Inside United: Realtime

Exciting News & Updates from UCGIA

Video Reports from Council of Elders Meetings

March 3, 2011

Video reports from the Monday, Februrary 28 through Thursday, March 3, 2011, meetings of the Council of Elders are now available online for you to view at Videos from Thursday’s meetings will probably be posted on Friday. What is currently now available includes:


  • President’s Report — Dennis Luker
  • Ministerial and Member Services Report — Victor Kukik
  • Media and Communications Services Report — Peter Eddington
  • Financial Services Report — Aaron Dean
  • Council Committee Reports — Various Committee Chairmen


  • Our Critical Essence (Branding Presentation) — Brian Shaw
  • Beyond Today Magazine Proposal — Darris McNeely


  • Planning the 2011 GCE Meeting Agenda — Peter Eddington
  • GCE Balloting and Webcasting Discussion — Melvin Rhodes

Peter Eddington—Operation Manager, Media and Communications Services

March 3, 2011 - Posted by | Council of Elders, Financial Services, General Conference of Elders, Media and Communications, Ministerial Services, President's Office | ,


  1. Hi,

    I have suggested this before, but please
    give Mr. Bob Dick a shot at presenter
    for the BT Program.


    Comment by Frank Fisher | March 3, 2011 | Reply

  2. Hi,

    Also, I can not access these videos.
    When I go to the link and click on
    the particular date for a meeting,
    nothing happens!


    Comment by Frank Fisher | March 3, 2011 | Reply

  3. Branding? I just wonder how the early church leaders, Paul, Peter and others would have responded to the topic of branding? That term just makes my skin crawl.

    Comment by Michelle | March 3, 2011 | Reply

    • Michelle, you should listen to the presentation and then make your judgment. It’s most likely not what you are initially thinking.

      Comment by United Church of God | March 4, 2011 | Reply

      • OK, I’ll listen. Good advice!

        Comment by Michelle | March 4, 2011 | Reply

    • Hi Michelle,

      Perhaps “branding” feels like an effort to craft some kind of fake or whitewashed image for the Church? If that’s true, then it’s good that it makes your skin crawl-it should!

      Actually, I’ve been excited about this effort since we first started discussing it a few years ago, because that’s exactly the kind of the pitfall I feel this initiative will help us prevent.

      Over the years I’ve sometimes heard members say things like “we should market the Church this way”, or “we’d be more appealing if we emphasized this to the public”, or “this is hot right now, we should try to be like this”. I’ve probably done it myself. It’s amazing how easy it is for any of us to fall into that trap.

      “Brand engagement”, in a nutshell, is about staying true to our principles. It’s about us all coming to a clear mutual understanding of who we really are and what we are (or should be) about.

      If we do this, our media efforts then become very straightforward. We no longer worry about how we want to present ourselves, but instead it’s just a matter of making sure that we always actually *be* ourselves. If a media effort contain gimmicks or don’t stay true to who we are, it’s easier to see it and throw it out. Just as we publish our fundamental beliefs to ensure we aren’t blown about by every wind of doctrine, this effort helps us to ensure we don’t get caught up in following passing trends in the way we express our beliefs. We need to ensure we don’t succumb to either doctrinal drift or “tonal” drift.

      A nice thing about going through an organized process like this is that it really forces us to think about each and every aspect of the way we present ourselves. We may have our doctrines technically right, but do we shade, emphasize, or convey attitudes about a topic based on the Bible… or because of our own opinions, culture, or upbringing? When we approach it piecemeal, it’s easy to unwittingly allow too much of ourselves into what we do. I think a process like this helps us make sure the tone and attitude we project stays in tune with what we observe from God’s Word.

      I hope everyone gets a chance to view this presentation, especially if they’ve had concerns about this initiative.

      Comment by Clint Porter | March 4, 2011 | Reply

      • Thanks Clint for that wonderfully clear explanation. It helped.

        Comment by Michelle | March 4, 2011 | Reply

  4. Be STRONG and of good COURAGE our Father’s FAITHFULNESS will NEVER leave us as we remain HUMBLE and His RIGHTEOUSNESS within us will be our BANNER, a LIVING HOPE for all nations of the earth.

    Comment by dwight s stewart | March 4, 2011 | Reply

  5. Have listened to much of the video concerning the proposed BEYOND TODAY magazine and thought I might share an idea with you. How does this sound? “BEYOND TODAY – A BANNER FOR ALL NATIONS” – The prophet Isaiah through the Holy Spirit would write, saying, “And in that day there shall be a Root of Jesse, who shall stand as a “BANNER” to the people, for the Gentiles shall seek Him, and His resting place shall be glorious………He will set up a “BANNER” for the nations, and will assemble the outcasts of Israel, and gather together the dispersed of Judah (Isaiah 11:10-12).”

    And in another place, he would say, speaking of a time which is now near at hand to come, “Then Assyria shall fall by a sword NOT of man, and a sword NOT of mankind shall devour him, BUT he shall flee from the sword, and his young men shall become forced labor, he shall cross over to his stronghold for fear, and his princes shall be afraid of the “BANNER”, says the LORD, whose FIRE is in Zion and whose FURNACE is in Jerusalem (Isaiah 31:8-9).”

    We all KNOW that we MUST put EMPHASIS on the COMING TRIALS which will come upon the whole world as Satan will SOON attempt to make the world like a wilderness and destroy its cities as he has not opened, and will not open, the house of his prisoners, and we KNOW he will be very successful at doing this and we KNOW that we MUST put EMPHASIS on the coming KINGDOM OF GOD as JESUS CHRIST is the “BANNER” who will SOON rule all nations and all nations will seek Him in Jerusalem together with His glorified saints.

    The BEYOND TODAY magazine would have a two-fold purpose – 1) the magazine itself being a “BANNER”, lifted high, for all nations, preparing the way, as Isaiah says, “Go through, go through the gates! Prepare the way for the people. Build up, build up the highway! Take out the stones, lift up a “BANNER” for the peoples! (Isaiah 62:10).” and 2) Jesus Christ Himself being the “BANNER” through whom we MUST proclaim by the testimony of His Spirit within us of His great power, might and strength through which He will SOON rule in the Kingdom which His and our Father is about to deliver unto Him and His saints. He is indeed that “BANNER” to which all nations will seek to in Jerusalem – even in the appointed time of His and our glory, His saints.

    I AM EXCITED ABOUT THIS PROPOSED MAGAZINE – OUR FATHER AND HIS HOLY ONE WILL BLESS OUR EFFORTS IN THIS. The aforementioned is my thoughts and inputs which could be built upon. I pray that you will consider what I have written. Your brother in Christ.

    Comment by dwight s stewart | March 6, 2011 | Reply

  6. There’s some good points in this graphic of the Critical Essence Pyramid that help clarify what the church is about, though I think a few ministers brainstorming for an hour could have come up with much the same thing, as opposed to how long the external consultants did. I really liked the points about the church’s features, persona (especially good) and benefits.

    The positioning they mentioned should be unique and I don’t think God’s guidance for life’s challenges fits the bill as many mainstream churches could say much the same thing. I think our motto – Preach the gospel (of the Kingdom of God), Prepare a people (for the Kingdom of God) shows better how we differ and have that special something mainstream churches don’t.

    As to the Critical Essence it would be improved greatly by another adjective – Godly Meaningful Relationships. We’re not a friendly social club but the people of God and so God should be in our focus.

    If we are to stand out from mainstream christian churches to the average person in the street our telecasts and articles should more frequently cover those things where we differ from them – in doctrine (explain the destiny of mankind more), in christian living (keeping ALL the commandments including the sabbath, Holy Days and other things) and prophecy. That’s what made the WCG stand out and made me take notice and I would hazard a guess that would be the same for most 1st generation members in UCG today.

    Comment by Roger Waite | March 18, 2011 | Reply

    • Hi Roger!

      You raise some good points about the presentation and essence statement. Hopefully I can add some clarity regarding how this fits together.

      Critical essence is not the same as positioning in the market. It is related because it helps you to clarify your position, but it’s not the same thing. Critical essence is an internal process to help keep us all on the same page. Things like mottos and market positioning can then flow out of a critical essence.

      Here’s an example: If you don’t have a defined critical essence, you can slide into another line of thought, perhaps like “growing the Church”. Some folks judge the success of all media efforts by whether they grow the membership of the Church or not. Is that wrong? No, but it isn’t quite 100% right either, is it? Our ultimate goal is to assist in bringing people to a meaningful relationship with God, which includes warning the world and making true disciples. If we’re focused solely on growing the UCG organization, we might automatically rule out some effective ways to impart the true Gospel simply because they don’t materially benefit UCG in the short-term. These may seem like suble shades of difference sometimes, but I think they can tangibly affect the way we make decisions.

      I would agree that Preaching the Gospel, Preparing a People is a better motto for explaining what we do. That’s because it’s designed to be a motto, while the critical essence is not. Mottos are tweaked or changed to ensure they are outflows of the critical essence, but in this case I’d say it already is. It sums up our commission nicely, and unless we identify something insufficient with our motto at some point in the future, I don’t see how we would improve on it.

      Back to the critical essence, I think it’s important to understand that we’re bundling a whole lot of meaning into the word “meaningful”. Sure, many churches focus on relationships with God and with others. As humans we want to feel like we have a relationship with God, but too often we want to do it on our own terms and not God’s terms. So much of our message is focused on helping people understand that God’s terms are the only terms for a true relationship with Him. If we aren’t doing it His way (and everyone needs to understand what that way truly is!), then it is not a meaningful relationship.

      Is a stranger going to understand what we mean by “meaningful”? No, but that’s okay because they don’t have to. In fact, they may never encounter the phrase “meaningful relationships” in any of our media. As long as we understand what it means, all others need to do is see it in action.

      You mentioned several important elements of our media, including God’s plan/the destiny of mankind, and the need to keep God’s commandments. I think meaningful relationships is a useful tool to remind us of what God’s law and plan is ultimately all about, and remind us to use His plan as a framework for introducing the Bible’s doctrines to people. God is bringing many sons to glory and growing His family. That’s the plan. We don’t keep God’s law just for fun or because we like to be exclusive (though you can find some groups that do). We keep God’s law because He said so, and we love His law because it is a teacher that directs us to His very nature.

      We’ve often compared the Bible to a giant jigsaw puzzle, in which it’s difficult to see the whole picture until all the pieces are in place. I think “meaningful relationships” helps remind us to use the right framework (God’s plan for mankind) as we introduce people to each of the pieces.

      I hope this helps! I should probably add that my views do not necessarily represent anyone else; I’m just the video editor. 🙂

      Comment by Clint Porter | March 18, 2011 | Reply

  7. Although I can appreciate the enthusiasm of the younger guys who would like to see the Beyond Today magazine (not in favor of changing the title either) for sale on the racks at Target, Walmart, BN, etc. I think the scripture in Proverbs 23:23 needs to be quoted, Buy truth, and do not sell it. We should never “sell” the truth of God in order to “draw” in new people. Only God does the calling and maybe we have forgotten that.

    Comment by Member in TN | March 30, 2011 | Reply

  8. After reading the great enthusiasm from members desiring traveling elders to stay in homes, as was once the practice, it was interesting to note there were some reservations about cleanliness and privacy.

    I offer a counterpoint to that concern and something for the traveling ministry to consider. In one word, BEDBUGS. We have heard about the growing infestations od these blood-sucking pests in hotels/motels in the U.S. Just yesterday in the news, the University of Illinois at Champaign-Urbana announced it had found and supposedly eradicated a bedbug infestation in one of its dorms.

    So far, the bedbugs haven’t become a problem in homes. Another reason to opt for staying in members’ homes when feasible!

    Comment by Michelle | April 1, 2011 | Reply

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