Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Message to the Ministers Council on GBEC Meeting at Valley Forge

Message to the Ministers Council on GBEC Meeting at Valley Forge
by Alice Davis

The General Board Executive Committee meeting that took place at the beginning of this month was a time of revival. It wasn’t really a revival meeting, of course, but if the purpose of a revival is to renew people’s spirits, then that meeting fits into the category. Even though the GBEC wrestled with many tough issues, the spirit that was engendered by President Arlee Griffin was one of moving forward with purpose. Although there are serious concerns facing our ABC family, the meeting helped the group to refocus on our passion for God’s work. And the meeting was infused with prayer. A people of prayer, purpose and passion; yes, that’s who we were at that meeting.

Two decisions that came out of this meeting deserve special note. First, the decision to move to one General Board meeting a year won unanimous support. This was a strategically and fiscally sound decision that was necessary to deal with the budget issues that are facing the Office of the General Secretary and the Representative Process. As many of you know, the need to make this adjustment has come upon us because of changes in the Common Budget Covenant, changes in the churches’ giving patterns and the potential loss of some of our covenanting churches. The second decision is the agreement to have a smaller group meet very soon to focus specifically on and make recommendations for changes that are needed to address the present environs. The Summit Meeting will take place in May, and will provide a vitally necessary time to think strategically about how we operate.

As the group representing the ministerial leaders of our local churches, the Ministers Council lives in a symbiotic relationship with the General Board. Successful ministry on the local church level is vitally important to the work of the General Board, and the missions that are governed by the General Board are of vital importance to our witness as churches. When we ask our congregations to give to National Ministries, International Ministries and United Basics, we are not just providing funds to support some other groups, we are in fact doing what we are called to do as local churches. Our job is to share the good news in as many ways as we can, and I’m convinced that the more ways that we share the good news, the more people will hear and respond. I’m convinced that the more jails of oppression are opened and the more bonds of injustice that are loosened, the more people will look, see, and come running, saying “What must I do to be saved?” I encourage all of our ministerial leaders to remember our covenant to support the work of our denomination and to encourage our churches to donate generously to its work.

Alice Davis

President, National Ministers Council

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