The Elders Service Team (EST) consists of elders from all around the world as we continue to expand the membership to include elders outside the United States. Under the leadership of Walter and Kim Evans (pictured below, from Philadelphia), the EST members are Dan and Elexa Liu (Hong Kong), Darren and Sharon Gauthier (Chicago), Yannick and Emma Le Noan (Paris), Larry and Marylou Craig (New York), Bill and Sally Hooper (Dallas), Imagbe and Weyinmi Igbinoba (Lagos), Frank and Erica Kim (Denver), Losha and Tanya Kravets (Kiev), Jerry and Erlyn Sugarman (LA), Al Baird (Phoenix) and John and Pat Brush (Southeast Florida). It is a diverse team of elders that meets almost monthly to discuss the churches and church discussions that affect our fellowship of churches as we strive to spread the Gospel.
Throughout 2021, the Elders Service Team continued its work in strengthening congregations to encourage the development of elders throughout our fellowship of churches. Even though this work was hampered at times by the pandemic, several churches were able to appoint new elders or establish elderships with the guidance and direction of the EST. One discussion that we began this year is the definition of an elder and the qualities the Bible lists as ones an elder should have as a part of his character and life. This will aid us as we help churches choose the men who will be the elderships that are developed as the churches grow and mature.
The EST understands its role in the discussion of unity in our family. A Unity Task Force proposal was developed and presented to the delegates at North American Leadership meeting in Atlanta for their comments and consideration. Frank Kim and Jerry Sugarman were present at the discussions between the Northwest Family of Church leaders and the Portland Church leaders as they strive to come to unity in belief and practice and continue to be involved. Darren Gauthier is active on the SCUAD (Social Cultural Unity and Diversity Team) which is exploring the effects of race and culture on the churches in the United States. All of these issues, as well as conflict between churches, are areas that the EST knows that the wisdom and experience of elders are needed.
Another area of great need in our family of churches is the training and guidance for youth and family ministries all around the world. Frank and Erica Kim have taken the lead to attempt to create a method of collecting data on the health and effectiveness of our teaching our children as they grow and mature. With this data, we hope to create some initiatives and direction for our brotherhood as we strive to teach our children the way of Jesus. The upcoming World Discipleship Summit in Orlando, Florida from July 31 through August 7, 2022 will have classes and discussions on this vital subject.
The EST looks forward to 2022 and what the Lord will bring to our family of churches as we define our role in assisting the spread of the Gospel and the strengthening of the fellowship. The need for more elders and elderships is more apparent every passing year as the need for continued unity based on love and trust is being tested more and more. Guidance and wisdom on how to address the issues that we are facing as a family of churches is needed. Sound doctrine is being tested as new ideas and new ways to disseminate those ideas are being developed all over the world. Our purpose is to assist our global church family in these areas with the wisdom and experience that elders have developed over decades in their walks with God.