Why pray for our Elders’ Meeting? Ask J.C. Ryle

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J.C. Ryle said a lot of good things during his time on earth.  One of them is “The best of men are men at best.”

We’ve got an Elders’ Meeting coming up on Monday night and could sure use your prayers for us as we meet.  Here are a few of the things on our agenda that you can be praying for:

  • Pray for Small Groups!  The first portion of our time together each month is spent in prayer.  One of the things we’ll be praying for are the many Small Groups that are kicking off their ministry year this week and next.  Pray with us for that, and pray for new people to join Small Groups at our Florence and Newport campuses.
  • 2014 Budget – Our Deacons have a tremendous job of putting together the annual budget for our church each year.  They do this with input from the Elders and Ministry Leaders as requests are made for what we believe God would have us do next year.  Pray for us as we finalize ministry objectives to shoot for in 2014, and then hand over those requests to the Deacons who will put it together and present it for our initial approval, after which it’s presented for church-wide approval at our Annual Business Meeting in December.
  • Leadership Development & Ordination – We’re discussing what role the Elders have when it comes to what ordination in a denominational church like ours.  Pray for us as we discuss what we believe the Lord would have us do.

EldersEars[at]graceky[dot]orgThanks for talking to God for us and asking Him to help us as we meet together.  Don’t forget, you can always drop us a note at if you have any questions.

In Christ,

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

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Thinking Outside the Box: Church Business Meetings

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Church Business Meetings are held as necessary to conduct…well…church business (voting on the annual budget, adding new members to the church, electing Elders & Deacons, stuff like that).  For years, when we were one church in one location, we held these on a Sunday morning after the final worship service of the day.  They typically started around 1 PM or a little before, and usually lasted 30-45 minutes depending on the agenda for the day.  It’s not an ideal time, but it doesn’t happen often so we all make it work.

Here’s the thing.  We’re no longer one church in one location.  Currently, Grace Fellowship Church is one church in two locations (Florence & Newport), and we have a desire to be one church in as many locations as the Lord would grant us.

The current arrangement for Church Business Meetings doesn’t work well for multiple campuses.  It’s somewhere between unrealistic and impossible for people outside of the Florence campus to finish worshiping, finish serving, and make it to a Business Meeting in time.  Regardless of whether God has us in 2 locations, or 200 locations, we have to think, program, and plan with a multi-site mindset.  This is especially important when we’re doing things that affect the entire church (like Business Meetings), and not just one campus.

So here’s what we’re thinking.

Historically, and only every once in a while, we’ve held something mid-week as a special event.  We did this a few months ago for “GoLocal” and it was a huge success, and we’ve done it for Missionary Culture Nights, too.  We typically suggest Small Groups take the week off and go to that event instead, and some Small Groups do that while others go to both the special event AND their Small Group (it’s their call).

So for our Annual Business Meeting which is coming up in December, we were thinking of holding it mid-week instead of after church on a Sunday morning.  We’d suggest that Small Groups take the week off and come to the meeting instead, but Small Group leaders will ultimately be the ones to make that call for their group.  We realize this plan presents its own set of challenges, but we’ve seen it work before for other special events, so we think it’ll work for a Business Meeting as well.  Most importantly, the meeting will be scheduled at a time that’s a bit more of a level playing field for people from all campuses to attend, whereas Sunday mornings really only serves one campus well; namely, the one that’s holding the meeting.

So help us out.  Take one of the shortest surveys ever created – it has one (1) question.  Consider our next Annual Business Meeting coming up in early December.  Click HERE and let us know which day(s) of the week would work best for you, and we’ll be able to take your input into consideration as we plan.  If you want to give more feedback than our 1-question survey will allow, email us at EldersEars[at]graceky[dot]org.

Thanks for your help!

Sincerely,

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

Baby Steps: Listening & Leading

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How many times do you leave a conversation with someone, or a get-together, or a meal with a friend and someone says “You know, we just don’t do this enough.”  Sometimes there just doesn’t seem to be enough time.

We started holding Forums a few years ago, for a few different reasons.  Back then we didn’t do much to dialogue about agenda items for upcoming meetings.  We were diligent to inform the body through a letter or email, and the door is always open for people to contact the Elders if they have any questions, but that was it.  And so, we started holding Forums so we could talk about upcoming items of business before the actual Business Meeting instead of during it.  This makes for shorter meetings which most [normal] people prefer.

But there are a TON of things that happen that don’t require decision-making at a church Business Meeting.  If it’s not coming up at a Business Meeting, it typically doesn’t get discussed at a Forum.  When do we get to talk about that stuff together if it’ll never be discussed at a Forum?  Hmm…

And if Forums go hand-in-hand with Business Meetings, then we only have that dialogue when a Business Meeting is happening.  If there’s no meeting, there’s no Forum, and no communication.  So recently we’re started saying  “You know, we just don’t do these enough.”

We can’t hold Forums every week (we want to hold more, but more on that another time).  But we want to create a means of communicating with those who are interested in knowing things they can pray for with us, and also make ourselves available to answer questions and receive input, but without creating another type of meeting to attend.

So, similar to Billy Murray, we’re taking some baby steps in what we believe to be the right direction, starting with this blog.  It won’t just contain things you “need” to know, but things we want you to know.  We want you to pray about these things with us.  We want you to think about these things with us.  And, if you’re praying and thinking with us, we’d love to make ourselves available to talk about it with you.  Why?

Because we listen as we lead.

  • We listen to the Lord by making sure we know what He says in the Bible.  We pour over Scriptures, pray over what we see God saying, and make decisions that we believe first & foremost honor the Lord.  As under-shepherds, we long to love the sheep and please Christ, our “Chief Shepherd” (cf. 1 Peter 5:4).
  • We listen to each other.  It wasn’t just for kicks that God designed His Church to be led by a plurality of Elders.  We love the Lord, His Word, and Grace Fellowship Church…but we are not all alike.  We see things differently.  We have different preferences, styles, tastes, and leadership styles.  Certain things stand out more to one than the others, and where he may be weak, another is stronger.  Proverbs has a lot to say about wisdom gained from multiple counselors, and every single one of us is thankful we’re not a solo Elder.
  • We listen to you.  The best shepherds smell like sheep.  They’re among them.  We’re all in this together.  We’re in Small Groups together with you.  We counsel along with you.  We worship alongside you on Sunday mornings.  Our families hang out together at social gatherings.  And sure we talk but…(yup)…we just don’t do that enough.

Here’s what we can do.

After every Elders’ Meeting, we’ll look over the items we’ve discussed, make a list of things we want your help in thinking about and praying about, and then make ourselves available to answer any questions you may have.  We’ll post them here, and link to them in the weekly emails the Pastors send out concerning the coming Sunday at both of our campuses.

Want to get a message or question into the Elders’ ears?  Great…send an email to EldersEars[at]graceky[dot]org and one of us will look forward to speaking with you soon.

Send us a note and tell us what you think.  We’re all ears.  Or…eyes.

Whatever.

In Christ,

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

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