where love is alive 

Back in July, I wrote in this newsletter that the governing documents of our congregation affirm the Baptist principle of The Autonomy Of The Local Church. This odd sounding statement simply means that our church is self-governing. Thus our organization and orientation is such that decisions regarding our congregation are made by our church membership during a business session. These decisions include the hiring of staff, the purchase of property, the adoption of a budget, AND the election of leaders. Today I want to share an observation about the way our church leadership is determined.

In almost every situation, church leaders are elected to their roles by a nominating process. Typically a team recruits candidates whose names are proposed to the church body for vote.  I became pastor of North Cleveland Baptist Church when the congregation approved my recommendation by a special Pastor Search Committee.  In a similar manner, Sunday School Teachers, Committee Members, Ushers, Staff Members, and Church Officers all hold their positions because they were nominated by the Committee on Committees, the Nominating Committee, or some special committee.

But there is one major exception to this process.  This exception regards the election of deacons.  By policy, our deacons are elected by a simple and direct vote of the church body.  Anyone who meets the requirements stated in our church constitution and who is willing to serve is eligible for this office. Thus, back in August, the North Cleveland Baptist Church held an election wherein our family was asked for their collective opinion regarding the identities of five people they desire to serve in our congregation as our deacons.

When the tally was completed, the five elected deacons included two who had never served as a deacon before: Chris Turner and Jeff Carson. Therefore, again according to policy, this Sunday evening we will observe a special worship time where we formally ordain these gentlemen into our deacon ministry.

I share this with you because I really want you to be in attendance for this worship service. The ordination of deacons celebrates the fulfillment of the will of the body of our church. You have invited these men to serve in this role. It is only fitting that you join us in the sanctuary at 6:00 Sunday night to welcome them into our deacon ministry.

As part of Sunday’s process, an Ordination Council will assemble in our church Annex at 4:30 Sunday afternoon for an informal question and answer time with Chris and Jeff.  Anyone ordained as a minister or a deacon is welcome to attend this gathering.

See you Sunday.  It is great to be your pastor.  Jay

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