“Women In Ministry” Position Paper: In Process & Coming Soon

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From time to time the elders are asked questions about the role of women in our church, especially when it comes to teaching and leading in various ministries. While it doesn’t come up often, it happens frequently enough that we want to develop a clear position paper on the topic similar to the position papers we have on Christians and Alcohol and Divorce and Remarriage (check them out HERE, at the bottom of the page).

As a church, it is helpful to have these types of guidelines in place so that there is no guessing about the answer to certain questions. We want to examine all of the relevant passages of Scripture and formulate a position that we believe honors Christ and His intent for His bride–the church.

While there seem to have been a few blips of inconsistency in the past, the directing of ministries and the official teaching roles in our church have been done mostly by males. The key passage that points to this idea is 1 Timothy 2:15 where Paul prescribes that women are not to teach or have authority over men in the local church. But there are other passages that speak to the issue as well, and there has been a difference of understanding on this passage and others in the past.

While we have no intention of installing women elders, we do want to examine the Scriptures together and come to a consensus on how we will best care for the flock in this way when it comes to these important matters and roles within our body. We have a draft proposal prepared and are discussing the details, so please pray for wisdom for us as we seek to be faithful to what God has revealed to us in the Bible and lead you all in a manner that is pleasing to Him.

In Christ,

GFC Elders

Steve Barnett
Brad Bigney
Brian Fannin
Bob Greenwood
Peter LaRuffa
Rob Lohrmann
Ken Long
Roger Patterson
JD Rogers

Pastors & Directors at GFC

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We wanted to take this opportunity to respond to some great questions from members of our church body surrounding postiion titles on our staff.  If you look at our staff directory, you’ll see some are given the title “Pastor” and others “Directors.”  Further, there are instances in which a ministry was once cared for by a Director and is now cared for by a Pastor (for example, Small Groups), and vice versa (for example, Student Ministries).  Hopefully, these guidelines will provide some clarity between those two roles.

Hiring Process

Our church bylaws state the hiring of Pastors is finalized by congregational approval by vote at a Business Meeting, while the hiring of Directors and other staff positions don’t require a vote.  Both processes are carried out with prayer, thought, deliberation, and input from the church body as we desire examine the competency and character to fill key roles within our church, but only Pastors require a congregational vote in order for the hiring to be finalized.

Distinguishing Characteristics between Pastors and Directors of Grace Fellowship Church

As you’ll see below, the difference in title doesn’t reflect differences in Christian character qualifications, but differences in function and role expectations.

Pastor

  • Pastor is a biblical term designating role, responsibility, and title within Christ’s church (Ephesians 4:11–13).
  • Typically, a Pastor will have overall shepherding and equipping responsibilities throughout our congregation, as well as with staff members.
  • Typically, a Pastor will be an ordained minister of the gospel.  Since GFC is an Evangelical Free Church, ordination is a cooperative acknowledgement between our local church, GFC, and EFCA.
  • Pastors will be men (1 Timothy 2:12).
  • Typically, a Pastor will have a Master’s Degree in ministry training or have significant ministry experience.
  • Pastors are authorized to perform ecclesiastical duties (e.g., weddings and funerals).

Director

  • A Director is responsible for specific tasks of a specialized ministry of GFC (e.g., children’s ministry, youth ministry).
  • A Director will be under the care of a Pastor.
  • In Boone County, Directors may perform ecclesiastical duties (e.g., weddings and funerals).

Change of Title from Director to Pastor

  • This change will usually be a reflection of an expanded role of shepherding within GFC.
  • As one moves from being a Director to a Pastor, this is to be endorsed by the Elders and the Congregation as per the spirit of the bylaws of GFC.

Hope this is helpful.  Got questions?  Drop us a note to EldersEars[at]graceky[dot]org.  We’d love to chat.

Serving you in Christ,

GFC Elders

Brad Bigney
Brian Fannin
Bob Greenwood
Peter LaRuffa
Rob Lohrmann
Ken Long
Mark McFadden
Roger Patterson
JD Rogers

Prayer Request: New Elder & Deacon

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When we gather as Elders, we seek God’s wisdom and the unity of His Spirit as we make decisions, looking to shepherd our body in a way that pleases God.  We’ve been blessed with that unity and sincerely appreciate your prayers for us. So here is a request for prayer from you.

– Mark McFadden will be stepping down as an Elder when his term expires at the end of the year.  Mark and Jackie are excited to focus their efforts differently, including working more closely with Lewis Curd and the International Student Ministry at NKU. As we look for someone within our body that God has called to be an Elder, Please pray for wisdom for us to discern who God has called to be an Elder to lead our flock.

– Willie Schadler will also be stepping down as a Deacon when his term expires at the end of the year.   Please pray for the Deacons as they conduct interviews, seek counsel, and pray for wisdom in nominating a new Deacon.

We are so thankful to God for equipping godly men within our church to fill these roles in leading & caring for the needs of our body.  We’re grateful for how God uses the intentional discipleship provided in Joshua’s Men, CDT, etc., to raise up men for such a time as this.  Having said that, we place our trust in God the Holy Spirit to move among us and bring the right men for such a time as this.

Thanks for praying!

Serving you in Christ,

Brad Bigney
Brian Fannin
Bob Greenwood
Peter LaRuffa
Rob Lohrmann
Ken Long
Mark McFadden
Roger Patterson
JD Rogers

Prayer Room: You’re invited!

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It’s one of our big rocks. It’s something we are passionate about as Elders.  Still, it doesn’t have a very public face on a typical Sunday morning.

Did you know the Florence Campus has a Prayer Room?  It’s true!  Take a walk down the hallway running alongside the right side of the auditorium, and you’ll see it.  It is open and available for your use at any time the church is open (no need to reserve it or schedule it or anything like that; just drop in anytime).  Someone already in there?  Your call.  You can slip in quietly and join them (or to pray silently), or feel free check back another time.

So here are some ways you can use the Prayer Room to the glory of God.

  • Waiting for one of your kids who is serving during a service?  Consider using that time to go to the Prayer Room and spend time praying Lord and interceding for our church family.
  • Arrange a group to gather on a regular basis to pray for the body (and men, this isn’t just for the ladies.  God would be pleased to have you taking the lead on this and inviting others to join you).
  • Meet some from your Small Group a few times during the year during one of the services to pray for the body.
  • Maybe the Lord would have you commit to praying regularly in the Prayer Room on your own, even if nobody else you know is there.

One of our roles as Elders is to equip the body for the work of ministry (Ephesians 4:11).  We don’t need to have some sort of prayer program in place to have a thriving prayer ministry.  In a healthy body, things happen spontaneously and organically.  People minister to one another without getting permission or an order from someone else.  God the Holy Spirit directs each member of this body and your prayers to the Father through the Son in the power of the Spirit.  The prayers of the Elders are not more powerful than yours, and we want to encourage you to boldly approach the throne of grace with true confidence, knowing that God is pleased to hear and answer the prayers of His people.

“Brethren, we shall never see much change for the better in our churches in general
till the prayer meeting occupies a higher place in the esteem of Christians.”
~ C.H. Spurgeon ~

 

In Christ,

Brad Bigney
Brian Fannin
Bob Greenwood
Peter LaRuffa
Rob Lohrmann
Ken Long
Mark McFadden
Roger Patterson
JD Rogers

Women’s Ministry at GFC Florence

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Not sure if you remember, but the Florence Campus used to have quite the hustle & bustle on Wednesday mornings.  That’s the day each week that SO many ladies would meet to enjoy time in the Word together at the Florence campus.  This happened for years.  It was sweet, it was helpful, it was edifying and then…

…it was gone. (gasp!)

Some people actually thought it was eliminated by the Elders or staff, but not so.  Women’s Ministry requires a lot of help & organization and, quite frankly, there wasn’t anyone available to get it going.  Many people expressed their dissatisfaction in the fact it no longer existed, but no one volunteered to take it on themselves and help get it up & running again…

…that is, until Arlene Greenwood stood up from wherever she was at the time and said at the top of her lungs “That’s it!  I’ll do it!  Send me!  Sign me up!  I’m all in!” (and then proceeded to do a happy dance with her hubby, Bob).

We can’t prove it actually happened exactly like that.  The bottom line is, we’re very thankful to God for His provision in having moved on Arlene’s heart to serve our church in this way.  Please pray for her as she serves in this new role for her as there is much to do!  Also, if you plan on being a part of the Ladies’ Bible Study when it starts up again, add some feet to those prayers and let her know how you’ll be willing to help.  She [and we] would be most grateful for your service to the Lord and His people.

As always, drop us a note at EldersEars[at]graceky[dot]org if you have a thought, concern, or maybe even a riddle (’cause everyone likes a good riddle every now & again).

You are loved.

 

In Christ,

Brad Bigney
Brian Fannin
Bud Fennell
Bob Greenwood
Peter LaRuffa
Rob Lohrmann
Ken Long
Mark McFadden
Roger Patterson

Sunday night Youth Ministry…so far so good!

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One of the biggest decisions the Elders wrestled with this year was whether or not to make changes to our Youth Ministry.  For three months, it was on our agenda and in various stages of discussion.  We prayed, we spoke, we thought, we prayed, and spoke, and prayed some more.  It was no small task.  However, God was faithful in bringing us to the unanimous decision that it was time for some major programming changes in Youth Ministry, one of which was moving the main meeting of the week to Sunday evenings.

No day is perfect for everyone.  Switching from one day to another usually solves one problem and creates another.  That’s life on this side of heaven.  What we were hoping and praying for was a change that would reach more of our families, particularly those who desired to be more active in our Youth Ministry, but were unable to do so on a midweek evening  due to heavy amounts of homework, school sports or other extracurricular activities, or the need to be in bed early for a sunrise school bus the next day.

We’ve only been at it for a month now.  While we’re not quite ready to write a book about it, we are ready to write this blog post thanking God for blessing it thus far.  Attendance data from Sunday nights has far exceeded average attendance last year as we’re seeing ~130 students each week.  But it’s not just the numbers, but the names.  There are families represented on those attendance rosters that, although they may have been in our church family for years, have rarely or never been to a midweek youth meeting, but have now been able to attend consistently.  Not only that, but some have been bringing friends.  In fact, one student brought SIX of her friends with her this week!  Both Ryan & Aaron are excited to see what God has been doing these past few weeks, and pray He’ll continue to bless the ministry throughout the rest of the school year.

Hey.  Ever have to make a tough call that you knew was in the best interest of others, particularly your family, even though it wouldn’t immediately be met with cheers from all involved?  We’ve all been there.  This change was one of those for us as Elders.  We were confident it was what God would have us do, but we knew it was one of the biggest changes we’ve made to date.  It’s only been four weeks, but we’re thankful the Lord has blessed it thus far.  Join us in thanking Him for this evidence of grace, and continue to pray the Lord blesses this change for His glory and the good of His people, especially our middle and high school students, and the leaders who tirelessly serve them week after week.

How do you think it’s going?  We’d love to know.  Send a note to EldersEars[at]graceky[dot]org ’cause we’d love to hear from you.

You are loved.
In Christ,

Brad Bigney
Brian Fannin
Bud Fennell
Bob Greenwood
Rob Lohrmann
Peter LaRuffa
Ken Long
Mark McFadden
Roger Patterson

 

A New Spin on Forums

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In our first post, we mentioned our desire to rethink Forums (yes we did…click HERE).  Forums are great but historically, they’ve only come about a few weeks before a Business Meeting.  Since no normal person wants more Business Meetings, but plenty of normal people like to communicate, we thought it was time for some changes.

One of them was this blog (ta-da!).

Another change we’d like to make is holding Forums, not just as a precursor to a Business Meeting, but a few times throughout the year even if we didn’t have a Business Meeting looming.  In other words, let’s talk…like…just to talk.  (I know…we couldn’t have said it better than Bert.)

So going forward, we’ll hold Forums periodically throughout the year – sometimes before a Business Meeting (like our next one), and sometimes just so we can talk with one another.

Mark down these dates and consider joining us:

FLORENCE:

Sun, 03-Nov, during 1st & 2nd services
Sun, 10-Nov, during 2nd & 3rd services

NEWPORT:

Mon, 04-Nov, 7 PM at Daymar College [TENTATIVE]

And yes, we’ll be sure to remind you of these as the dates draw nearer.

Wanna talk before then?  Sure thing…just drop us a line at EldersEars[at]graceky[dot]org and we’ll chat.

Oh, and thanks so much for your participation in the recent survey re: when to hold our next Business Meeting.  It was great being able to take your input into consideration as we scheduled the Annual Business Meeting for Tue, 10-Dec, 7 PM at the Florence Campus.  Save the date!

‘Til next time,

Brad Bigney
Brian Fannin
Bud Fennell
Bob Greenwood
Peter LaRuffa
Rob Lohrmann
Ken Long
Mark McFadden
Roger Patterson

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