“Marks of a Faithful Regional Church” is an important document that all regions have adopted and reaffirmed over the years. These marks are excellent signposts for regional church life. In the coming months we will be lifting these up for own information and edification.
Relationships are so very important and fundamental to human existence, the relationship between spouses, parents and children, teacher and student, co-workers, employer and employee, pastor and congregation just to name a few. The way those relationships develop and grow has a significant impact on our lives. The Regional church provides fellowship groups that foster the development of broader relationships beyond the local congregation. I don’t hesitate to say the trust earned through the relationships I established over the thirty years prior to my being called as Regional Minister has been an immense asset to enable me to fulfill my responsibilities effectively.
The outdoor ministry is one of the most impactful and beloved endeavors of the Regional church. Most of you have fond memories of your time participating in the activities of Camp and have maintained relationships established with persons from other congregations. Many young people confessed Christ at camp, that’s where many pastors received their call to the ministry , and there are those who met the person who became their spouse at camp. The campgrounds provide a venue for fellowship groups and committees to meet that is a refreshing alternative to gathering in a church building. There are few congregations, if any, that have the resources to conserve a campground and sustain a viable camping program. Through the Region, together congregations enable all the wonderful, inspirational camp ministry experiences that have created precious memories for hundreds of young people over many generations.
Congregations are impacted by the changes in attitudes toward institutions that have occurred in our society. Many of the programs of the past are no longer effective or relevant. The Region works in partnership with congregations to develop innovative new processes to revitalize and transform their ministries.
The Regional church has a vital role in supporting individuals and congregations in establishing new congregations. It enables the new church planter attend training provided by the General church and provides advice and counsel as the new church project develops. The Region assists congregations in planning, evaluating strategies, and identifying the minister for the project.
In the quest to achieve our goal of being an anti-racist, pro reconciling community of faith, the Regional church provides opportunities for racial justice training for clergy and lay leaders.
The Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) has a very strong commitment to global missions. We have a rich history of dedicated missionaries sharing the message of the Gospel across the globe. The Regional church provides enlightenment regarding the work of Global Ministries with partners around the world providing a “critical presence” that substantiates the message of God’s love for all people.
The Regional Assembly provides many opportunities for fellowship, developing new relationships, and renewing old acquaintances. It is where the business of the Regional church is conducted, congregations share news of significant events, and news and information from the various General Ministries is shared. It provides the occasion to honor ministers new the Region and those who are retiring. It also provides for a time of remembrance who have passed.
To read the other articles in the continuing "Marks of a Faithful Regional Church" series, click the linked titles below. All 12 articles will be posted by the end of 2020.