Counsel from Council

January 24, 2019 by Gregg DeMey

Once a year, the Elders and Deacons at Elmhurst CRC gather together for a Council meeting. We met this past Monday and considered three main issues:

(1) The annual budget. This was 100% good news based on the fact that we underspent and over-collected as a congregation in 2018. I don’t often go looking for the blessing of God to manifest itself in dollars and cents; however, I can’t help connecting the way our congregation finished the 2018 fiscal year with the image of the Holy Spirit laying a strong, encouraging hand on the shoulder of our church. I’m so grateful that Jack Lanenga can retire with greater peace and delight. And I’m heartened that our new Executive Director, Phil Sikkenga, and Jeff Klein (see below) can begin their new positions and ministries from a platform of strong confidence and congregational momentum. God is good!

(2): We need a second pastor. The Council received a report from our Pastor Search Team recommending that Elmhurst CRC call the Rev. Jeff Klein to be our full time “Pastor of Outreach.” Jeff’s impact as a ¾ time employee for the last 8 months has been huge. I am so grateful for his spiritual energy, enthusiasm, as well his good gifts of outreach and communication. I’m confident that he is the right Pastor for us at just the right time. Calling a pastor is one of two decisions that a Christian Reformed Church is bound by church order to have a congregational vote to approve (the other being property acquisitions or dispositions). At our annual Congregational Meeting on February 5, we will receive the Council’s recommendation to formally call Jeff and — Lord willing — take the final step to approve this. God is good!

3): Elections. The Council elected Ken Schaafsma to be our newest representative on the SLT (Senior Leadership Team.) Ken will be assuming the mantle of Dave DeGroot who has served as Treasurer so faithfully and well over the last four years.
In addition, our Elders and Deacons have prepared a slate of nominees for the congregation to consider and vote on at the February 5 meeting. You can view that slate here.

I also want to mention a few things in connection to the Elder’s recent decision to open the offices of Elder and Minister-of-the-Word to both women and men. The first thing is that this change of policy won’t be in effect until March 1 and therefore won’t impact this year’s slate of nominees nor election. Second, for those who are curious about the biblical and theological foundation of the Elder’s decision, I commend this piece of “light” reading on the essential Biblical passages re: the topic of Women and Ordination. The article was written by biblical scholar Kenneth Bailey (died in 2016) whom I consider to be the #1 Christian, Reformed (he was Presbyterian) scholar of the last 100 years. There are parts of this document that are a bit technical, no doubt!

Lastly, I do want to quote our wise Elders who wrote this in a recent letter: It is our responsibility to earnestly seek to live together in unity and to minster together for the glory of God. We pray that this change will be an opportunity for all of us to practice love, grow in faith together, and model for the world how life in Jesus’ Kingdom works and looks. Amen to that. God is good!

~ Pastor Gregg

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