New Shepherds Orientation Workshop # 23, Cruciform Church of Christ, Fayetteville, North Carolina

January 20–22 was the 23rd New Shepherds Orientation Workshop in Fayetteville, North Carolina.

We met in the home of Joey and Claire Watson, one of the shepherd families. We had breakfast and lunch there, and some of us went for a 5:30 meal at local restaurants.

Interesting Observations about the Cruciform Leadership Team

  1. Focus and unity of purpose. Before I arrive for a workshop, I send questions to the elders and questions to their wives. I want to learn about their culture, rules, and how they function. I usually get a variety of answers. From this group, I received similar answers. It seemed this was something they’d thought about and planned months before I arrived. They had a clear understanding of the work of shepherds and spouses. 
  2. Elders meetings. I had never heard of this. At each regular meeting of the elders, the elders and their wives assemble at the home of one of the elders, have a meal together, and the wives remain. 
  3. Elder-wife teams. Much of the visitation is carried out — not by elder visitation — but by elder-wife visitation. The congregation is distributed with a fourth given to each elder. Although any elder (and wife) can visit and minister to any congregation member, the focus is on the ones in their group. At least twice during the workshop, a family had a need, and that elder and his wife went to assist them and returned in time to continue the workshop. 
  4. Confidentiality. Each person had thought about and taken seriously the rule of “what we say here stays here.” Since shepherds and wives visit together, including having families in their homes for meals, there aren’t many “family secrets” to keep from the wives. They usually hear what’s happening in the lives of members at the same time. 
  5. Excellent preparation. I observed that each person had read the books, including the workshop manual, thought about the material, and prepared to discuss, agree, question, and disagree as we moved through the different modules.
  6. Interested in growth. Before I left the building on Sunday, the elders had already scheduled a meeting to decide on what principles we discussed in the workshop they would begin implementing. They were interested in improving.

The Cruciform church is culturally diverse and like the community in many ways. Their worship was uplifting. The meal after worship was abundant and delicious.

Gail and I have noticed that fussing churches often run out of food on potluck day. Cruciform had plenty left over.

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Jerrie Barber
Servant of Jesus, husband to Gail, father to Jerrie Wayne Barber, II and Christi Parsons, grandfather, great-grandfather, Interim Preacher, Shepherd coach, Ventriloquist, barefoot runner, ride a cruiser bicycle

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