This week Gene and I are in Charlotte, NC participating in our biannual Regional Assembly of Elders. Many of the extra-local church government functions that used to be handled by members of the Sovereign Grace Ministries Leadership Team are delegated in our new polity to committees of elders within various geographic regions.
Kingsway is part of the MId-Atlantic region, which means the elders from Sovereign Grace churches in Virginia, West Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Kentucky and Tennessee are collectively responsible for things like church planting, judicial proceedings, ordinations, and church adoptions within our region. Here’s a quick snapshot of our agenda:
- Pray for churches within our region
- Listen to reports from various committee chairmen
- Receive teaching on topics like planning Sunday meetings, preaching, and counseling
- Grow in our relationship as fellow elders
Typically that last goal means we spend a lot of time eating, talking, and laughing together between morning and evening sessions. In fact, I probably receive more spiritual encouragement and gain more pastoral wisdom through the multitude of informal conversations than I do through the formal meetings. I always return home from these assemblies more aware that I am not alone as a pastor and Kingsway is not alone as as local church. Quite the contrary. We are united with a group of churches who share the same doctrine, values, and mission.
This afternoon, I spent several hours meeting with our regional ordination committee (see photo), discussing how we can strengthen the process a man must go through to become a Sovereign Grace pastor in our region. Much of our work follows in the footsteps of the national Theology Committee which serves Sovereign Grace churches across the country under the authority of the national Council of Elders. But we are still responsible for giving and grading ordination exams and reviewing the ordination credentials of the elders in independent churches who are asking to be adopted as a Sovereign Grace Church. Working with the other four men on the committee reminds me how blessed we are as a local church to know that the future elders we ordain at Kingsway must first pass muster in the regional assembly. We are more protected as a congregation from doctrinal error and poor leadership because of the work of the regional ordination committee.
Please join us in praying for God’s blessing on our entire assembly this week: Three specific needs come to mind:
- Wisdom for our regional leader, Mickey Connolly, as he coordinators our agenda and chairs our meetings
- Wisdom for each of the committees to make choices that glorify God and serve every church in our region
- Unity and camaraderie among the regional elders, especially for pastors serving in smaller churches
- A clear set of regional priorities for our growth as pastors and churches
If you want more detail on how our Regional Assembly functions within the polity of Sovereign Grace Ministries, take a look at the latest edition of our Book of Church Order. Thank you for praying for us!