Tuesday, May 15, 2012

5.10.12 Executive Minister's Update

It has been some time since I have updated everyone on the happenings in the Region and I hope you will be gracious enough to forgive the oversight. I am excited about our future as a family of churches who have committed to do mission and ministry together but know that one of the things I must do to facilitate this is to keep all of you better informed.

Staffing Changes
I trust by now most of you have heard that Mary Tellis resigned as Mission and Ministry Coach for the Denver and Northeast Area Clusters. Mary will be pursuing personal endeavors and seeking to understand what it is that God has for her to do next in her ministry. Mary has agreed to continue to work as a member of the Church Transformation Team and to be available to work with churches who might want to form another Missional Church Learning Community as the needs arise.

I know we all appreciate the personal sacrifice and service she has provided the Region over the last six years and trust that if you have not already done so you will extend to her personally you gratitude and appreciation in appropriate ways. An expression of gratitude was extended to her both by Region staff and the Region Board, but personal expressions of gratitude are always appropriate.

Ordinations and Recognitions
One of the important common ministries we have is the training and recognition of those people “called out” by God and “set apart” by the local church for Christian Ministry. An important “Baptist” belief is that ordination is always done by the local church but that it be affirmed by those beyond the local church. Part of this understanding grows out of Paul’s calling by God on the Road to Damascus and his later examination in Jerusalem. That understanding led to the formation of ordination councils by early Baptist associations and called by local churches where ordained clergy from surrounding churches would meet to “examine” the candidate prior to his (that was the understanding back then) ordination. This examination was often incomplete and focused only on the pet topics of the committee members. Today in the ABC, the examination is done in part by the Ministerial Leadership Committee where the candidates are asked to write a more extensive theological paper, defending their positions with Scripture first, and supporting this with tradition, experience and reason. The committee then recommends to the local church ordination or additional work before the will “recognize” the ordination.

The Ministerial Leadership Committee has been working with a number of candidates and churches for ordination and recognition over the last several months. To date, three candidates have been recommended to their local churches for ordination and a fourth is expected to happen very soon. The committee works on behalf of the Region churches and it is important that the churches complete the process by being at the ordination services of these candidates. “Ordination” literally means to “confer holy orders upon someone”. The holy orders we give in ordination sets that person apart to do the work of the church and to be an example and guide for the world in the name of Christ. It is helpful then for the broader church to be present at this significant ceremony in the life of both the church and the candidate for ordination.

You should soon receive, if you have not already done so, an invitation from the churches who will be ordaining these candidates. Below I will list the dates and times that I have for these services. I would like to encourage as many churches as possible to send both their pastor and one or two representatives to these ordinations. It truly is important that we support one another in simple ways like this. The candidates and their ordination dates are:
  • Ida Gice Smith -- Rising Star Missionary Baptist Church, Denver Sat, May 26th 5:00 PM
  • Monica Rikli -- FBC, Colorado Springs Sun, June 3rd 4:00 PM
  • Ashley Whitaker -- Calvary Baptist, Denver Sun, June 3rd 2:00 PM
  • Helen Schindler -- Bethel Baptist, Casper Sat, June 23rd 2:00 PM

Again, I really want to encourage as many churches as possible to be represented at these services because the churches are setting aside these folks for Christian Ministry. There is both a historic and I believe Biblical expectation that we support and encourage one another in this type of activity in particular.

Continuing Education Opportunity
For the past two years, ABCRM has provided tickets at a greatly reduced price, $75, for the Willow Creek Summit. Normally, the early registration for the GLC is $249. (ABCRM will again pay $74 of every registration made by May 15.) However, because we have had people make reservations in the past and then not attend or pay for the ticket, we have changed the way we are making registrations.

You must register by May 15, with a name and location for each person attending. You must also send payment for the tickets, $75 per person. However, you can change the name of the person attending at the door.

You may want to make a block of reservations for your church, giving the names of people you think might attend. Then, when you get commitments, you can change the names of people who will actually attend.

Last year we had about 50 leaders from our churches attend. This year we hope to have even more. If you are not familiar with the Global Leadership Summit, you can go to http://www.willowcreek.com/events/leadership/

  For a list of the speakers, go to http://www.willowcreek.com/events/leadership/speakers.asp.  This year’s lineup includes Condoleezza Rice, William Ury, Patric Lencioni, Jim Collins, John Ortberg, and many others.

Continuing Prayer Concern
Finally, some of you already know that Larry VanSpriell was to have a surgical procedure this week. We have received word from Tam that his surgery went well and that he is continuing to recuperate.

There are many other items going on that I need to update you all about. I will try to write an additional update within the next two weeks and cover some of the other things going on in the Region. The most important thing to know is that we continue to work to Empower Churches, Equip Leaders and Effect Mission to, through and on behalf of our member congregations. Thank you for being a part of this ministry and working together to be the Hands and Feet of Christ in our communities.

In Christ,
Steve Van O

Rev. Dr. Steve Van Ostran
Regional Executive Minister
ABC of the Rocky Mountains