Updates from the Elders

by Abraham Cremeens

During a friend’s recent move, I was tasked with the responsibility of packing and stacking everything I could in the U-Haul. You know how it works. You rent a certain size truck without knowing if you can fit all of your very important belongings into the vehicle.

I want to share a lot of very important information with you in this blog. There is much to share, and I only have 700 words to fit that content into. Please bear with me as I attempt to communicate many important matters as we continue in this season of transition.

One important update relates to Will Peycke and his process toward eldership. You can read that statement here. Be sure to check it out. We as elders are excited at the potential of adding him to the team this summer.

Also, the Elder Team met this past Friday for our first all-day Elder Summit. It was a great time together for prayer, vision casting, and discussion.

Two important perspectives came out of that time. First, we not only affirmed the “Gather – Grow – Scatter” ministry model but in fact determined to dig even deeper into it. It will become the scorecard by which we measure our efforts as a church, staff, and elders. Our commitment to this model means we need to keep it more aggressively front and center as well as hold ourselves accountable to it. Further, we believe it is important to explore the specific pursuit of disciple-making as our corporate identity. To that end, this phrase came out of our time together: A community of disciple(makers) toward the Great Commission. It connects like this…

Gather—A community

Grow—of disciple(makers)

Scatter—toward the Great Commission.

As a church, we are a family, a community of believers united in Jesus Christ (“Gather”). Within that community, we want to be disciples who make disciple-makers (“Grow”). This pursuit is both organic and intentional. It is informal as well as planned. As disciples and disciplemakers, we aggressively pursue the Great Commission by crossing the street, crossing the river, and crossing the ocean (“Scatter”). In regards to our future as a church, this gets me excited.

These elements are anchored in passages of Scripture like 1 Thessalonians 2:8; Ephesians 4:11-17; and Matthew 28:18-20. We believe that these values are very much on God’s heart and should also be on our hearts as a church.

Second, we determined to move into a greater degree of alignment and collaboration as a church. God has significantly gifted us as a church. Some of us carry a leadership capacity and others minister effectively behind the scenes in powerful ways. We believe it is time to unite our efforts as a church to an even greater degree of cooperation and alignment. For example, this is affecting how staff are working more closely together regardless of specific ministry areas. It will also lead to greater support and resources for Care Groups that align their discussions around the sermon series.

Third, and connected to point two above, we believe this is a season to explore the concept of a preaching team. Historically, Kossuth has designated one primary pastor of preaching. That model certainly has its merits. However, as we move into a more collaborative model of ministry, we believe it is time to thoughtfully consider a pulpit connected to multiple men. This would lead to a variety of unified voices and styles that impact our church family in a multiple ways. Please pray for us as we interact with other churches that have adopted this model and consider what it could look like at Kossuth. This would also link well to our focus as a disciple-making church. Such a preaching team would together make the preaching of God’s Word the centerpiece of discipleship.

While all of this appropriately looks forward to our church’s future, the elders have also taken time to look back. We are learning a lot in this season of our church’s life.

First, we as elders would like to own where we have fallen short. This has no doubt been a challenging time for us (and you) and, though we have done our best, we are fallible men. We readily own that. We realize we have made mistakes in our communication of Drew’s resignation. In an attempt to communicate clearly we have, at times, communicated in unclear ways. We have heard that some of our communication regarding the timing of Drew’s resignation came across as though we believed it was a complete surprise. We are saddened that we unintentionally misrepresented Drew in this. While some elements of his resignation did catch us off guard, at the same time we realize there were concerns communicated on his part. We wish we could have worked through those concerns. Our leadership structure, interpersonal working relationships, and his sense of alignment on some matters all contributed to Drew’s decision to resign, as we previously communicated. We want to be clear in this.

We also recognize that we have not communicated with you as a church as well as we should have. We know this has been frustrating to you. Specifically, you have often gone too long waiting to hear from us. We want to change. We will change. We are committed to change. One outcome, which we already had an opportunity to practice Tuesday night at our elder meeting, is to take the last twenty minutes and ask, “What can we share with our church family from our meeting tonight?” You can find a brief summary in this week’s Weekly Web Update.

One final communication point on which I will end is our upcoming sermon series on the Songs of Ascent. We will preach through Psalms 120-134. The series will be titled “Worship on the Journey.” This series launches on May 22 and will take us through most of the summer. As a church on a journey through transition, it is fitting to study these psalms which are written for those on a journey.

Well, that puts me at 1,033 words. I guess I needed a bigger truck.