We had a hard working group for the 7th New Shepherds Orientation Workshop. It was a beautiful drive around the Northern border of the Smokies the weekend of August 25-27. This is one of the most culturally diverse congregations I’ve visited. The Spanish and English worship together. Their website is in both English and Spanish. They have members from other nationalities as well. I asked one of the elders the different backgrounds of the members at Raleigh. He replied, “Honduras, El Salvador, Ghana, Nigeria. And there’s even a Californian…now they are something else.”
This congregation is about fifteen years old and has recently appointed new shepherds. These men, their wives, the preacher, and his wife had done their homework. They were ready to discuss ways to be more effective in the Lord’s work.
As a result of suggestions at a previous workshop in Puyallup, Washington, we had more time for small groups to interact.
The men’s and women’s groups worked separately on a real situation in a real church and made observations and suggestions of how to improve the interaction of elders and their flock.
I gave the men an issue of someone wanting to modify the elders’ plan to do mission work when a brother with money had rather build an educational annex.
The ladies discussed issues that come with being the wife of an elder. This was especially helpful to the wives of the new elders.
We concluded Sunday morning with the Bible class, Leadership is a Gift, Not a Grind. During the worship, I discussed what Paul talked about and what they did at his last elders’ meeting with the overseers of the Ephesian church. Each elder shared a “mustard seed” he had learned during the workshop.
The elders, preachers, and wives of the Raleigh church: Bill and Beth Culverhouse, Elisha and Anne Marie Freeman, Glenn and Fran Holland, Allan and Barbara Johnson, Bob and Margaret Platt, Mac and Pamela Safley, and Scott and Carol Wollens.
- What are guidelines to help us have a better discussion and workshop?
- How can elders shepherd each other?
- How will we grow together as a group?
- How will we handle criticism?
- What is a good plan to be sure we are adequately caring for all the sheep?
- How can we deal with deacons and encourage them?
- How will we develop as overseers as well as shepherds?
- How will we oversee each other?
- What can we do to keep important things from falling through the cracks?
- Will we function as deacons and be called elders?
- How can we prevent the development of a toxic “head elder”?
- What is one thing we can do to prevent conflict and promote peace?
- How will we evaluate the deacons, the ministers, and each other?
- What are some ways we can have good communication with the congregation?
- What are different kinds of meetings we should have to lead this church?
- Who should select additional leaders in this congregation?
- What is a good way to facilitate selection?
- Include all shepherds, preachers, and wives.
- Meet offsite — away from the building.
- Include twelve hours of working time.
The Usual Schedule
Dates I have available today for 2018: a weekend (Friday night, Saturday, Sunday morning) in April, May, September, October, November.
What questions or observations do you have about the New Shepherds Orientation Workshop?
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