward in our mission.
Deacons: The Elders’ Deacons Working Group made their first full presentation to the Elders of their findings and preliminary recommendations. Several years ago the Elders committed to implementing the office of deacons in our church, confident that deacons will help our church flourish in acts of mercy, service, and administration. We anticipate being able to bring forth our recommendations to the church in March, engage in conversation with the congregation, and follow up with a vote by the church this spring.
Strategic Planning: The Elders are making some adjustments to our planning schedule to enable us to be better prepared for our ministry year, which begins in September. As a result, we are planning to vote on the Annual Plan and Budget in late July instead of June. We’ll provide more updates as the time for the presentation of the budget, our member discussions, and the vote approaches.
Staffing: As Paul O’Brien’s departure approaches (he’s leaving in early June), the Elders are actively considering how to provide pastoral oversight for our Youth Ministry and our Young Adults (25-35 range) and taking steps toward succession planning for Mark, Kenneth, and Vince. We are currently evaluating our budget for next year and considering our options for recruiting possible candidates. This topic is also related to the Affiliation discussions, since our experience in recent years has revealed that we need to find a wider pool of candidates to help us fill open positions.
Elder Roles and Responsibilities: It’s been almost a year since we added seven new non-staff Elders! They have been serving diligently and effectively in many different areas of the church. Some have served in more public ways and some more behind-the-scenes, but they’ve all had a significant impact in our Elder discussions and in caring for and discipling our members. During our time away, we reflected on our calling from the Holy Spirit to shepherd well Christ’s people here at RGC, and had all the Elders (staff and non-staff) talk about what they love to do and/or feel called to do in serving the church. It was a blessing to see how the Lord has provided so many varied gifts to the church, and our discussions will be ongoing so we can deploy each Elder in a way that best suits his gifts and most effectively serves our church.
So, that’s the gist of what we covered. We still have other important topics to pray about and discuss, like Discipleship and Women’s Ministry, that we hope to get to this Spring. As Elders, we’re so grateful to God for the privilege it is to serve our church, and we look forward to all that He has in store for us as we walk together in unity as a church in the days ahead to see Christ exalted in our lives, in our community, and to the ends of the earth!
Vince, on behalf of the Elders