The 2017 Northeast Elders Retreat will be held on November 3-5 in Chicopee, MA. The retreat is for elders, elder candidates and their wives.
This year's featured speakers will be Al & Gloria Baird from Phoenix, AZ. Al has served as an elder for several churches on both the east and west coasts. He and Gloria are well qualified to share about their experiences and dreams for the future.
BEFORE the Delegates Meeting:
2500 leaders from around the world gave their input on needs for our movement to accomplish God's mission in the future. Task Forces were charged with focusing of one of five consensus areas of need: Missions, Structure, Finances, Communication and Unity. Each Task Force, made up of a variety of leaders from around the world, was charged with creating conceptual options for the Delegates to consider in their particular focus. All the Task Force Options were published on DisciplesToday.org and icocleaders.org by the end of August.
As recorded in Acts 15, a historic meeting took place in the early church to consider some very difficult questions that has arisen in the brotherhood of believers. As it states in vs.6 "the apostles and elders met to consider the question" where "much discussion" took place and to be sure persuasive messages and impassioned pleas were offered regarding the topics at hand. We can most likely know that many ideas were exchanged and strong statements were made along the way. In the end we see a unified front, and a clear way for the church of the first century to move forward.
This week's ICOC Weekly features a talk with Ed Anton about leadership discussions currently taking place in our fellowship, entitled Forward By Faith - ICOC 3.0. In this special episode, Ed addresses the genesis of the discussions, the history of the process to this point, and the plan moving forward.
The Teachers Service Team met in early April in Dallas of 2017.
Here are the items we discussed:
The Rocky Mountain School of Ministry and Theology (RMSMT)
We began with a report from Glenn Giles, the director of the Rocky Mountain School of Ministry and Theology in Denver. The school offers both online and hybrid (online and face-to-face) classroom courses toward three state authorized Master's degrees, one in Christian Ministry and one in Biblical Studies and now a Master's Degree in Biblical Studies with Languages (Greek and Hebrew). The school also in its relationship with Lincoln Christian University provides for students to transfer up to half of the credits taken at RMSMT toward LCU accredited Masters degrees in ministry and theology, including specifically the Master of Arts in Bible and Theology and the Master of Divinity degrees. We have just had our first RMSMT student (Jan Louie Uy) transfer graduate credits into the LCU Master of Arts in Bible and Theology program.
March 2016 MeetingThe first service team meeting of 2016 was in March. The primary discussion for this meeting was the women's role. The teachers are studying the biblical role of women and how we can better utilize the gifts of women in our churches. The Women's Service Team asked us to consider this topic.
Give thanks to the Lord and proclaim his greatness. Let the whole world know what he has done. – Psalm 105:1 (NLT)
Over the last few months, over 2,400 leaders from all of our family of churches around the world have been going through a healthy evaluation of the ICOC as a global movement. Three of the strongest topics of consensus have been:
Formation and Funding of a Kingdom Unity Fund
“Just as a body, though one, has many parts, but all its many parts form one body, so it is with Christ.” – 1 Corinthians 12:12
We are grateful to be part of the body of Christ and part of our families of churches who are so committed to God, to each other and to taking the good news of Jesus to every person. We are also grateful for the leadership God provides among our family to help us examine our faith to see how we can better serve God. Earlier this year, the ICOC 3.0 Forward by Faith discussions were held in every one of our 34 regional families around the globe including 2400 leaders. The results of those discussions stimulated the forming of five task forces to address areas of consensus. The Finances Task Force submits this report in response to the charge given to us to present options for funding for global needs.
“In him the whole building is joined together and rises to become a holy temple in the Lord.” – Ephesians 2:21
Following the crisis in our churches in 2003, over a period of time 96% of the ICOC churches committed to the Plan for United Cooperation. In 2007 a structure of delegates and service teams was set in place to provide a means to talk and to collaborate with each other and build unity. (See ICOC Leadership Timeline 2003-2020.) While this structure has been very helpful in keeping us together after our crisis, some have voiced concern that it makes for slow decision-making and that the delegate system may have outlived its purpose. In 2015 the Service Team chairmen initiated a self-study with an ICOC-wide survey asking brotherhood leadership to evaluate several aspects of our fellowship including our commitment to global missions and whether we should attempt to improve our coordination and organizational structure. A follow-up second survey was sent out for leadership teams to take in the fall of 2016. The concerns those surveys reflected were discussed in the leadership and Delegates meetings in 2015 and 2016. Those who took those surveys assumed their answers would weigh in on the discussions that would come up at the April 2017 Spring Leadership Meeting in Dallas. In response to the input, videos and documents were distributed in advance of the Spring Meetings for attendees to prayerfully consider in prayerful preparation. We appreciate that all participants willingly engaged in the discussions.