“Now I know that none of you among whom I have gone about preaching the kingdom will ever see me again. Therefore, I declare to you today that I am innocent of the blood of all men. For I have not hesitated to proclaim to you the whole will of God. Keep watch over yourselves and all the flock of which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers. Be shepherds of the church of God, which he bought with his own blood.” – Acts 20:25-28
Greetings from the Shepherding committee of our cooperating family of churches! We are greatly encouraged by the progress we have observed since our Kiev Leadership conference and excited to participate in God’s work among us as we come together in Denver! How good it is when brothers dwell together in unity!
We have been meeting monthly via conference call with an effort to keep our mission before us which is:
- Providing a safe place for group members to get input and encouragement as shepherds!
- Building relationships and ongoing communication between elders and churches co-operating together in mission and brotherhood!
- Providing example, assistance and counsel and teaching to help churches raise up elders and develop effective church building elderships!
- Provide an objective and unbiased resource for conflict resolution in relationships within and between churches!
Since our last report the focus of our group has continued to revolve around agenda items including conflict resolution, our role in cooperative decision making and gathering resources for elder and eldership development. We are encouraged by the increase in newly appointed elders and elderships among our churches. There are currently 29 elderships and over 75 elders in the U.S. alone. We are very desirous of seeing more elders appointed outside the US in our younger churches where both time and training are needed in most cases. There are a number of cooperating church families currently conducting Elder training workshops in the ACR, Northeast and Southwest family of churches. If you are interested in joining any of these or starting your own we would encourage contact with leaderships hosting them or any of us on the committee. There will be more planned for 2010 and beyond.
We are enthusiastic about the growing unity between Evangelists, Elders and Teachers both in our churches and among them. These groups will each be represented among us by an Evangelist’s, Elder’s and Teacher’s committee with respected brothers around the world functioning in each group. We fully support the principle of a collaborative process between these three Biblical leadership groups guiding decisions vital to our future cooperation as churches. In addition to this effort with the Evangelists and Teachers, we are beginning a collaborative effort to work with families throughout our fellowship. In Denver we will be combining with the Youth & Family Service Team to begin developing resources for every family using current technology available on the internet. This is an exciting venture and we ask that you continue to pray and watch for informative and helpful materials for this vital aspect of our lives.
One of our goals is to add other elders to our service team. In May, Walter Evans was added to our team. Walter is an elder in Philadelphia and serves with his wife, Kim, in the ministry there. Additionally, we ask for you to pray for the appointment of elders around the world and the addition of some of those to this group. Our desire is to truly have a worldwide representation on our team serving God and His church.