The concept of an elders consortium came from observing how well churches and church leaders came together in preparation for the 59th General Conference Session of Seventh-Day Adventists in Atlanta, GA, in June 2010. Their collaborative efforts resulted in over 100,000 copies of Message Magazine being distributed, dozens of baptisms, and a mega health fair at the Georgia World Congress Center.
Seeing these and other cooperative efforts lead a group of elders to wonder what would happen if the people of God came together more often and how many more souls would be won to His kingdom?
"Our work is plainly laid down in the word of God. Christian is to be united to Christian, church to church, the human instrumentality co-operating with the divine, every agency to be subordinate to the Holy Spirit, and all to be combined in giving to the world the good tidings of the grace of God." (Ellen G. White speaking about unity after a General Conference Session in Minneapolis in 1893).
"Harmony and union existing among men of varied dispositions is the strongest witness that can be borne that God has sent His Son into the world to save sinners. It is our privilege to bear this witness." (EGW Testimonies to the Church, Vol 8 pg. 243).
Soon, a leadership team was assembled, consisting of: Elder Mickey P. Evans, of the Duluth Seventh-Day Adventist Church, Dr. Neil Reid, the Georgia-Cumberland Conference (GCC) Ministerial Director, Central Region, and Elders Paul Beswick, of the Stone Mountain Adventist Church, and Virgilio Morales, of the North Gwinnett Hispanic Adventist Church. Elder Steve Keiser of the Buford Family Adventist Church joined soon after. They began to lay the groundwork for what would be known as the Georgia-Cumberland Adventists Elders Consortium (GCAEC).
The idea behind forming a "consortium" comes in part from the business community. It's been shown that corporations that favor alliances tend to grow faster, increase productivity more quickly, and report higher earnings than those who don't. We couldn't help but wonder how much more successful Seventh-Day Adventist churches would be if they followed these principles. Truth be told, the blueprint for this model was designed by God and followed by the believers in the first century church (Acts 4:32).
After getting buy in from key leaders within the GCC, a pilot survey was given to a diverse group of elders to identify if there is a need for a ministry like this one and to gauge their current level of involvement. We found that, across the board, all the elders want to be better elders. They also recognize their need for growth. Additionally, they all have a desire to learn! (See graphic).
Interestingly, as we've talked with a number of elders, some within and others outside of GCC, a common concern is heard over and over again. They've said, "I don't know what to do", or "I've never been taught..." One elder sadly admitted that they resigned after only a couple of years of service for this very reason.
So, GCAEC is here to help meet these and other needs identified in our survey. The way we will do this is by augmenting what is already in place for elders, bringing awareness to those resources, and creating a forum whereby elders can encourage, collaborate, and support each other!
Another important aspect of GCAEC is promoting empowerment. We know that when elders are empowered they become engaged. When they are engaged, they will enthuse and inspire church members. When church members are enthused and inspired, we will see active, vibrant, and missions oriented congregations with total member involvement!
What we hope will follow is elder teams collaborating with other elder teams and then churches collaborating with other churches. Then, as we work together, anointed with the power of the Holy Spirit, we will do a better job of giving to the world the good tidings of the grace of God.
Take another look at our logo and web address. The logo depicts a net being cast out. Our web address is sdaec.net. What this represents is that I can do well fishing with a fishing pole, catching one fish at a time. However, I could do much better with a net, catching many more fish, with the help of others! Join us Fishermen and let's catch more fish for Christ!
GCAEC is about equipping and bringing brothers and sisters together; working arm in arm, in concert, and with one purpose. When we labor together, the ultimate desire of Jesus will then be realized in our churches, “…that they also may be one in us: that the world may believe that thou hast sent me.” (John 17:21).
Pastors and Elders Team Ministry