The Executive Board of the Covenant Brethren Church has been hard at work taking care of the administrative tasks necessary in any large organized group. They meet every month, most of the time via Zoom. Twice each year members of the Executive Board come to the office in Fairmont to meet in person. April 22nd was just such an in-person meeting. It also included the chairpersons of the various committees serving the denomination. What a large body of work they had to attend to!
Roy McVey opened the meeting with devotions, then offered a report on the 2023 Annual Meeting and Worship Conference in Fairmont. There are still plans to finalize, and people are still registering. Things are coming together very well. Roy explained the cost of the conference to the board. The registration fee is $75 for all adults. This will allow the youth to attend their conference without charge. Please encourage the youth of your church to register. Youth will attend the general worship services with the adults, but they will have their own conference sessions and activities geared specifically for them The Executive Board agreed that the registration structure and the conference programming were very reasonable.
There will be a number of CBC promotional items available for purchase at the meeting. Many exhibitors will also be present at the conference and will provide a lot of information as well as more opportunities for ministry to the conference attendees.
Members of the Executive Board and the Annual Conference and Worship Planning Committee will travel to Johnson City, TN to explore sites for future Annual Meetings at local colleges. Several colleges in the area may fit the bill.
The Prayer Committee reported on their activities. They suggested prayer for new churches that are added, mission trips, disasters occurring in the world, our churches in Africa, the leaders of the CBC, both national and regional, as well as camping programs. It was suggested that prayer requests could be sent out on a national level.
The Publications Committee reported on the national newsletter and asked about more people to write articles. We also talked about finishing the Ministers Manuel. It should be out within 2 months.
The Fellowship Committee reported on the plans in development for adult and youth fellowship. Committee members discussed the National Youth Meeting, the National Youth online Bible study available on Zoom, the national trip to Operation Christmas Child processing center, the youth mission trip to Guatemala, and a National Youth Disaster Trip. They were excited about all of the opportunities.
The Ministerial Leadership Committee talked about setting the number of Continuing Education Units needed for the renewal of ministerial credentials and how those can be attained. It is coming close to the time to do ministerial reviews, so nailing the CEU process down is essential. The MLC decided that three CEUs in five years would be required to maintain ordination. The regional Ministerial Leadership Teams will be responsible for administering this process. This will mean that every minister must have three CEUs by 2025 when ordination cards will be reissued. The MLC is going to try to make a multitude of ways available to earn those CEU’s through both personal study and group events. Committee members are also excited about the leadership God is bringing to CBC. It is important to make sure that as new ministers apply, proper due diligence is taken in reviewing that person. The process is being streamlined for background checks and steps are taken to insure privacy.
The development of a Deacon’s Manuel was discussed. A committee was appointed to develop the outline for such a manual. It will include the requirements to be a deacon plus ministry aids, duties and rolls for deacons.
There was some discussion about the process to be put in place for church planting. An application for the process of church planting was reviewed and there was some discussion on the process. This is just to underscore the commitment of the CBC to grow through evangelism and disciple-making.
A report was received from each region on what is being done in their region. It was exciting to see what God is doing around the country on the regional level. God is at work throughout the Covenant Brethren Church. Activities include regional humanitarian relief programs, development of pulpit supply lists, ministerial fellowship meetings, regular regional board meetings, and regional pulpit exchange programs just to name a few. The Executive Board discussed how it can help regions develop.
The Stewardship Committee offered its report. The 2023-2024 denominational budget was reviewed and some adjustments were made. A general stewardship letter designed to keep churches informed about the financial matters of the denomination was also discussed. The Stewardship Committee will work to develop a new stewardship letter to be sent to all CBC churches.
The CBC’s information technology situation was reviewed. Matt Bernard has been taking care of the CBC’s web development, and technical issues. He has volunteered countless hours in doing that. It was decided that as those responsibilities continue to grow it would be unfair to continue to ask Matt to fulfill them as a volunteer. The decision was made to put him on staff on a part-time basis.
The Missions Committee shared the excitement about the amount of work that is being done in missions by various churches. There is a large amount of money being directed into missions. Remember that 10% of every dollar that comes into the Covenant Brethren Church denomination is channeled to missions. Recommendations were made to give money to support the Greatest Journey program. This is the discipleship part of Operation Christmas Child. It is a twelve-week follow up program with children who receive a shoebox. It is a seriously underfunded program. Currently, only about 40% of the children who receive a shoebox have the opportunity to do the Greatest Journey. Money was also approved for two new church plants in Tanzania, Africa. The money that has been set aside for missions is being prayerfully spent in missions and not allowed just to pile up. A greater effort will be made to put a bi-annual missions report into the denominational newsletter on the ministries CBC is undertaking.
An update was presented on the Ministerial Training Program including how the online teaching program and the website have been developed thus far. The program was seen as very user friendly. The committee is looking forward to bringing it entirely online within the coming year. The Ministerial Training Program will be coordinated by the regional Ministry Leadership Teams. The course is being piloted in the Southern Region. These modules can be taken as a group on Zoom or as in-person groups in a local region.
Our international churches were discussed. Reports were given about the ongoing work in Mexico, Guatemala, the Democratic Republic of Congo, and Rwanda. Water tanks are being installed in Guatemala. Documents are being prepared which are needed by local congregations and pastors to provide legitimacy to the government in their local country. Money is being sent to the Democratic Republic of Congo to supply food to people in our churches who are desperately in need of it. New churches are being started in Rwanda, and training is being developed for their pastors. This will take time but it is the most requested thing by our international churches.
A lot of work is being done for the Covenant Brethren church by these board members, and they deserve our appreciation. Please continue to hold them up in prayer as they steer this ship called the Covenant Brethren Church.
Submitted by Craig Howard – Publications Committee