Elder’s Covenant of Conduct

Posted by on August 12, 2015 under Articles, Bulletin Articles, Front Page Posts, Resources

West-Ark Church of Christ

Elders’ Covenant of Conduct

  1. Shepherding and Spiritual Leadership
  1. The primary responsibility of the West-Ark elders is the spiritual shepherding of the flock.
  • We are dedicated to the ministry of the word and prayer. (Acts 6; Hebrews 13:7; Titus 1:7)
  • We are committed to being shepherds, mentors, and equippers (1 Pet. 5:1-7; Titus 2:11-15; Eph. 4:11-13)
  • Our priority is to the spiritual health of the church family. This includes, but is not limited to: 1) consoling those in suffering, 2) teaching the faith, 3) promoting unity and facilitating reconciliation, 4) equipping the saints for ministry.
  1. To help all members grow as disciples we encourage the congregation as a whole to:
  • Daily focus on Jesus and the cross.
  • Nurture spiritual growth in order to transform all into God’s holiness.
  • Increase in love and godly behavior.
  • Recognize our spiritual gifts and use them to glorify God.
  • Proclaim a biblical worldview that is obedient to Christ.
  1. In order to concentrate on shepherding, the elders will use task groups and staff (deacons, ministers, specially qualified members) to do all that is possible involving administration, church management, and leadership of specific ministries.
  • With all assigned tasks goes the authority needed to accomplish the responsibility.
  • We will work to establish trust in the assigned groups to make good decisions.
  1. Working Together as an Eldership
  1. We consider that every elder, regardless of how long he may have served, is of equal status as a shepherd of this church. There are no junior or senior elders.
  • From the first day one serves as an elder, he has full co-responsibility with the other elders for the oversight of this church.
  • We believe each elder is under the spiritual care and oversight of the other elders.
  1. When making a decision as a group we follow these principles:
  • Everyone’s viewpoint will be heard.
  • At least one more than half of the elders currently serving are required to be present in order to have a quorum for making decisions for the group.
  • A majority vote of those present is con­sidered to have approved or disapproved a motion.
  • Anyone not present at a meeting is considered to have voted with the majority on any motion.
  • A chairman is selected by rotation from among the administrative group of elders and serves a three month term.
  1. All elders agree to support the decision of the group as if the vote had been unanimous.
  • We will not talk to anyone outside the meeting about how individuals voted on any issue.
  • We will not communicate with others in any manner so as to represent our personal point of view as being that of the West-Ark elders. Exceptions are:
    • When directed by the elders to communicate a message on their behalf.
    • When repeating a decision of the elders which has previously been made public.
  1. Should a matter be decided by the group that an individual elder, for conscience’s sake, cannot support, he has three alternatives:
    1. He can ask for the matter to be reconsidered, providing him with more time to make his point clearer.
    2. He can request assistance from the elders via prayer, study, coaching, or even counseling in order to manage his own anxiety appropriately.
    3. He can resign from his role as an elder if the above does not remedy the situation and the majority decision is sustained.
  1. At all times confidentiality must be respected.
    • This means there will be many things con­sidered by the elders (and often ministers included) which are not to be discussed with others, including: our wives, family members, or closest friends.

III. Communication, Conflict, and Reconciliation

  1. We pledge to listen to any member who wishes to express his or her opinions about the life and ministry of the congregation.
  • We encourage open dialogue among members, and in matters of conflict or disagreement we hold to the principles taught by Jesus in Matthew 18:15-20
  • We will always encourage members to share their opinions directly with other elders, ministers, deacons, ministry leaders and other members. This is especially the case when the opinion/concern involves another elder, minister, deacon, ministry leader, or member.
  1. When members of the congregation express an opinion to an elder, the elder shall ask, “What would you like me to do with this information?”
  • If the member desires to have a meeting with the elders, the time and date will arranged through the chairman of the elders for the month.
  • If the member does not wish to appear in person, the elder shall ask the member for permission to use their name in reporting. If permission is not given, the elder shall say, “I’m sorry but I will not be able to repeat this to the eldership since we do not deal with anonymous letters or comments.”
  • If permission is given, the elder shall report the information / opinion to the eldership and use the member’s name.
  1. Opinions may be shared in writing with the elders and shall be handled in the manner mentioned above only if the letter or statement is signed.
  • Anonymous letters will not be read or discussed.

 

Talk It Up! Discussions For The Day

Posted by on April 1, 2014 under Articles, Bulletin Articles, Events, Front Page Announcements, News

Map for Talk It Up

 

After worship we will dismiss to discussion groups.  We will have lunch together and discuss the topics below.  Here’s how it works:  

1.  You will choose which topics interest you. 

2.  There will be three 30-minute discussion sessions at approximately 12:00, 12:30, and 1:00 PM.

3.  Each topic below will be the focus for a group in two locations [listed below].  Each of the six topics will take place at the same time in the two locations. Each will be open for all three sessions.

4.  Thus, you should plan on participating in three conversations that interest you the most and going to one of the two rooms listed for that topic during the three 30-minute sessions.

Creating a Seat at the Table [Room 106 & Room 215]

West-Ark has an established core of members who have been a part of the church family for 16 years or more.  West-Ark is also blessed with active members who have been here for less than 16 years. What are the strengths and challenges that come with such a remarkable statistic?  How can we open opportunities for new members to participate in mission and ministry?  How can we be intentional about creating a “seat at the table” for everyone?

Friendship and Membership [Room 212 & Library]

We strive to be a church that is more than just members who attend a weekly meeting.  We believe that Christ has called us to be His friends and friends with one another.  How can we increase friendships within the West-Ark Church family?  How can we create bridges to our friends who are not part of the West-Ark church?  How can we cultivate the spirit of friendship?

A Cord of Three Strands: Finding Spiritual Support [Annex & Room 210]

A majority of members expressed an interest in forming support groups and fellowship groups.  We want to be creative about forming opportunities to build up one another.  How can we promote resources that will help individuals and families manage stress and grow spiritually?  What has helped you and what have you experienced?

Communities within the Church: Mentoring and Groups [Room 225 & Annex Conference Room]

Over the years, West-Ark has developed multiple approaches to small group fellowship.  At this moment in time, what are the best opportunities and approaches for study groups, fellowship groups, and encouragement groups?  In addition to groups, mentoring is a time-honored and biblical means for spiritual growth and making disciples.  How can we help people find mentors and how can we motivate more members to be mentors?

One Spirit, Many Gifts [Room 203 & Room 222]

West-Ark is blessed with a healthy participation rate that is above the expected norm.  Our vision is greater than simply having enough volunteers to handle the work.  We want all members to use the spiritual gifts that God has invested in them.  How can we assist our membership in discovering their spiritual gifts?  How can we empower people to use their gifts?

Keeping the Conversations and Communication Open [Room 100 & Room 211]

Communication is a vital component of our congregation.  We strive to use a variety of methods and technologies to communicate.  Whether it is an “old-school” method or a “cutting edge” technology, our primary goal is communication and conversation.  We welcome your help.  What talents do you have that will help us communicate more effectively?  What creative ideas do you have to share?  How would you be willing to assist in promoting opportunities for communication? Would you have an interest in helping people learn about new technologies and methods?

A Story from the Hope Chest

Posted by on April 12, 2012 under Articles, Bulletin Articles, Bulletins, Front Page Posts

A Story From the Hope Chest
By Sharon Faries

Have you ever had a stranger share their joy with you?  Or two strangers?  When the Hope Chest reopened last Tuesday, April 3 after being closed for two weeks, that is what happened.  Quite often we get excited when a man will find a suit, shirt, and tie and tell us that he has just found his new Sunday clothes; or a lady finds a new Sunday church dress, but this day was different.

Two ladies were standing in line waiting to be checked out.  They could hardly wait to get to the head of the line to tell us their story of joy.  They told us that they were now best friends because of God and the Hope Chest.  We wondered, “How does the Hope Chest get credit for that?”  They shared that they were strangers to one another last fall when they happened to visit the Hope Chest at the same hour one day.  They met there and they left realizing that they had found a new best friend.  The ladies spoke of sharing fun and hardships with one another over the following days.  They mentioned that they often prayed for one another and would frequently pray over the phone for one another.  We were overjoyed as these new best friends stood there smiling and hugging each other and saying thank you to us for providing more than new clothing and shoes.  They were given a friendship full of God’s joy.

 

I shared with them a saying that we say to one another almost every Sunday morning: “God is good … all the time; and all the time … God is good.”  These ladies loved that and they walked out repeating the words.

I wonder what these ladies are doing today?  My guess is that they are sharing their blessings from God and praying with one another for us.

Lions for Christ Spring Break 2012

Posted by on March 15, 2012 under Bulletin Articles

Honduras Mission 2012

Posted by on under Bulletin Articles, Front Page Announcements

We are called to Mission… not simply a mission trip, but a lifestyle that shows others that we really are on a mission from God… a mission that IS our purpose … one that glorifies Him and denies ourselves.

Honduras provides an opportunity to live out this Mission by becoming a part of a culture that is very different from ours… a language that we do not speak… food we do not normally eat… people we may have not associated with in the past.  Our team of 64 students and adults will help build security walls with cement blocks and mortar at local schools, paint walls, some of which will be Biblical scenes inside the schools, conduct a daily VBS at a variety of schools, serve in an orphanage and many other activities.  The work will be very hard, but very rewarding.  Pray for the mission and the team members listed below.

  • Steve & Lindsay Allen
  • Amber Bellcock
  • Josh & Kim Bice
  • Chris & Carrie Burress
  • Bill & Graham Coffelt
  • Dave & Breck Cogswell
  • Robin Dover
  • Brent, Hayden & Haleigh Evans
  • Blake & Hope Frost
  • Jay Glidewell
  • Chad Graham
  • Chandler Harper
  • Kevin, Hope & Hannah Hesslen
  • Haley Hickey
  • Scott & Breckin Horton
  • Scott & Rachel James
  • Kerry, Dena & Abbey Jenkins
  • Corey Jones
  • David Juelfs
  • Chris & Jamilyn Knight
  • Ted & Sharon Knight
  • Jack & Glenda Lewis
  • Caitlin McKuin
  • Julia Morgan
  • Cody Mumford
  • Greg, Rachel & Hannah Null
  • Rick & Jake Odell
  • Jenny & Jacqueline Oliver
  • Becca Risley
  • Brian, Tanner, Tyler & Sarah Robbins
  • Ana & Carolyn Seglem
  • Ethan Six
  • Kent & Rachel Snider
  • Allison Thompson
  • Sydney & Mallory Walker
  • Robin & Ben Webber

It’s All Greek!

Posted by on March 8, 2012 under Bulletin Articles, Front Page Announcements, Uncategorized

The myths of the ancient Greeks remain a vital part of our culture.  Recent films such as Wrath of the Titans, Percy Jackson, and books such as The Hunger Games are inspired by these legends of old.

No one can say that the Greek myths are gone and forgotten.  The names of mythological figures are widely used in our technology and entertainment.  Apollo took us to the moon and Pandora gives us radio over the Internet.  (But if one knows the story of Pandora, why would you ever open it on your PC?)

The gospel of Christ includes themes that are sometimes present in Greek Myth.  So much so that critics dismiss Christian faith as “just another religious myth.”  Yet, the on-going story of Christ is quite different in important respects.

In the four weeks of this series we will consider what elements from the myths old and new might be redeemed for Christian faith.  We will also pay attention to the unique, life-changing, universe-altering implications of the message about Christ.

The four parts of this series are:

March 18 – Don’t Open That Box (The Myth of Pandora and The Reality of Sin)

March 25 – Into the Labyrinth (Theseus and the Minotaur, The Hunger Games, and Heroic Sacrifice)

April 1 – Forget The Titans (Wrath, Rebellion, and Redemption)

April 8 – The God of the Sun and the Son of God (The Dying God Myth and Christ’s Resurrection)

What Messes We Produce For Ourselves!

Posted by on March 27, 2011 under Bulletin Articles

And although he was grieved, the king commanded it to be given because of his oaths, and because of his dinner guests. Matthew 14:9 (NASB)

Sometimes we get ourselves into terrible situations because we realize the consequences of promises too late. The ruler Herod gave a party. He made a rash promise to his stepdaughter because her dance was so pleasing. He never thought about what she might ask for! The result: The stepdaughter asked for something he did not wish to give.

Instantly, he was in a horrible position. He could honor his promise and do what he did not wish to do. Or, he could admit his promise was foolish, reject her request, and produce unknown responses from his guests. What a horrible choice! After all, he was Herod! Because he was who he was, he should not have to make such hard choices!

Should he do a foolish thing and look “good,” or should he humbly admit his mistake and look “bad?” Oh, our tragic decisions when we arrogantly try to look “good” to others!

Herod’s dilemma was not an insignificant situation! Earlier he wished to kill John because John condemned him for marrying his brother’s wife. He did not kill John because such would irritate his subjects (Matthew 14:5). Now he had to humbly admit his mistake, or irritate the people he ruled. Have you noticed–even today–how frequently people tend to do anything to hide their personal foolishness?

How was Herod to know his stepdaughter would ask her mother’s advice? Maybe he could kill John and postpone the inevitable by salvaging the immediate–he could “save face” now and take care of fallout later. Maybe time would produce some unseen good options. If so, he could be arrogant now, preserve his reputation with his guests, kill John, and deal with the possible fallout later. Sound familiar?

Herod’s fear was obvious. When he heard about Jesus’ miracles, he said, “It must be the resurrected John!” (Matthew 14:2) Does that sound like a guilty conscience to you?

Do you think ahead or act foolishly? Does arrogance force you to live in hurtful pride?

Do You Want To Be A Part of God’s Family?

Posted by on February 20, 2011 under Bulletin Articles

“For whoever does the will of My Father who is in heaven, he is My brother and sister and mother.” Matthew 12:50 (NASB)

We love to be exclusive! When we belong and others do not belong, it somehow appeals to our sense of self-respect and self-worth. It seems to declare, “I may not be as important as they are, but I am more important than you are.” Why is being more important than someone else considered by some as essential?

Biblical Christianity differs from most other religions and most human organizations in the way it includes rather than excludes. Its focus is on serving rather than bragging. It focuses on giving all in Christ the same sense of worth because all in Christ are members of God’s family. My approval means nothing. God’s acceptance means everything.

Once groups of Christians in Corinth felt quite superior to other Christians for numbers of reasons. One of the number of ways Paul addressed the problem was by asking these questions: “What do you have that you did not receive? But if you did receive it, why do you boast as if you had not received it?” (1 Corinthians 4:7)

Does the Holy God provide us gifts through Jesus Christ? Does that include forgiveness? redemption? sanctification? righteousness before God? hope? If God gave it to us through Jesus Christ, why do we act like we are special instead of rightfully acting like God is special?

To whom does God make these incredible gifts available? Paul said of all and of himself: “It is a trustworthy statement, deserving full acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, among whom I am foremost of all.” 1 Timothy 1:15 (NASB)

Nobody grants equal opportunity as does God. Everyone can be a part of God’s family!

Lifting the Burden

Posted by on February 6, 2011 under Bulletin Articles, Front Page Posts

And when the disciples heard this, they fell on their faces and were much afraid. And Jesus came to them and touched them and said, “Arise, and do not be afraid.” Matthew 17:6, 7 (NASB)

Physical life is filled with burdens. The gift of living in this country removes some of them. However, as beneficial as living in this country is, those benefits do not remove our biggest burden. In fact, those benefits at best can only temporarily distract us from the biggest burden we all carry from time to time.

What is this burden? It is the burden of terrorizing fear. Accidents terrorize us! The passing of time terrorizes us! Serious sickness terrorizes us! Unexpected, uncontrollable forces terrorize us! The shocks of bad surprises terrorize us! Those do not begin to approach the terrors of personal phobias. Despite our claims, we all fear something.

In the above reading, Jesus took three disciples to the summit of “the mountain of transfiguration.” These men came face to face with (1) pure holiness–which always terrorizes people because we all have evil in us, (2) God’s power–which scares powerless humanity silly, and (3) Jesus’ identity–he was more than a man, more than just a righteous friend. To say he is God’s Son is one thing; to see it is quite another.

Peter, James and John’s reaction: In overwhelming fear, they fell on their faces — too scared to look.

Note Jesus’ response to their fear. He did NOT say, “I thought you were godly men!” or “Where is your courage?” or “What are you afraid of?” or “I am so disappointed in you men!” or “Can you lead others if you are terrorized by God’s presence?”

Instead, Jesus touched them, told me it was okay to get up, and encouraged them not to be afraid. Jesus understood their reaction, cared about them, and encouraged them. Jesus was not ashamed of them for being afraid. Instead he helped them in their weakness. Jesus lifted the burden of their fear! Jesus’ mission to you: to be your burden-lifter.

Never be ashamed of Jesus. He is never ashamed of you. Let him lift YOUR fears.

How Do I Seek Purity?

Posted by on January 30, 2011 under Bulletin Articles, Front Page Posts

And after He called the multitude to Him, He said to them, “Hear, and understand. Not what enters into the mouth defiles the man, but what proceeds out of the mouth, this defiles the man.” Matthew 15:10, 11 (NASB)

The Jewish approach to purity in the first century (and before) focused on the acts of the body. Thus, one was pure if the person did the right acts in the right way at the right time. For example, one person could actually hate another person, and remain pure if the hater treated the person he hated properly. Or, one person could deceive another and still be pure if the deceitful person deceived in the proper way.

In this concept of purity, what was inside a person did not matter if the person acted appropriately. What he actually felt, his motives, his reasoning behind his behavior, etc., were unimportant if he acted appropriately. As examples, his feelings for another man’s wife were not important if he acted properly toward the woman. Or, he may be greed-filled over another’s possessions, but it did not matter if the greed did not control his actions. Only one’s actions affected his religious purity.

Jesus’ teachings focused on what was within the person. That affected the person’s purity. Thus, Jesus emphasized one was not made pure by what he ate, but by his internal motives and emotions. The true origin of an evil act is an evil heart. A cup washed only on the outside is still dirty. A tomb looked outwardly beautiful, but it was inwardly vile. Purity involved the person’s inward thoughts as well as outward acts.

Peter had heard for so long the “outward” emphasis that he did not understand Jesus’ point. As an explanation, Jesus said this: “Are you still lacking in understanding also? Do you not understand that everything that goes into the mouth passes into the stomach, and is eliminated? But the things that proceed out of the mouth come from the heart, and those defile the man. For out of the heart come evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, slanders. These are the things which defile the man; but to eat with unwashed hands does not defile the man.” Matthew 15:16-20 (NASB)

“To be pure, should I focus on the inside or the outside?” Both! May your actions always reflect your actual person! Righteousness results from righteous acts and motives!