About Us (Part VII)
A couple of Sunday’s ago we all participated in the ordination of two newly elected Deacons to join our Deacon body. Michael’s sermon gave us a great lesson from Acts chapter 6 of the calling of the first deacons and showed how they were used to address problems in the church and maintain health and unity and he talked about how deacons still fill that role today. Several times he talked about how the elders led the congregation to choose the deacons to meet the needs in the body. In the coming weeks, as a church we are entering a season in which you will select members to serve as Elders here at Southside. Having served as an Elder for the last two years I’ll tell you about something very humbling that was asked of me. In 2-3 meetings of the Elders with various members in the church they looked at us and asked, “What exactly do you guys do anyway?” So… we figured one of the first things the body needs to know as they consider who to call to be Elders is to know what we do.
I could just give you the generic Bible answers that we oversee, we lead and we shepherd but I’ll try to give you a better sense by recapping some of the things we’ve done over the past few months serving in this role.
· Recently we met with the Chairman of the Nominating committee to discuss their struggle finding people to fill important committee positions. We helped prioritize which committees to fill first and begun a discussion on how to find and encourage members to be willing to serve in these much needed committees.
· We spent time discussing the recent Missions conference helping identify key people to lead it as well and the scope and emphasis of the conference.
· After the church shooting in Texas last November we met with the group of Deacons leading our security evaluation to discuss security for our facility and our services. James shared a good update Wed. night at our business meeting about that ongoing work.
· Several of the Elders have been active members of the property committee, meeting at least 1-2 times each month to accomplish the many things that need to be done to bring about the potential sale of the upper half of our property.
· We met with staff to talk about improving our communication among leadership and how leadership can better communicate with the body. The need for this morning's talk is one of the things that came from that meeting.
· When Byron was seeking God on his potential call to pastor another body, he came to us, we heard from him, counseled him, and prayed with him. After he accepted that call we met in several meeting with the Personnel committee and youth leadership to develop a plan for temporary and interim ministry to the youth. We met on two occasions with Brandon and then Brandon and Meghan before they were presented to the church to serve as our interim youth minister.
· When Michael found himself facing his legal situation he came to the Elders. We walked, and are continuing to walk that with him. We talked to his attorneys and other legal advice, evaluated our church insurance policies to see how they apply and protect him and the church. We prayed will him, counseled him and hopefully strengthened him.
· We visit with members in the hospital. We have met with, counseled and prayed with individual members whose families and marriages are struggling.
· And recently we spent 9+ hours on a Saturday discussing the current health of our church. We talked in depth about things we can do to improve our ministry on Sunday mornings, to improve our ability to communicate among leadership and to the body, about identifying what are the most important things we do and how we stay focused on doing those things well. And we committed to becoming more intentional shepherds of the body, developing a plan to reach out and visit each of the members and families so we can do a better job understanding what needs people have that we as a church can meet.
In essence, as Michael pointed out a couple of weeks ago, that last part is what the Elders at the church in Acts did. We realize we don’t have many Hellinistic widows in our congregation but we have many other members whose needs are just as real and who God cares about just as much. But we also realize, like in Acts, it will take the whole church, each doing our individual parts to meet them. Next week during the SS hour we will all be meeting in the gym for a more detailed teaching on the biblical basis for Elders and specifically the role they fill here at Southside. And after that it will by incumbent on you as a congregation to do your part, to pray and to select your Elders wisely.