The new Executive Leadership Team held its first meeting September 12-13 in Huntington, Ind. Ron Ramsey chaired the meeting. Tom Brodbeck was chosen as assistant chairperson, and Brian Hughes (Walbridge, Ohio) was named secretary.
Leadership Teams. A major item of business was to approve chairpersons and members of the various leadership teams: Healthy Church, Global Ministries, Education, Pastoral Ministry, Administration, and Church Multiplication. Much of that work was done, though a variety of positions remain to be filled.
Strategic Initiatives. Bishop Ramsey presented five strategic initiatives for the US National Conference, and the ELT approved them. The steps to accomplish these initiatives remain to be fleshed out. However, those five strategic initiatives are:
- Implement and encourage an atmosphere where multiplication of leaders and churches will be considered as normal.
- Encourage spiritual formation and renewal within the church of the United Brethren in Christ.
- Actively equp churches and pastors for effective ministries.
- Develop a plan to identify and retain those who are being called into fulltime Christian service.
- Discover, evaluate, and articulate the perceived brand image of the Church of the United Brethren in Christ.
2007 US National Conference. Bishop Ramsey recommended, and the ELT approved, the following: “That the 2007 National Conference be a two-day event held sometime during the period of June 18 through July 7, depending on availability of facilities.” Potential locations are being researched in Lancaster County, Pa., Baltimore, Md., Virginia Beach, Va., and Huntington University, Huntington. Ind. The National Conference would be promoted as a convention/family vacation, with business kept to a minimum and inspiration to a maximum. The event would include high quality music, speakers, teaching, and worship, and special events for children, youth, and pastors’ wives.
National Conference Covenant. The National Conference Covenant, approved by the 2005 US National Conference, represents a fundamental change in how we operate. Every local church will need to sign a covenant, which affirms their commitment to eight points. If a church refuses to sign the covenant, then they are saying, “We no longer want to be a United Brethren church.” The ELT agreed that the initial signing of the church covenant would be completed by all churches before January 1, 2006. Bishop Ramsey will be sending out copies of the covenant to each church. You can see a sample copy of the covenant here.
Clusters. Another fundamental change approved by the 2005 US National Conference was to reorganize the US churches into clusters, and to phase out the annual conference structure. This is still in its earliest stages. However, Pat Jones, the Director of Healthy Church Ministries, hopes to have the clusters formed by January 2006. A mailing concerning clusters went out in mid-September. All of those materials are also available on the website, along with other information about clusters.