By Tom Avey
That’s the question I began asking 10 years ago when I became the Fellowship Coordinator and the first full-time employee of the Fellowship of Grace Brethren Churches, Inc. (FGBC). Is it the districts? The Fellowship Council? The national Grace Brethren ministries? Influential pastors?
It didn’t take long for me to conclude that the FGBC is led by whoever will, and I still think this is the best answer. If you are willing to earn the respect of your peers and dream out-loud about how to serve God better together, you can be a leader in the FGBC. It’s definitely not about position!
However, we do have a basic structure including a Fellowship Council made up of 12 men who are elected by a broad cross-section of the Fellowship. These men meet twice a year to consider new church applications, new national and cooperating ministry applications, issues that face the FGBC, plans for future annual conferences, ways to foster cooperation within the FGBC toward the purpose of the FGBC, and “to encourage and enable member churches in equipping and uniting the saints in fulfilling the Great Commission.” Members serve for four years, so one-fourth of the Council is new each year.
Over the past 10 years, I have had the privilege of working with more than 50 pastors on the Fellowship Council. It is one of my greatest joys as Fellowship Coordinator. These are great men. They work together extremely well, even as member rotation on the council is swift. It has been amazing to watch God direct this group. Even with the rotation, they have maintained an incredible level of unity from year to year. We are indeed a family! Serving on the Fellowship Council is a great opportunity to lock arms with other respected pastors for the sake of the fellowship and its mission.
The council met this past January in Southern California. They prayed together and considered three new church applications, two new applications of ministries for formal recognition, the location of Equip09 and other annual conference plans. They also continued discussion about proposals to be considered by delegates at conference this summer to increase the size and term of the Fellowship Council (slightly!) and change the term of the moderator and how that name is placed in nomination. If you are a registered user of the FGBC web site, you can read all these proposals in the “about” section of that site (www.fgbc.org).
Many have asked about the Go2 application for recognition. Here is the official action of the Fellowship Council: “We enthusiastically affirm the vision and appreciate your leadership in the development of the Go2 ministry and look forward to the presentation of your ministry plan in April, 2008. The Fellowship Council will consider your application for formal recognition after receipt of that plan. We commit to praying with you through this process anticipating that God will bless the FGBC with both healing and growth through the Go2 ministry.” Please join the Council and pray for Go2 as they formulate their ministry plan. If you have more questions about the Fellowship Council’s recommendation, please contact your Fellowship Council liaison. A list of the Fellowship Council members and their liaison assignments is available on www.fgbc.org. Click on the “about” link. They would love to talk with you!
Pray for these men. They are just like you! And if asked, say “yes” to serving on the council. It is a great experience. Just ask anyone who has served.
I remember a day when my kids were young. Usually they fought. However, this day they were working together quietly in their room. I peeked in the door to see what they were doing. One looked up at me, smiled big and said “we are cooperating, Dad!” They made my day! Somehow, I think God is pleased when We cooperate. We are family!