A Few Thoughts on the Council of Elders Meeting, Spring 2014

It’s Saturday night, and life has finally calmed down a little, if only for a moment! The Sabbath today in Charlotte was wonderful. We had an excellent sermon by Mr. Rob Tyler and a convicting sermon by Mr. Gerald Weston. And after catching up with many folks afterwards, my Beautiful Wife and I had the chance to have dinner with Mr. & Mrs. Oswald from Missouri—wonderful folks and living proof that people can survive my pastoring if exposed to it for no more than four years. (Watch out Ohio: You’re passing the four-year mark!)

I thought I would make some brief comments about the Council of Elders meetings we had Thursday and Friday, now that I have a chance. And it may seem odd, but the comment I want to make is related to the tweet I sent out just as we were getting started on Thursday:

I know it sounds like a line from a beer commercial, but it’s true: I do love these guys.

There really is a sense of camaraderie in the room—like you’re all on the same team and you’ve come together to get something done. It’s an interesting variety of folks with different backgrounds, coming from different countries and different pasts, but all with the same love for God’s truth, God’s people, God’s plan, and God’s work. Right before I tweeted that comment, I had been seeing people come into the room and greeting friends and brothers, many of whom they had not seen since the last meeting. There are handshakes and embraces, jokes and expressions of fondness and concern. I realized that the men I was looking at—in their own ways and their own individual circumstances and histories—had given up a great deal for God’s people and His Work, and were happy to do it. Part of the reason there was a Church for God to bring me into back when I began in the 1980s was due to the dedication and willingness to serve that dwelled in these gentlemen and their wives. And, as goofy as it sounds, I realized as we all settled down and were getting started that I do love these guys.

The meetings, themselves, went very well. We all bring different opinions and different points of view, and Mr. Meredith seeks out everyone’s thoughts very actively. (I can’t imagine being that involved, active, and productive when I am 84. I hope I can be, though I would suspect that my past relationship with Dr Pepper and generous amounts of Mac and Cheese over the years might imply otherwise.) He’s clearly in charge, and yet the environment he creates in running the meetings makes it very easy to share your opinion, whether it agrees with whats been said so far or not. The variety in the room means that Mr. Meredith is advised from an assortment of points of view and insights, and the unity in the room means that he has the freedom to lead and decide as he needs to. It’s like a good family ought to work, and it is a joy to be a part of it.

I’ve said it before, but let me wrap up with it.

Before being on the Council in this rotational spot, I had prayed for the Church and that it would be run biblically, soundly, faithfully, and in love. I don’t expect everyone to be perfect, which both biblical history and common sense say would be foolish, but I do want leaders who are passionate for God’s Word and God’s people and are led by His Spirit. That’s what I’ve asked for in my prayers—and I’m sure those of you in my area have asked God for, as well.

That was before being on the Council. And it is so encouraging now that I am on the Council to see that what I have prayed would be the case actually is the case.

So, like I said: Just a few thoughts! 🙂

Off to bed for some shut-eye! Everyone starts arriving tomorrow for the Ministerial Conference that begins Monday, and we have the wonderful task of making an airport run to pick some folks up. Most of the ministry is not even in yet, and services today were a record size in Charlotte (can’t recall the figure: somewhere around 350-360 people, I think).

Looking forward to the week ahead!

7 thoughts on “A Few Thoughts on the Council of Elders Meeting, Spring 2014

  1. Thomas

    Many thanks for the uplifting report of the Council of Elders meeting. Grateful to God for the men that He has assembled to lead the Work as well as the quality of the men and women He has assembled to support them. It shows in the quality of the Tomorrow’s World programme and magazine and in the depth and passion that is brought to the articles in the Living Church News where we are exhorted to go all out for the Work. The fruits speak volumes and I am excited at the thought of how God will use the Living Church of God in the years ahead. May the fire of His Spirit that He has placed in each of us burn brightly and be unquenched!

    If you’ll permit me to address our brothers and sisters who read this blog: Remember to forgive one another and that includes your minister. Us lay people have been called to support and encourage our local minister. The guy in the leaders seat needs our forbearance, prayers and support probably more than just about any other member of the congregation. It makes it easier for him to have our backs if he knows that we have his. Teamwork! I’ve seen it work 🙂 God is just itching to bless us.

    (and thank you Mr. Smith for your indulgence re. that last paragraph.)

  2. I second Thomas’ motion. We do hear a great deal about teamwork from the Church but teamwork is a combination of cooperation between peers, support from below and direction from above. In my opinion and experience support from below is the least understood of the three principles among us brethren. Ours is a two-edged sword of an error: on the one hand we often don’t appreciate our own spiritual gifts, and on the other we often don’t know how to use those gifts appropriately in support of those whom God has placed over us. But the quality of what we do as a church in our outreach greatly encourages me; it shows that we’re unlearning this double bind and in leaps and bounds. 🙂

  3. Moses Asingya

    I am so thankful for this Noble Meeting. I only pray for God’s guidance and safety for His servants on the way to and from Charlotte!

  4. Thank you for your uplifting report on the COE meeting. It’s wonderful to hear of the great camaraderie between the ministers and elders and that Dr. Meredith continues to display the kind of servant leadership that is expected of God’s servants. God is certainly in charge of this great work in the Living Church of God and He has answered the prayers of the brethren that He guide and inspire His servants to do His will!

  5. Thank you for sharing thoughts and updates Mr. Smith. It gladdens my heart to know that the ministry’s heart is in The Work and that there is cooperation, camarederie and love among our leaders. We will continue praying for the success of the conference, God’s guidance for those who lead us as well as the safety and health for everyone. 🙂

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