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.
March 22, 2016
First day discussion: How can we best utilize the gifts of women in our ministries?
The following are various thoughts that were expressed by various sisters and brothers during this discussion:
- The prophet Joel says the Spirit will be poured out on sons and daughters. We need to bring Jesus to the forefront and see how Jesus was with women. It's not about women empowerment; it's about how we can further the cause of Jesus.
- This topic is a crucial topic that deserves our attention.
- There's not an active elevation of the women's role happening in our churches. We've articulated the path to become a Bible talk leader, evangelist, elder, but not a woman who wants to pursue a role in the church. Girls grow up in the church, and they see the role of men elevated. What about our women? The hope is to learn together and have a wider discussion, not in pockets so we're not repeating each other.
- It would help if we came up with a consistent hermeneutic before we move to pastoral concerns.
- Our biggest challenge is gender as it relates to the church or being a millennial in the church. If we ask our kids what they think about this topic, they will speak their mind.
- We need to discover a biblical, Christ-centered path for women to use their gifts in the church. We've inherited a viewpoint and taught it all over the world.
- The majority of the members of our churches are female. Often discussions about women's role are about what they cannot do. We need to change the conversation.
- We need to ask a respectful, humble question: What did God intend? We're brothers and sisters in Christ first and foremost. The call to lead and the call to follow are equally challenging.
Hot issues on the topic:
- Women speaking in the church
- Women teaching in the assembly
- Multi-cultural sensitivity
- Discipling – women discipling brothers
- Offices in the church; church polity
- Role of the women's ministry leader
- Positions in the world; secular authority
- Women leading in worship
- Disintegration of family impacting women in the church
- Mutual respect between women and men
- OT heroines who had offices and authority
- Abigail who discipled a king
- Cross-cultural assessment of our church culture
- Generational concerns
- Social trends and women's role
- Cultural values and women's role
- How we often reflect what's going on in society in the church
- Church in the Bible is often counter-cultural. How does this play in the counter-cultural trends in the Bible regarding treatment of women?
The various passages that need to be studied:
- Luke 8
- 1 Corinthians 11
- Priscilla & Aquila
- Acts 21:9, Philip's 4 daughters
- Acts 16, Lydia
- Samaritan woman, John 4
- Mary Magdalene
- Marys of the resurrection
- Mary of Bethany, Luke 10
- Poor widow and her two mites
- Anna prophetess
- Mary the mother of God
- Matt 12:49, disciples including women
- Romans 16, 40% of Paul's greetings in a male-dominated society are to women
- 1 Corinthians 9
- Euodia & Syntyche
- 1 Thessalonians 2
- Proverbs 8
- Revelation 12
- Covenant of circumcision was for men only, but baptism was for men and women.
What are the big questions in the ICOC fellowship that we need to answer?
- Can a woman be an elder?
- Can a woman be an evangelist?
- Can a woman speak in church in a mixed company in a mixed audience?
- Can a woman pray in the assembly?
Assignment of passages to be studies to various people:
- 1 Cor 11 – Andy Fleming
- 1 Tim 2 – Kay McKean, Gordon Ferguson, Courtney Bailey
- 1 Cor 14 – Courtney Bailey, SteveKinnard
- Titus 2 – Suzette Lewis
- Write two-page papers on these scriptures
Wednesday March 23, 2016Reports:
- At the Southwest Ministry retreat the leaders decided to begin a MTA program for the Southwest family of churches.
- Gabe Santos who was the Dean of Sociology at Lynchburg College is leaving to be on the full time staff in Richmond, VA.
- Teachers' Blog on Disciples Today
- Roger Lamb has invited us to set up a teachers' blog on Disciples Today. This would be a centralized teachers' blog that all teachers can contribute to.
- Director/Editor: Tammy Fleming
- Vetting – Joey Harris, Steve Kinnard, Andy Fleming
- Everyone on the teachers team should send 2-3 articles.
- Teacher Development:
- We need a catalogue of teachers. This catalogue would be a roster of teachers' locations and their specialty. We should track people who want to be recognized as teachers.
- Andy Fleming volunteered to help with this.
- Everyone should send Andy the names, locations, and the speciality of teachers in your church family.
- Let's find out where we have Schools of Ministry/Missions, MTAs, who's the director, and what work is being done in those MTAs.
- Teachers need to be recognized by their local ministry. This was discussed in teachers' paper. Congregations recognize teachers in different ways and that's fine. We want the local ministry to recognize the person.
- Teachers Working with Local Ministries:
- How can we as teachers help with local churches to accomplishing their mission? What are ways we are trying to influence people. How can we help people grow and mature?
- How can we help grow leaders and mature members?
- Dave Pocta answered, we can begin with our children. How do we build faith in our teens? We use character studies, but is that best? The problem with some of our kids is that they grow up in the church, and they already have an inbred performance theology. When we do character studies, they have this idea that I have to become perfect or good enough before I am allowed to do the real studies. This creates a huge gap. Unfortunately, in our local ministries our youngest, least experienced interns are often feeding content to our teens. We need to write new material that is more God-oriented.
- Ed Anton mentioned, in our local ministries we need to develop a hermeneutic of grace to make sure we don't create these performance hurdles.We need to create church growth resources. The ACR has the Body Builders, Meat Eaters, and Cross Bearers classes on their Commonwealth Academy. We should collect personal ministry victories of teachers and post on the blog, Teachicoc.org website. Share on the blog something that is going on in your church where teachers are being used to grow the church.
July 2016 Meeting in St. Louis
We invited several young prospective teachers to be a part of the meeting in St. Louis. The Teachers Service Team wanted to get the perspective of Millennials.
- Daniel Burke – Charleston, SC
- TJ Parisi – New York, NY
- Bobby Ritter – St. Louis, MO
- Matt Fisk – Virginia Beach, VA
- Katie Fisk – Virginia Beach, VA
- Talia Laing – Raleigh, NC
The Teachers Service Team, an explanationWe want to train more teachers. We want to be a service team that not only looks at difficult passages but also meets needs in the ministry. We want to teach our teachers how to develop more teachers. We want to build relationships globally with the teaching ministry and share resources with one another. We want to establish Ministry Training Academies in every region of our movement. We want to help those who have the gift of teaching to use it in a great way for God
James 3:1 reads, "Not many of you should be teachers, my brothers and sisters, because you know that we who teach will be judged more strictly." We recognize that the teaching ministry is not for everyone. Teaching is a gift. Jesus was a rabbi, Paul spoke of himself as a teacher. The teaching role is a great role in the church, but it's not not for everyone. There is a stricter, greater judgment. Criticism comes your way. James gives a stern warning to be careful when you teach. Speech has the ability to bless and the potential to encourage and build up. There is also the potential for false teaching.
In our context today with social media, what you say is out there forever and judgment goes on and on.
Teachers have influence in our churches. Our own Douglas J probably has traveled to more churches in our movement of churches than anyone else. And he has traveled as a teacher. Teaching opens door for us to share with people. There is a respect that is given to teachers, therefore, we have a great responsibility.
We want to create an atmosphere of admiration for one another in the teaching ministry and encourage one another to use our gifts to the utmost for God. There is no competition within this service team. We want the best for each other.
We encourage you to think about what you can do as a teacher. What you can teach? Then, get about doing that. Write a blog, teach a small group, develop a course for the church.
Some good news
- Dave Pocta – the MTAs in Africa are on a six-year cycle. They conduct two programs per year, and are just coming into their first graduates. They are working on a college credit accreditation program in South Africa. Many of the church leaders have to have some kind of formal training in Africa, so these courses help to meet that requirement.
- Ed Anton – we've put our 70th person into the full time ministry out of Commonwealth Academy. Many of them are middle-aged secular folks who decided to re-evaluate their lives and serve in a full time way.
- Joey Harris – The North River church started the Atlanta School of Ministry in conjunction with AIM. Many young leaders in their 20s are attending. Columbia South Carolina started a Columbia School of Ministry. They've had 3 sessions for their staff. They are inviting teachers from other parts of the Southeast to attend.
- Steve K – in NY we have a ministry training program for college students. It's a three-year program. The students do two courses at the Hope camp with students from the ACR. Teachers are Ed Anton, Dr. Deb Anton, Dr. Steve Kinnard, Dr. Gabe Santos ,Brett Miller, and others. If a student joins the program at beginning of their sophomore year, they can graduate the MTA the same time as they graduate college.
- Joey Harris reported for Courtney Bailey — the Damien Jean Baptiste Caribbean School of Ministry is now in the second year of classes. They have two campuses, the Eastern and the Western Caribbean. The entire ministry staff, plus many members, elders, and deacons are involved. The classes are held in Trinidad and Jamaica. Courtney is a full time lawyer with young children, and he helps out with church. Then, he directs the school of ministry, and if that's not enough, he's a PhD student in biblical studies.
Discussion on women using their gifts for God
We want to continue to explore the most effective ways women can use their gifts in the church. Also, how can we as a TST help to facilitate women using their gifts? We want to promote Biblical literacy for women and help women continue to increase their love for the Bible. We know that women need to have their voices heard. We all agree that men and women are equal in God's sight. However their roles are not interchangeable. The boundaries set by God are intended to enhance us.
The goal is to decide what we agree upon and what we will practice across all our churches.
Monday, July 4 2016 – Day 2 Teachers Service Team
We discussed possible topics to be studied in the future:
- Teachers Directory which focuses on people who are teachers, up and coming teachers, programs in existence, and developing online resources for people to use.
- How to reach the younger generation.
- The tithe, offering, and stewardship. Ed and Andy are interested in this.
- Our church as a movement. An Evaluation. Steve Staten – renaissance thinking and things we need to look at within our movement of churches, different topics that need to be addressed.
- Imputed or imparted righteousness – Ed is interested in this.
- How to reach people who are miles away from any church.
- How to discuss political matters spiritually.
- Homosexuality. Expanding Guy Hammond's work for campuses and teens.
- Marriage Divorce Remarriage Paper (MDR) presented by Valdur Koha
- We've been looking at the following categories in this paper:
- What does the Bible teach/not teach, and where are we not sure of what the Bible is teaching? We should be unified as much as possible on this and have a shared hermeneutic.
- Counseling: what advice do we give? In specific situations, there is room for differences. It is impossible to say that everybody gets the same counseling. The paper ought to help guide the counseling sessions.
- Where do we exert church discipline? Ideally we are united on this.
- Church discipline should hold from church to church.
- We've been looking at the following categories in this paper:
- Church Discipline Paper presented by Steve Staten
- Since 2003 there have been some prominent church discipline malfunctions throughout our churches. There are some recurring dynamics. Most of the problems have occurred because of carelessness. We need to realize that one bad misfire can effect a whole colony of churches and now the whole world. We are creating templates of how to handle these situations. Many people who mishandled things have commented, "I wish I had had these templates before."
- The idea of "tell it to the church" should be based on proximity and influence, namely, the person's sphere of influence. We don't want to bring members' sins before our visitors. And, we don't need to discipline our former members. If they have left our fellowship, they are no longer members. We are working on a road map for helping people to come back from being disfellowshipped.
- Three other important notes:
- Gordon Ferguson resigned from being an active member of the service team. He will be a team member emeritus.
- Steve Kinnard stepped down from chairing the group. His term was up.
- Ed Anton will be the new chair.
- Personal note from Dr. Kinnard:
I want to express my respect for all of you who serve and have served on the Teachers Service Team. It's been a joy to chair this team for the past several years. You guys are easy to work with. We laugh, have fun, and get work done.
Some of you pay your own way to get to our meetings. You take time away from your secular jobs to be on the team. All of you volunteer your time to work on the team. You use your gifts of scholarship and teaching to benefit our churches. You spend time writing and rewriting papers, and your name doesn't appear on the final copy. Your sacrifice often goes unnoticed by our larger fellowship, but I've noticed and greatly appreciate the work you are doing. More importantly, God has noticed.
I believe we've done good work in the years that I've been with you. And, I believe that we will continue to do good in the years to come.
Teachers Service Team Subcommittees:
- Teacher Development - Valdur Koha (Chair), Steve Kinnard, Joey Harris, Rolan Monje
- Congregational Teaching - Ed Anton (Chair), Fred Faller, Douglas Jacoby, Joey Harris
- Technology - Arturo Elizarraras (Chair), Joey Harris
- Accreditation/RMSMT - Glenn Giles (Chair), Steve Kinnard
- Disputable Matters and Hermeneutics - Steve Staten (Chair), Douglas Jacoby, Joey Harris, Kay McKean, Steve Kinnard
- Women's Teaching Ministry - Kay McKean (Co-Chair), Deb Anton (Co-Chair), Suzette Lewis
- International Teachers Seminar - Douglas Jacoby (Chair), Steve Kinnard
- Divorce and Remarriage, a re-examination - Valdur Koha (Chair), Steve Kinnard, Suzette Lewis, Courtney Bailey, Joey Harris
- Church Discipline - Steve Staten (Chair), Deb Anton, Glenn Giles
- Women's Role - Deb Anton, Suzette Lewis, Kay McKean, Steve Kinnard, Courtney Bailey, Joey Harris
- Teacher's Corner - Tammy Fleming
Members of the Teachers Service Team:
Ed Anton, Chair, Virginia Beach
Dr. Deb Anton, Virginia Beach
Kay McKean, Northern Virginia
Steve Brown, Buenos Aries
Steve Staten, Chicago
Dr. Douglas Jacoby, Atlanta
Joey Harris, Augusta
Andy Fleming, Moscow
Tammy Fleming, Moscow
Dr. Glenn Giles, Denver
Fred Faller, Boston
Valdur Koha, Boston
Courtney Bailey, Kingston
Arturo Elizarraras, Mexico City
Suzette Lewis, Toronto
Dr. Rolan Monje, Manila
Dave Pocta, San Antonio
Dr. Steve Kinnard, New York