The Executive Board met in Fairmont on April 22 and 23. The meeting began at 3:00 PM on Friday with an hour long worship service lead by Larry Dentler. Larry focused on Hebrews 10:32-39, speaking about the perilous times faced by the early church, and by the church today. He reminded everyone that our labor in the Lord’s service is not in vain.
After the worship service, the Board met in executive session to discuss nominations for the ballot that will be presented to the delegates of Annual Meeting. Personnel matters and budgeting issues were also discussed during the Friday evening executive session.
Saturday’s meeting began with an important devotional reminder by Stafford Fredrick that the church belongs to Jesus Christ. We sometimes use the phrase “our church” but it isn’t, it belongs to Christ. He alone died for the Church.
The Annual Meeting and Worship Conference plans were reviewed. Registrations are already coming in. There is a lot of excitement about the conference. The Executive Board is planning for some pre-conference sessions. One will be an information session especially for churches seeking to become part of the CBC. Another session will consider a Christian response to some of the current trends and challenges in our society. The Board recognizes that this is a broad topic. Therefore, it must be refined and more narrowly focused. Please pray with the Board as this session is being developed. Watch for additional information on the pre-conference sessions. The conference itself will consider the activities of the CBC over the past year and the current business of the denomination. The conference will be filled with worship and will focus on God calling us into a closer fellowship with Him.
Another exciting aspect of the Annual Meeting will be the Annual Youth Conference which will take place in conjunction with the Annual Meeting. The youth are able to attend free of charge. They will have their own worship service and elect their own youth officers. There will be opportunities to plan for the future and to enjoy fellowship, including some swim time in the Fairmont State University pool in the afternoon. Be sure to bring your swim suit!
The Board recognizes the need to expand the work our Publication Committee. It was decided that one person from each region should be identified who will “mine” for information about activities in the regional churches which can be forwarded to the Publication Committee for inclusion in a denominational publication. That individual would also prepare a brief article each month to introduce one of the regional churches to the denomination.
A CBC Minister’s Manual is in preparation. It is designed to provide our ministers with a guide for weddings, funerals, Love Feast, baptisms, dedications and other important services. Hopefully, it may be ready late this summer.
A Pastoral Profile form was presented and reviewed, and a Church Profile form is in the process of being developed. As the denomination grows, additional forms will be needed to specify various job responsibilities and to evaluate future pastoral and congregational needs.
The budget, expenses, and current giving were reviewed. It was noted that so much of the work of the denomination is being done through volunteerism, and that was seen as a huge positive. That has made it possible for the denomination to continue to move forward. The Board recognizes that additional staff will eventually need to be hired. That will require additional income, but to date the funds that have been received have allowed for amazing growth. One position which is becoming an obvious necessity is for an administrative director who can handle the growing administrative demands of the denomination. Please pray with the Board that God will raise up the right individual and supply the finances which will be needed. We were proud of the fact that the denomination has chosen to tithe 10% of all income to be used for missions. To our knowledge, no other denomination follows this model.
Next, we discussed the need for church planting. It was decided to form a new sub-committee this fall that will strictly focus on church planting and revitalization. We understand this is not just about churches moving from the Church of the Brethren to the Covenant Brethren Church. This is about evangelism and reaching lost people for Christ.
A report of our mission activity was given. It is amazing that such a young denomination has so much mission work going on. Bibles have been sent to various places, food has been distributed, cook stoves have been built, and a church building in Africa has been built. We have supported a training program for young girls in Togo which provides Bible education and practical skills, enabling them to make food and other items for sale. We have also responded to the disaster in the Ukraine by partnering with Samaritans Purse. We discussed future projects including helping to send children in the Democratic Republic of Congo to school. Currently there are 37 children who cannot attend school due to a lack of funds. The cost per year is $110.00 per student. We are seeking a six-year commitment from sponsors. Sponsors could be regions, churches, a Sunday School or other class, or individuals. If sponsors choose to do so they can enter into another six-year commitment to assist with that child’s secondary education at $110.00 per year per student. Sponsors will receive the name, grade, and age of the sponsored child and, if possible, a picture. The list of mission activities and possibilities goes on and on, and all that this young denomination is doing is truly amazing.
We reviewed our CBC items that will be for sale at Annual meeting. They will include CBC T-shirts, hats, license plates, mugs, and polo shirts.
Scott Kinnick is being sent to visit with interested churches and church leaders in Rwanda, and to meet with CBC leaders from the Democratic Republic of Congo. He goes there to solidify our connection with the growing number of CBC churches in Africa. There are a number of new CBC churches there, as well as the possibility for new church plants.
The Board considered the calling of ministers. We discussed possible ways to encourage both youth and adults to consider ministry as a full or part time carrier path. We acknowledged we are not meeting the need in calling people to ministry. If we are going to keep staffing existing churches and planting new churches we have to do a better job of encouraging the people of the CBC to consider the ministry as an important vocational call.
The Executive Board continues to work very hard to develop the ministries and services that local churches need, and to offer the guidance needed as well. It is a mountain of work that these individuals are giving their time to care for. They need your prayers and encouragement as the Covenant Brethren Church Denomination moves forward.
Craig Howard – CBC Publications Committee