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Monday General Conference of Elders Report

May 16, 2011

GCE Report: Monday

Melvin Rhodes, GCE chairman, began the Monday, May 16, General Conference of Elders meeting with additional information about ballot results from May 15. This was followed by two plenary sessions before the ministry and wives chose from various workshops and breakouts.

The first presentation was by Victor Kubik, operation manager for Ministerial and Member Services. He titled it: “Biblical Eldership: The Foundation of Church Leadership.”

Mr. Kubik explained that the apostle Peter exhorts elders to be shepherds to the flock (1 Peter 5:2). If we want to understand the work of an elder, we must understand the biblical imagery of shepherding. As keepers of sheep, biblical elders are to 1) protect, 2) feed, 3) lead, and 4) help meet the flock’s many practical needs.

Using these pastoral categories, he considered the examples, exhortations and teachings of the Bible about serving as Christ serves—elders who are shepherds.

Tom Disher

Next, Aaron Booth and Tom Disher, Internet editors at the home office, gave a very visual presentation about the launch of UCG’s new website. It was titled: “Launch of UCG’s New Web and How You Can Promote the Gospel.”

It was an active, exciting presentation highlighting the launch of the new United Church of God website at www.ucg.org. The site was explained and shown on stage. It is a vital tool in our effort to preach the gospel of the Kingdom of God online.

Our new website is a totally new experience for our users. The site is organized by topic and subject, and will be customizable by the viewer depending on his or her preferences. Also, it has social networking options and features.

How can the ministry and church membership get involved in this personal aspect of preaching the good news of God’s Kingdom? We saw firsthand United’s latest, technology-driven arm of doing the Work.

Workshops and Breakout Sessions

After a short break, workshops were held throughout the rest of the day, followed by an important wrap up by the chairman. Here is a summary of the day’s workshops and breakout sessions.

  • “Serving as Christ Serves—A Perspective for Women” with LeeAnn Luker

This was an important workshop for our ladies with an in-depth discussion. How do we incorporate the theme of this year’s conference as we support our husbands in their ministry and service for the brethren?

  • “How to Officiate at Church Ceremonies” by Gary Antion

This workshop took the time to address the practical application of our various Church ceremonies. It provided instruction to those interested, and to those who desired the additional training, on how to give baptismal counseling, how to perform a funeral, how to perform a wedding, and how to anoint the sick.

  • “Biblical Eldership: Hands-on, Practical Application” by Victor Kubik

As keepers of Christ’s sheep, input was given in this workshop on how we can apply the principles of shepherding to 1) protect, 2) feed, 3) lead, and 4) help meet the flock’s many practical needs.

  • “Opportunities and Challenges  for Non-career and Bi-vocational Elders” presented by Greg Thomas and Roc Corbett

Attendees heard practical advice and gave their feedback on how to best manage the dual roles of ministry and career in their responsibilities as a non-salaried elder or a part-time UCG pastor.

Tom Disher

  • “Using the Web and Social Networking to Promote the Gospel” by Aaron Booth and Tom Disher

Hear is what was covered: How can Twitter, Facebook and other social networking tools be used to advance the gospel message? How can the membership get involved in this personal aspect of preaching the good news of God’s Kingdom? How can our own website be leveraged by the brethren to do this? This was an important workshop with practical help for pastors to take back to their congregations.

  • “Your Personal Computer, Microsoft Office 2010 and the UCG Ministerial Web Site” by Richard Kennebeck and Paul Wasilkoff

The I.T. staff at the home office showed how to leverage the most from your personal computer and use it as a tool to serve your pastoral needs and the members of your congregation. They learned about the new Microsoft Office 2010. They were shown how to use the online ministerial tools in the ministerial section of our website to make the most of their day. They received tips on how to be more productive while on the Internet.

  • “Generational Dynamics” by Craig Clark and Jon Garnant

Here is a summary of what was covered. We are all, to some extent, products of the times in which we live. As there are differences in the way we think, act and understand things based on our gender, ethnicity, and heritage, there are also differences based on what generation we belong to. For the past 60 years there has been a tremendous focus on the Baby Boomers. Beginning in 2011 the first “Boomers” have turned 65 and, once again, this has received a lot of focus. However, there are currently five distinct generations attending services with us each week. Attendees at this seminar received important, practical advice on working with other generations that God is calling.

The Path Forward

Dennis Luker, president

After the breakout sessions, the ministry and their wives reconvened in the main ballroom to hear from Dennis Luker, UCGIA president, for an important reminder. He asked everyone to turn to Romans 16 and thanked all of the women present for being valuable servants of Jesus Christ for many years. The ladies received a standing ovation from the men.

Melvin Rhodes, UCGIA chairman, then concluded with his thoughts on, “What We Accomplished at the GCE, 2011.” He said that we as a Church have an opportunity to show the love of God in all that we do. We always have much to learn in this regard. May we move forward in unity, with a spirit of Christ-like service. May we serve as Christ serves.

Finally, to close this year’s general conference, Dan Salcedo, an elder from Southern California, led everyone in a closing hymn: “Thank You Lord.” The closing prayer was offered to God the Father by long-time pastor, Vernon Hargrove.

Peter Eddington—Media and Communications Services

May 16, 2011 - Posted by | Council of Elders, General Conference of Elders | , ,

12 Comments »

  1. It all sounds SO completely thorough and inspirational, which shows Christ was the Director, and all the Elders were in humble submission to HIM. We have so much to be thankful for. Truly, our prayers were answered.

    Comment by Barbara | May 16, 2011 | Reply

  2. Do not send these e mail anymore. Thank you

    Comment by Stella Thomas | May 16, 2011 | Reply

    • There is a section at the bottom of the page to ‘Unsubscribe’ from getting the posts.

      Comment by Marcia | May 16, 2011 | Reply

  3. The summaries of the GCE contain valuable information for us lay members to extract and put to use in support of the ministry and fellow members. There is much for us to do with our gifts and talents for edification of the whole body. We need to support you with our prayers and works. Thank you all for giving so much to the rest of us. Charlie

    Comment by Charlie | May 16, 2011 | Reply

  4. ENDLESS THANKS!!! KEEP UP THE EXCELLENT WORK. GOD’S ALWAYS WITH YOU ALL. TAKE CARE ALWAYS.

    Comment by Virgie Pusateri | May 16, 2011 | Reply

  5. Thanks for your informations.
    I don’t know, whether it was talked about how to guide a service on Sabbaths. As I can see from the German congregations (I wrote about that “problem” some weeks ago)on the whole services are held like beeing in the 1960’s.
    We should think about the “newcomers” and after all about the young people. We should be open for them – for me that means the services can’t be so strict.
    As I can see from the Munich congregation we are a “dying” congregation, the average age is about 50 or more.
    For me services can’t ignore that people all over the world and especially kids, teens and youg adults have a special background. What ist good for the African People, or the American People, might not be good for European members.
    What I want to say:
    * The spritual way must be the same all over the world, whole United Church.
    * Services should be altered according to the background of the members of the congregations, after all of the younger members and kids and teens.

    Manfred Meier, Austria

    Comment by Manfred Meier | May 16, 2011 | Reply

    • I agree totally with you, Manfred!

      Comment by Basil Kopey | May 18, 2011 | Reply

  6. It certainly was a wonderfully beneficial GCE, with a loving family spirit of God, as brother and sisters, working together in harmony to do the Great Commission.

    The acceleration felt in our Special GCE in late January is flowing into strong momentum to do the Work of God.

    Thank you to all who delivered messages at our GCE and for the loving “unity of the spirit in the bond of peace” genuinely expressed by all who attended.

    Comment by Ken Murray | May 17, 2011 | Reply

  7. I sat in on Monday’s sessions of the GCE. The presentation given by Mr. Kubik was very passionate and showed the need for the elders of God’s flock to shepherd and protect the people of God. The presentations given by Aaron Booth and Tom Disher about the new UCG website were very informative and showed how to navigate the website as well as ways to promote the Gospel by writing blogs and using tags on various words within a blog.
    Reggie Warren

    Comment by Reggie Warren | May 17, 2011 | Reply

  8. The topics seem to be just what are needed. I am encouraged by the direction the church is going. When can the GCE presentations be viewed by the general membership? So far I don’t see them posted. Thanks!

    Comment by Ailsa | May 23, 2011 | Reply

  9. Were the Council of Elders Meetings in May videotaped like last time and if so, when will they be shown on the website? Did they have minutes for the May 19th session? I haven’t seen those either. Thanks!

    Comment by Member in TN | June 9, 2011 | Reply

    • No, we’re sorry, but the May Council of Elders meetings were not videotaped. And, there was no May 19 meeting. However, reports were filed the following week for May 17 and 18 and you can read them at http://coe.ucg.org .

      Comment by United Church of God | June 9, 2011 | Reply


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