Before "how?" let's talk "why?"
Joel and I felt led to call this meeting of the covenant members because of the important responsibility which lies before our congregation on July 10.
For the first time in the history of our church, we will vote to affirm or deny the unanimous recommendation of us as elders, along with the succession team, to call Pastor "E" as our next vocational teaching elder.
In my experience, newly-planted churches still learning the ropes of developing a healthy, biblically-informed organizational culture profit by timely pastoral guidance for strategic seasons of transition in their ministries,
So here are some ideas for getting ready for Sunday so that we all get the most out of our time together.
One, have confidence that Scriptural precedence informs our decision to involve the membership in the decision-making process. The apostles directed the people to pick out for themselves seven qualified men to serve in Acts 6:1-7. Our confession of faith also confirms the wisdom of employing "the collective vote of the church itself" in such matters (see chapter 26, paragraph 9).
Two, pray often for the overall success/benefit of the meeting. Pray it serves the peace and purity of the church. Pray as many of our covenant members as possible will determine to attend. Pray for Joel and me to have wisdom how best to answer questions and address any concerns which come to light in the meeting. Pray for unity among us as we conclude and wait on God for the July 10 vote.
Three, embrace the ultimate purpose of the meeting to serve the purpose of the vote. This is all-important. After nearly an eighteenth month succession journey--including the withdrawal of two viable candidates--our team has finally arrived at consensus that Pastor "E" is the man of God for which we have long prayed. To the man, all five of us believe this is God's will for TRBC.
By their vote, covenant members are being asked to affirm this choice given their considerable prayer, diligent investigation, and thorough communication amongst themselves.
It is that last dynamic in particular which we want to help serve by this family meeting. And here is the rub why we consider the vote way more than your rubber stamp on our recommendation. If you are leaning for any reason toward a "no" vote of denial and yet never humbly, respectfully, truthfully, responsibly voice your concern to the body, you may well deny us the benefit of identifying some blindspot in our discernment of God's will in the matter.
That's why we call this a family meeting. This is what healthy families do when important decisions have to be made. The talk it out. They put it all on the table.
Four, if you are public-speaking averse--and some folks are--you feel too timid to speak up in a church meeting, we get that. Answer? Write your question/comment on a piece of paper and put it in the offering box this Sunday. Leave it anonymous if you like. Or email or call Joel or me between now and Sunday to share your thoughts. We will be happy to bring them before the body.
Please hear this pastor's plea! Your input matters. We want everyone to be heard. Even if you end up disappointed for whatever reason in the final outcome, we desire for all to be satisfied as much as possible with the process.
With all that said, after the fact come July 10 you feel you can't for whatever reason affirm calling Pastor "E" as our next teaching pastor, then by all means vote your conscience. We would never want anyone to violate something so precious as that.
The Lord's will be done.